Prototypes + cries = oh my! (Trinh)

Hey there! Hopefully the title caught your eye, the reason for the conjunction of “prototypes” and “cries” is because the Guppies Group Inc. have not received any of their ordered materials yet! *Cue the tears and the self condemnation for lack of patience.* To be fair, some of the more important materials like the neoprene and vinyl were ordered from special companies whom take a little longer to deliver packages. Therefore, the Guppies will most likely have to wait after holiday break to put together their prototype. *Cue more violent tears and heavy sigh.* However, the Guppies’ spirits are not crushed yet! I say “yet”, because dead week is really living up to its name right now. The guppies have a wonderful group leader who put together a physical ‘rough draft’ of what their prototype would look like.

Since we won’t be able to put able to put together and finish a prototype by January, the Guppies used a large Ziploc bag, covered it with swimwear fabric, sewed it onto the bag, marked the seams and places where we would sew and cut the fabric on our actual prototype, and blew it up with air. This might not sound very high tech but it provided us with such a great visual of what could work and what wouldn’t work in our design. In the featured image and in the pictures below, you can see how we wrapped the fabric around the bag. The fabric represents the neoprene and the Ziploc bag acts as the barrier between the fabric and the air inside the floatie. However, without any actual materials, building this mock prototype was slightly difficult. Throughout this process we were able to analyze what materials and methods would work and which ones wouldn’t.

It can be quite frustrating to have to wait so long for the materials to come in so to keep their fins busy (are you sick of my fish jokes yet?) the Guppies have been working on the presentation slideshow consisting of a holistic description and outlook to what they have been doing in class this semester. The presentation will be given next Wednesday as a finals grade but the Guppies have been working incredibly hard on this project so finishing the slideshow will be an easy swim. (Sorry! I had to put that in there!) During this presentation we will talk about our design process of: Imagine, Tool-Up, Make, Improve and Share. We will be presenting to a group of adults such as company professionals, teachers, and adults. We are beyond excited to share our innovation and receive any comments, questions, or constructive criticism on our product.

Lastly, as we prepare for our prototype process to begin in the “Make” stage of the star path design process, I looked up a couple of articles to help calm my nerves about creating an actual (rough draft) of the product that we are innovating. This link gives 10 tips on how to create a well functioning prototype. My favorite tip is the second one: focus on what it does and not how it looks. I think this is crucial advice because obviously there will be mistakes made in this design process and not everything will come together beautifully, so it’s important to keep in mind that proper function beats aesthetics. This second link gives more tips on the techniques and ethics behind making a prototype. My favorite tip is: At some point, we all have to walk to the end of the board, jump off and hope there’s water in the pool. Doesn’t that sound daring and adventurous? I think this quote describes the courage needed to go through with this product invention quite accurately.

Here is the fabric being sewn onto the Ziploc bag for the rough draft of the prototype.
Here is the fabric being sewn onto the Ziploc bag for the rough draft of the prototype.
Angelic is inserting air into the fake flotation device to mock the infrastructure of a real arm flotation device.
Angelic is inserting air into the fake flotation device to mock the infrastructure of a real arm flotation device.

Well folks, this will be my last blog post of 2014. It’s been real blog readers, catch you on the flip (fin) side! *Cues giggle and smirk*

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