Can 3D-printing help kids learn how to write?

By Fred

Every day, we see great things coming from the 3DS Fablab, this time we decided to share with you this story, simple in terms of technology but innovative in terms of usage. Working with a Montessori school having innovative education methods it illustrates how 3DEXPERIENCE can contribute in places we would never think about! The tool has been originally designed by Maria Montessori, with the Italian language in mind, so without the difficult French phonemes like the “nasals”. This French specificity is actually one reason for explaining the delay of “explosion into writing” in the French Montessori schools compared to the world average. Following a recent study, the French Montessori Association now recommends the schools to enrich the alphabets with digraphs. As the kids start by writing the sounds (orthography comes later), it is important that they pick only one element for each sound.

3D printed letters

Thanks to these new digrams, there are no more obstacles standing between the children and the messages they are attempting to write. They can write everything and are no longer blocked by complex sounds (“phonemes“) in french such as “ou”, “oi”, “on”, “an”, etc…

Christophe created 3D models of solid digraphs (combinations of 2 letters) so they can improve their tools for writing learning. The digraphs in French are “an”, “ai”, “on”, “ch”, “gn”, etc. Handcrafting of all these digraphs would be very time consuming and inelegant, even if the result is not strictly identical to their existing letters (style, color, thickness). Watch how Christophe used 3D printing and 3DEXPERIENCE to come up with a creative solution:

YouTube Preview Image

The Montessori school is now using this a 3D-printed set of solid letters that the kids use to compose words and sentences. M. Mazzantini, Director of Ecole Montessori Internationale – Jardin du Luxembourg shared her feedback :

Thank you for this wonderful gift that allows the children to take further steps towards writing. It facilitates their autonomy and helps them to master their writting skills at a relatively early age (4, 4 and a half)”.

Hope you will enjoy the story, learning how to write with 3D-printing, a joint project with a Paris-based Montessori school (Ecole Montessori Internationale – Jardin du Luxembourg). You can download 3D letters & digrams.

Congrats Christophe for this great idea ! If you want to hear more about the 3DS FabLab, join the MadeIn3D Community.

Moment of Truth in Designing a Differentiated Product

By Estelle

This post originally appeared at Core 77

Watches

The MP3 player wasn’t a new thing when the iPod came out, nor was the iPhone the first smart phone,” observes John Maeda, Design Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and former president of the Rhode Island School of Design. “But they were the ones that made you give a damn.”

What Maeda describes in that 2011 Huffington Post article is the First Moment of Truth (FMOT)—that moment when a consumer walks into a store, faced with several comparable products and has to make a decision. They pick up MP3 player one, MP3 player two, hold them in their hands and, in that FMOT, decide which one they will purchase. In a world where many products are relatively similar in terms of technology, price, performance and features, design is that differentiator.

That differentiator is what companies like Karten Design try to create. “How do you get mindshare? How do you stand out? How do you create “sticky” stuff? We use design research,” says Stuart Karten, Principal and Founder of Karten Design, a product innovation firm made up of scientists, sociologists, anthropologists, and designers who go out and spend time with the people for whom they are designing products.

CATIA Natural Sketch

We are trying to understand their habits and ceremonies, so that we can create products that fit in with the way people live their lives, making them easier to adopt,” explains Karten. “Most importantly, we are trying to find unmet needs—common needs that are persistent in people’s lives, but aren’t being satisfied through the current products, or even the product categories that are available on the market. We use unmet needs to drive new ideas.”

For consumer electronics, that means not only identifying a target audience and creating a product for them, but also following through on the promise of what the product does. That second piece, known as the Second Moment of Truth (SMOT), is vital to creating a positive, lasting impression with a consumer. “That’s the gauge that you have to use to make a truly successful consumer product,” shares Karten. “It has to look good to earn that first moment of truth, and then you have to deliver on it with a product that holds meaning and value in a person’s life.”

Watch

To ensure a positive FMOT and SMOT, Karten and his team go back to where they start the ideation process—with people. “Take things and put them in front of users quickly. That design principle is embedded in our company,” says Karten. “We want to get feedback from people earlier and quicker in the design process to find out what stands out, which ideas resonate functionally and emotionally. Go to the people.” Earlier feedback means faster iterations, shortening the timeline it takes to put a product on the shelf.

That process involves creating a series of virtual and physical low fidelity mock-ups, iterating and repeating, increasing the fidelity with each round. Virtual prototypes can give focus groups a very realistic visualization of the final product, saving time and money before moving on to physical prototypes. “Thanks to new technologies such as 3D printing, the iterative design process can now happen very quickly and cost effectively, so it’s taking off a lot of time in the product design process—across the board,” says Arieh Halpern, Life Sciences Industry Business Consultant Director at Dassault Systemes. Dassault Systèmes works to create solutions like *Ideation & Concept Design*, which keeps track of requirements and manages concurrent focus groups, helping shorten the timeline from research to market. “You’re now able to work on the same concept design with your focus groups in real time, do your drawings in real time, and then convert those into 3D prints,” explains Halpern.

