Ayse Birsel Visits PhilaU ID

Ayse Birsel recently visited the Philadelphia University Industrial Design department and spoke with students about her recent book “Design The Life You Love”. In a fascinating evening at the DEC Center, Ayse shared how to use the design process to create an interesting, dynamic life that makes a difference.

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Ayse Birsel Lecture 6pm Tomorrow Night!

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Luc Merx Comes to PhilaU ID

Merx's Damned.MGX chandelier. Image courtesy Designcollector.

The PhilaU Industrial Design department recently hosted Dutch designer Luc Merx on campus. His week-long visit entailed studio collaboration and critique with a number of classes encompassing Industrial Design, Textile Design, and Architecure students. Merx also delivered a major lecture in the DEC Forum in which he detailed his personal research and design process that has yielded such projects as the Damned.MGX chandelier.

Professor Luc Merx. Image courtesy Pecha Kucha Maastricht.


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Final Sprint 2016 Presentations

The DEC Forum, filled to capacity as the teams get ready to make their presentations.

The Final Critique for the 2016 Industrial Design Sprint Project was held in the DEC Forum last Monday. In total, 27 teams presented their final projects to groups of circulating ID faculty and client judges. Thanks to everyone who made our Sprint 2016 Project happen!

Each team was given several minutes to present their physical models and their project boards.

In a first this year, judging was open to the student teams via a video link.


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The Dress Rehearsal Nears

With solid development directions secured, students are working steadily toward their Dress Rehearsal Presentations on Friday afternoon.

For this crucial session, not only do the teams need to have their two-dimensional presentations and three-dimensional models, but they must also have compiled a punch list that details what changes and enhancements they’ll be making before the Final Presentation to the client this coming Tuesday.

Faculty may change the list, add to it, or remove things from it, and then they will sign it. This is the last checkpoint for the project as it the teams then move into the final phase of refinement in preparation for Tuesday.

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The Halfway Point: Valuable Discussion at Sprint Mid-Crit

Yesterday was the Mid-Project Crit for this year’s ID Department Sprint project. Each of the 25 design teams created boards detailing their research and design process to date, then displayed them in Hayward Hall. The open “trade show” style helped the teams quickly get broad-based input from both students and faculty alike.

After the trade show, each team met individually with a small group of ID faculty for additional discussion. Later in the afternoon, all teams finished the day by meeting with the client (SDI Technologies) for a Q&A session via Skype. A wide range of design directions were introduced and discussed, with each team obtaining valuable feedback that will guide their project development as they work toward the final presentation this coming Tuesday.

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2016 ID Sprint Project Begins

The annual Sprint Project is underway in the Hayward Hall ID Studios. The client for this year’s project is SDI Technologies, makers of a broad range of consumer electronics including the iHome line. Junior-year ID undergrads are managing 25 teams that each contain a member from every year of the program including graduate students. This arrangement enables vigorous cross-pollination within the teams. The Mid-Project Crit is scheduled for early this week, when the SDI team will return to campus and assess each teams’ progress thus far. We’re looking forward to this set of always-productive critiques.

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MsID Grad Entrepreneurs Present Product at Autodesk University

PhilaU MsID grad entrepreneurs Matthew Flail and Timothy Ganter recently presented Footprint, their customized footwear product at The Autodesk University Innovation Forum.

The pair delivered their presentation to over 500 assembled design professionals in Las Vegas. Flail and Ganter originated the design for the Footprint system together as a collaborative capstone project while in the Graduate Industrial Design program at Philadelphia University. You can watch their entire presentation here.

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Nike’s Innovation Kitchen Comes to PhilaU

Last Wednesday, students spent the afternoon with Jay Meschter in The Nexus Learning Hub. Jay is the Director of the Innovation Kitchen at Nike. He showed students how his group specializes in the discovery and development of advanced technologies that are then adapted throughout Nike’s larger product line. Jay detailed the design process behind both Flyknit and Nike Free technologies, then gave the students a rare opportunity examine early development prototypes of both.

Jay Meschter with ID Professor Lyn Godley and Textile Design Program Director Marcia Weiss.


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PhilaU ID Alum’s Rubber Band Launcher is Aiming to be the Next Big Thing

Ben Stack poses with his rubber band launcher.

By Mike Bederka –– Reprinted from Technical.ly

Fresh off a successful U.S. debut at the Fall Toy Preview in Dallas, the minds behind a futuristic-looking rubber band launcher aim for it to be the next big “it” item.

“Shooting rubber bands is essentially in the male DNA. I don’t think there’s a guy who can sit at a table with a rubber band and not pick it up, work it onto his fingers and eventually fire it,” said Alan Dorfman, president of Bristol, Pa.-based Super Impulse USA, developers of the product. “We’re trying to do to rubber band launchers what Super Soakers did for water guns.”

Inventor Ben Stack said his love for rubber band launchers stretches back to his childhood, when he routinely made them as a hobby. While attending Philadelphia University, the 2014 grad had the opportunity to combine his lifetime of building experience with ample resources.

He further developed his launcher as part of his senior industrial design project. The school’s laser cutter allowed him to build a new iteration of his prototype every day, Stack said. He had the working mechanisms down, but this rapid process helped to solve some ergonomic issues.

Zoe McKinley, director of PhilaU’s Blackstone LaunchPad, sat in on one of his senior presentations. Impressed with what she saw, she introduced Stack to Dorfman, a 1982 graduate of the university. During Stack’s pitch, he brought in a Nerf dart gun — along with his own product — for Dorfman to try out as a test for accuracy and ease of use. According to Dorfman, Nerf and other foam dart guns make up the chief competition for rubber band launchers in general. “The foam darts were flying left and right,” he recalled. “I hit the target three times in a row with Ben’s rubber band launcher. Right then, I knew it was a great opportunity.”

Stack squashed his planned Kickstarter campaign and signed an inventor’s contract with Dorfman. In addition, he offered Stack a contract to develop the Precision Rubber Band System line (“Precision RBS” for short) and other projects. Over the past six months, they’ve worked with a manufacturer overseas to further develop and fine tune the product, which comes in small, medium and large sizes and is aimed for those eight years and up. It will be available in U.S. retail outlets in March.

With a project of this scope, along with the engineering precision required, a ramp-up like this usually takes twice as long, Dorfman says. “However, Ben knew exactly what he wanted, we all had specific end product goals in mind and we’re working with a premier manufacturer.” The two just returned from the Fall Toy Preview, an important industry trade show where they demoed the product for retail buyers, industry executives, sales reps and trade media. As a result of this event, they expect wide distribution of the Precision Rubber Band System from corner toy stores up to big-box stores.

“This is a hit-or-miss industry,” Dorfman said. “With the hits, the sky is the limit. And we’re aiming for the sky for this one.”

Blackstone LaunchPad Philadelphia supports student entrepreneurship in the Greater Philadelphia region through a partnership between Philadelphia University, Temple University and the University City Science Center.


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