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Egg Drop Device

SEE UPDATED PHASE 2 INSTRUCTIONS ON THE SECOND HALF OF THIS PAGE

Good design is often about being able to effectively satisfy a set of constraints in order to achieve a desired outcome. The ability to creatively devise, construct, and test a solution that satisfies these constraints is seldom easy, but iterative physical prototyping is a valuable method that can help designers be able to do just that. 

The goal of this assignment is to create a device that is capable of protecting a raw, store-bought chicken egg from breaking when dropped from a predetermined height. This assignment will be carried out in two phases, each with their own specific design considerations.

At the end of the assignment, we will use one class period to hold an official egg drop where your final device prototypes will be tested, in accordance with the design constraints. The results will be recorded by both you and the TAs. You will then produce and submit a final report detailing the overall process you undertook, and your results.

Students will complete this assignment in randomly assigned pairs.

Learning Goals
  • Rapid ideation of possible designs
  • Iterative sketching as a means of exploring feasibility of design ideas
  • Demonstrate an understanding of physical design material properties and uses
  • Develop a proficiency in rapid lo-fidelity physical prototyping
  • Practice testing and assessing designs for improvement
  • Proficiency in satisfying design constraints effectively
  • Learn how to give and receive feedback in a constructive way during critiques
Materials
  • Lectures
    • Prototyping Techniques
    • Working with Materials
    • Design Constraints
    • More TBA
  • Materials
    • Many materials will be provided to you, although you may need to gather/purchase some of your own and will need to provide your own eggs for testing outside of the final test that happens during class on Feb 3.
    • See below for full list of approved materials
  • Readings
    • McElroy on Prototyping for physical and digital products
    • More readings TBA
VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: during the course of this assignment, you should ALWAYS do the following:
  • Bring a sheet of plastic (garbage bag or other source) to place in your “drop zone” so as to minimize any mess you might make
  • Be respectful of your surroundings, and only test your device in an area that will not do any harm to property -- this includes cleaning up any debris or mess from tests!
  • Be safe and practice good judgement; do not put yourself in harms way
What to do: Phase 1

Stage 1: Individually produce at least ten sketches (minimum, per person—minimum 20 total for your pair team) of different potential designs keeping the list of approved materials and design constraints in mind as you ideate. Keep a record of these sketches for your final deliverable.

Stage 2: From the sketches produced in Stage 1, collaboratively narrow down your ideas to 5 candidate sketches that you think show promise. Then, collaboratively sketch several more refined, iterative versions incorporating the best elements from your five Stage 1 candidates, arriving at a minimum of 3 final sketches that are suitable for translation into physical form. Your final Stage 2 sketches should be of sufficient quality and clarity that you can effectively translate it to a physical prototype. Annotate it as needed for the sake of clarity. Keep a record of these sketches for your final deliverable.

Stage 3: From your final Stage 2 sketches, construct your first physical prototype, making sure that you strictly adhere to the approved materials and design constraints (see below). These materials can be modified in any way that you see fit (cutting, bending, shaping, etc.). Keep in mind that you will likely need to construct several iterations on this design, depending on how it performs in your tests. You will be provided with two sets of all of the Phase 1 materials listed below (unless otherwise indicated), but you may need to obtain additional duplicate materials for further testing.

Stage 4: Using real eggs, conduct tests of your prototype by dropping the device from the specified height for Phase 1. You can and should iterate on your physical prototype as needed, depending on the results of your tests. You may find it beneficial to go back and sketch new iterations and ideas based on initial results (remember it is always cheaper and faster to sketch than it is to build and test a physical prototype). You must still adhere to the approved materials and design constraints for all successive iterations. Be sure to document your tests using field notes, sketches, and photographs.

