Braino is a device, which allows a person to erase up to their last five memories. This project allowed students to have fun and be creative working with a design concept rooted in speculative sci-fi technology. It also provided us with an introduction to what it might be like to work with a client and their specific requirements.
For this particular assignment, students were asked to create a speculative design for a device that would allow users to remove up to their last five memories or ideas. The goal was to iterate upon the best concept and produce a finished model appearance, where the form would express the function of the object.
Constraints & Requirements
Rendering of the final design
This particular assignment taught me the importance of working with constraints. The physical requirements of this device were to be at least 3/8 of an inch thick and occupy up to a maximum of eight square inches.
The “technology” involved required physical contact between the device and the user’s head. Controls of the device were limited to a five-position intensity regulator and an actuator button. The placement of these controls was critical, as they should make the device easy to use but difficult to accidentally change the intensity control.
Additionally, there were restrictions around displays. The device allowed for a small digital screen only for the purposes of displaying battery life and user feedback. Due to cost considerations, the screen could not be capacitive.
Instructor: Haakon Faste
Duration: Two and a half weeks
Key Skills: Physical prototyping, storyboarding, sketching
Materials: Acrylic, high-density modeling foam, LEDs, paint, and wood
Tools: Adobe Illustrator, drill press, hole saw, milling machine, router, and sander
Project Role: Individual project
A final fabricated model
Printed renderings of final design
In addition to learning the importance of working with constraints, I learned the value of generating a large volume of ideas early on in the design process without worrying too much about the fidelity. Getting what's in my head out onto simple sketches made it helpful to refine and iterate. Managing the workload of this project along with all of my other classes was a lesson in prioritizing and allocating the proper amount of time to get the job done. Planning around when the model making studio would be open and when certain machines would be available was a constant battle.
At one point in this project, I struggled with figuring out the "right" form for this device. As seen in my initial sketches, many of them looked like variations on the iPod. Once I realized that, I started to get more abstract and took more creative license with my sketches.
It was very rewarding to see something start off as an idea in the form of a few lines on a piece of paper transform into a tangible object people could pick up and navigate their way through based on some of its affordances.