Sharing Ideas With Delta

Packed into the first-floor lab space, School of Industrial Design graduate students and faculty completely geeked out about foam core trays with Delta representatives.

This was the culmination of intense design work and prototyping from our students and a few of their professors, done on the weekends in addition to their regular classwork. Their goal was to dream up ways that Delta could save business class galley space and be more efficient with food service on long flights. The School's crew of Delta project designers showed off Georgia Tech's user-centered brand of interactive design in their final presentation, which kept the corporate audience engaged and asking questions. 

Staff from Delta's Global Innovation Center (called "The Hangar" and located in Tech Square) engaged the School to design the solutions.

It was hard not to be engaged in the space, though. Our research area that usually houses the Body Scan Lab and the GM Human Machine Interaction Lab was transformed into an accurate recreation of the galley space of a Delta 777. An entire flight's worth of food and service ware carts were delivered, scrutinized, and put in place, surrounded by foam recreations of airplane walls. Previous iterations of storage solutions were close at hand, sketchwork was pinned to the walls, all showing safe and streamlined solutions for Delta crews.

Getting to Know Delta

To better understand the challenges Delta crews faced with their current galley layout, our students were able to visit the Delta training facility and speak with trainers and flight attendants. 

Then the carts arrived...

... lots of them!

Our graduate students got to work building a facsimile of a Delta business class galley ...

... including current storage layout.

Delta representatives showed the students how flight attendants prepare and serve meals onboard the 777.

Our students had to figure out ways to save space for a variety of meals and snacks.

They examined current service ware ...

... worked through some ideas ...

... considered space limitations and even the materials that make up current on-board organization solutions.

Then they designed prototypes, using 3-D printers and foam core ..

... relentlessly tested their ideas ...

... to make sure their designs took everyday wear and tear into account.

Finally, the students presented their ideas to Delta representatives.

The professors presented other space-saving opportunities within the entire 777 environment, placing an emphasis on workplace safety and efficiency.

"Design is a real bargain," said the Chair of School of Industrial Design, Jim Budd, "because solving problems at the end of production is expensive." He suggested embedding sensors in storage solutions to track different airplane configurations and food item lists could save time and costly human error.

Our students got to network and interact with one of our hometown's biggest employers -- and one of the world's leading airlines. We can't wait to brainstorm and design with Delta again!