Watch

Shortening that timeline makes a huge difference in the field of consumer electronics, where a shorter timeline means putting that product in the hand of focus groups for that FMOT and SMOT that much sooner. In a field where design is the differentiator [PDF], that time can make all the difference in the success of a product. “With a consumer electronic product, you have to create something that somebody wants. You have to steal the show,” says Karten. “That’s the first moment of truth.” If a product doesn’t deliver on that first moment of truth, it might be the last.

Want to create your Connected Object  ? Register to the new edition of  MADEin3D™ contest, “Cup of IOT”, the theme is Internet of Things !

CupofIoTThis time again, we are lucky to have cool sponsors & partners with us to organize this worldwide competition: Withings, Nodesign.net, Prodways, ES Numérique, and CapDigital. The winner’s will thus be nicely rewarded !

Register to the community to enter the contest now!

 

The World Can be Changed Through the Power of Design

By Vincent

Concept design of Smartwatch

My colleague Michel and I recently imagined and developed a new product concept related to connected objects. With this in mind, we had a conversation with Jean Hong, Product Designer at Dassault Systèmes, to talk about his perspective on industrial design in the consumer electronics domain.
We decided to share that conversation with you to get your reaction and comments. Feel free to let us know.

Question (Q): If you had just three days to design a new electronic connected device, how would you proceed?

Jean Hong (JH):

Well, it depends on the objectives I get. Re-styling an existing product is obviously faster than defining a fully new concept. A few years ago I would have asked for about seven days to produce a new concept proposal. I usually needed this time to deliver a pretty exhaustive mix of hand sketching, 3D modeling, and realistic rendering.

Today, with the design solution I adopted, I can overcome this challenge, and deliver a finalized concept within three to four days. By the way, this is the kind of time pressure many of my customers ask me to deal with.

Electronic connected device sketching

Q: So you are telling me that you are now delivering the same output in three to four days that required seven days few years ago? Are you really delivering the same output?

JH:

Good point–there is a big difference in the output. Today I am able to deliver a concept with higher quality, ready for manufacturing, and containing more details than before in less time.

Sketching on paper is very time-consuming. You need multiple viewpoints, details, and colors to make yourself understood by other project team members and customers.

Now I can directly and quickly sketch my idea in the 3D environment. Keeping my design intent, I rely on this 3D sketch directly to model the product with the clay modeling approach of “Imagine and Shape” application.

Ideally, sketching and modeling should be done at the same time in the same environment. It is now possible with this software solution. I can mix these two ideation steps, evaluate, and validate the volume of my product concept. Technically speaking, I save a lot of time because no data import /export between different tools is needed.

3D sketch of a SmartWatch 3D rendering of a SmartWatch

Q: You talked about “design intent.” Why is it so important for you?

JH:

Many times products lose their initial design intent because so many people are behind the project and there are many steps before production. The concept shape, proportions, materials, details, and finishes express the high-level message I want to communicate. If this message is misunderstood or not technically specified correctly, the mechanical engineers will have a different interpretation or no idea at all, which will impact market success.

Q: How are you dealing with this issue?

JH:

Now that the entire project team relies on the same cloud collaboration platform, I can iterate in real time with the mechanical engineering team. All the specifications I add either to sketches or 3D models are directly usable. Because we work on the same data, the risk of misunderstanding is minimized. In addition, because the engineering data is visible to me, I can detect any issue and find a solution with the engineering department before it gets critical.

Q: Is the product design validation 100% digital?

JH:

We now have an incredibly powerful digital definition. We take advantage of it to share, communicate, and finalize the design concept. Did you see how realistic product rendering can now be with advanced effects such as physical light and reflections applied to the accurate materials definition? This can be done even by people who are not expert in this domain.

One might think that digital is enough, but this is not the case. At some point in time I need to touch, feel, and place the object in its real physical context. Weight sensation, hand-grab, and materials touch cannot be fully evaluated digitally yet. Taking the example of a smart watch, how can we validate ergonomics without being able to wear it? For this, anytime I feel the need, I just press the 3D print button, and create a product prototype.

Rendering smartwatch

Q: Do you think that we could see the digital world merge with the physical one in the coming years?

JH:

This is already happening. 3D print is starting to be affordable for people like you and I. Virtual reality devices already propose an immersive approach, and prototypes start to address more human senses such as touch and taste. The boundary between digital and physical is getting ever blurrier. I am fine with this, provided that I can still access user-friendly applications. I am sure that in the very near future, thanks to all the new applications, I will be able to leverage my design intent for usages we just can’t imagine today.

3D print product prototype

We really think that we can change the world through the power of design!
What about you?  Share your comments below.

Want to know more ? Visit our Ideation & Concept Design website, or Watch our video about new Concept Design and read the Whitepaper “The power of Design Thinking” written by  Phil Gray MDesRCA, Managing Director, Quadro Design Limited, part of Sagentia Group.

Vincent Merlino and Michel Monsellier are passionate members of the Dassault Systèmes High Tech Industry Solution Experience Team.



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