Design Constraints for Phase 1:

Requirements:
  • Must be able to survive a drop from minimum of 10 feet, onto a hard surface such as concrete, pavement, or brick (not cardboard on grass, for instance).
  • Device must be checkable to determine condition of the egg (device should not require being entirely dismantled or destroyed in order to see if the egg survived)
  • No adhesive materials can be applied directly to the surface of the egg (such as wrapping tape directly around the egg).
Allowed materials (you do not have to use them all, but you must use ONLY these):
  • 6 popsicle sticks
  • 6 toothpicks
  • 4 cotton balls
  • 2 large paper clips
  • 1 small paper drinking cup
  • 1 paper towel segment (11” x 6”)
  • 1 paper plate
  • 4 rubber bands
  • 4 bendable drinking straws
  • 12 inches of string
  • 18 inches of scotch tape (you will provide this due to difficulty of distribution)
Important note about materials: you are being provided two complete sets of the above materials by us. Please take care to ensure you only use one set at any given time (as indicated by the quantities above). You should also, in the event that you do procure additional replacement materials for further iterations and testing, do your best to find comparable items, and make a note of any difference in material properties  in your report.

PLEASE RETURN ANY UNUSED MATERIALS TO AN INSTRUCTOR!

Stages
Stage 1: Individually produce at least ten sketches of different possible designs
Stage 2: Collaboratively produce refined iterations on these 10 sketches as detailed above
Stage 3: Translation of sketches to first prototype with materials
Stage 4: Physical prototyping, testing, evaluating, iterating

Final Deliverables for Phase 1

Note: You can and should collaboratively construct the final PDF deliverable, but only one person from your team needs to submit via Canvas as a "group submission".

Collaboratively produce a 1 page report (single spaced) that details the procedure you used for testing, the results of those tests (e.g. were you successful at protecting the egg? At which height? On which iteration? etc.), and a summary of insights for how your design might be improved or augmented. Include a discussion of materials you wish you had available to you, how you think they would be incorporated, and how this would improve the effectiveness of your device. Include a short paragraph that reflects on what you learned about prototyping in this manner.

On Canvas, upload a single PDF (named A3-Lastname1-Lastname2.pdf") with the following content in this order:

  • The above 1 page report
  • Stage 1 sketches
  • Stage 2 sketches
  • Process photos of any iterative prototypes you constructed (may include testing photos)
  • A photo of your final Phase 1 prototype
  • Comprehensive and clearly labeled lists of those materials (for your final Phase 1 prototype) that you used

Note that while this deliverable has a separate earlier due date, it will be graded as part of the final A3 deliverable that will be turned in at a later date. Late or incomplete submissions will result in a loss of points.

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What to do: Phase 2

Another major part of working on any design project, is the ability to adapt to changes in design constraints and other unforeseen factors that might arise during the course of a project. In the spirit of that, the constraints for Phase 2 are designed to be more challenging in the hopes of sparking creativity and thoughtfulness in how you approach the problem. The headline for this Phase might read: "Twice the height, half the supplies; new constraints, and a surprise!"

The steps and deliverables for Phase 2 stages 1 through 4 are the same as for Phase 1, except where noted below. Please refer to them above for the sake of not replicating the text here.

Stages
Stage 1: Individually produce at least ten sketches of different possible designs. You should build on knowledge you have gained from Phase 1 to inform your 10 (minimum, twenty as a pair) sketches, while also keeping in mind the new design constraints for Phase 2.
Stage 2: Collaboratively produce refined iterations on these 10 sketches
Stage 3: Translation of sketches to first prototype with materials
Stage 4Physical prototyping, testing, evaluating, iterating
Stage 5: Class Egg Drop and Final Report (see below - egg drop on 2/5 and report due 11:59pm that same day)

Design Constraints for Phase 2:

Requirements = All Phase 1 requirements plus the following:
  • Must be able to survive a drop from a minimum of 20 feet onto a hard surface such as concrete, pavement, or brick (not cardboard on grass, for instance).
  • Device must be reusable and reloadable (see below for a detailed description of these terms and what is meant by them in this context).
  • Must fit in a “footprint” no larger than 6” by 6” by 6” (think making sure a carry-on bag is the right size at the gate).
Reusable: Unlike the device constructed in Phase 1, the Phase 2 device should be constructed such that it is able to be re-used for additional drops, without the need to rebuild or repair the device itself. While some portions of the device created in Stage 1 devised to cushion the impact may break off or be damaged rendering the device incapable of being reused (while still preventing the egg from breaking), this will not be allowed for Stage 2.

