The module aims to provide an opportunity for students to gain a good understanding of common technologies and their applications in consumer products. They are required to investigate and critically evaluate a consumer product covering key factors such as design, functions, usability, reliability costs for enhancement / innovation, and end of life. They will acquire relevant experience, skills and appreciation of such an investigation. These skills include visual reasoning and mechanical aptitude, understanding of the function of several common machine components, knowledge of common assembly methods, methods for communication of product function, awareness of the non-unique mapping between function and solution, and appreciation of technological history.
A. Describe household products in terms of their function, technologies, and behavior; assess their suitability versus customer needs and identify shortcomings.
B. Distinguish among customer needs, design constraints, functional requirements, and design parameters.
C. Identify and represent ergonomic and aesthetic features of a product and its components graphically.
D. Apply various analytical and graphical models to relate design parameters of the component to its performance.
This module is delivered in a combination of lectures, seminars, and problem class/tutorials. Formally lecture sessions will cover fundamental aspects of consumer products (e.g. working principles and functions) and seminars will provide a forum for discussions on the topics. This module includes problem classes/tutorials on product dissections: a series of activities in which the students study the intent and function of consumer products, disassembling them to see how the product functions are realized, and possibly reassembling the product. Tutorial support will be provided by the module teaching staff to help the students set up their project for investigation of a consumer product for evaluation considering design, user functions, reliability and enhancement/innovation. They are assessed through a presentation of their project proposal, implementation and findings, and written reports. The module progresses through a series of common product dissections (performed in small groups) and culminates in a final project performed individually in which each student applies the tools and techniques learned in the module.