Reloadable: The Phase 2 device should be constructed such that an egg can be loaded into the device (this will need to happen on the day we do the final drop test together as a class, as the device will start with no egg already loaded), without deconstructing/dismantling the device. Likewise, once dropped, the egg should be able to be taken out (regardless of condition) and a new egg reloaded into the device for additional drops.

Allowed materials (you do not have to use them all, but you must use ONLY these):
  • 3 popsicle sticks
  • 3 toothpicks
  • 2 cotton balls
  • 1 large paper clips
  • 1/2 small paper drinking cup
  • 1/2 paper towel segment (5.5” x 5.5”)
  • 1/2 paper plate
  • 2 rubber bands
  • 2 bendable drinking straws
  • 6 inches of string
  • 18 inches of scotch tape (this one allows you to keep the full phase 1 amount, but you will provide this due to difficulty of distribution)
  • 1 pipe cleaner (bonus new item for Phase 2)
You can also pick ANY TWO and ONLY TWO of the below listed "premium materials" in addition to those listed above:
  • 2 Plastic spoons
  • 2 sheets of 4” x 4” bubble wrap
  • 1 block of 2” x 2” x 1” soft foam
  • 1 square of 4” x 4” standard corrugated cardboard (you will provide this material)
  • 1 strip of duct tape measuring no more than 2” x 4” (you will provide this due to difficulty of distribution
Class Egg Drop Final Deliverables for Phase 2 

Once you have arrived at your final device design for Phase 2, we are ready to (hopefully not) break some eggs! As a class (details on exactly when and where this will take place will be announced in advance) we will then do a final drop test of your device from a the predetermined height. Specific details about when, where, and how this will be carried out will be announced.

During the final test, we will have eggs for you to use. One member of your team will help the instructor load an egg into your device, and drop it onto a “drop zone” below. TAs and IAs will be present at the drop zone, along with your other team member, to determine and takes notes on the success of the device in protecting the egg, and assessing the overall condition of the device itself.

Finally, you will  produce a report that documents the entire process for both Phase 1 and Phase 2. On Canvas, upload a single PDF (named A3_Final-Lastname1-Lastname2.pdf") with the following content in this order:

Note: You can and should collaboratively construct the final PDF deliverable, but only one person from your team needs to submit via Canvas as a "group submission".

    • A title page with your names
    • All sketches for both Phases, in logical order
    • A copy of your previously submitted 1 page Phase 1 evaluation report
    • A photo of your final Phase 1 prototype
    • Several photographs of your final Phase 2 prototype
    • A 2 page report (single spaced) of your Phase 2 design that contains:
      • The procedure you used for testing, evaluating, iterating
      • The results of those tests (were you successful at protecting the egg? At which height? On which iteration?)
      • An evaluation of how successful you were at satisfying all Phase 2 requirements
      • A summary of the results of the final test conducted in class (including worksheet filled out on the day of the final drop test, provided by instructors)
      • A detailed list of all materials used for Phase 2
      • A short reflection (a couple of paragraphs) on lessons learned regarding constraints, creativity, and the overall prototyping process, especially as it pertains to moving through both Phases 1 and 2
    Note: remember that both the final Phase 1 deliverable and Phase 2 deliverable will contribute to your grade.

    Grading Rubric

    Grades will be based on the following. Note that we will look holistically at your process, prototypes, and success—your grade will not merely be a function of your success at protecting the egg):
    • Does your device conform to and satisfy the requirements?; only approved materials in the appropriate quantitates, meets all Phase 1 and Phase 2 constraints, etc.
    • Did the egg survive the drop?; If so, is it removable and reloadable? If not, to what extent is it damaged? Why did this damage occur (was device harmed or was it concussive force, for example).
    • Overall craft of your final device; is the final design well constructed, what level of finish, is there a blend of form and function? 
    • Overall novelty of your solution; how does it compare to other approaches in class and seen online, is their evidence that the constraints sparked creativity in the design approach, even if it failed—did you try something novel?
    • Completeness of final report