Capstone Fall 2018: Focus on Improving Our Lives

The School of Industrial Design fielded six teams in the fall 2018 Capstone at Georgia Tech. Team Chopa won for best Industrial Design/Mechanical Engineering team.

Team members were Kristin Andreassen, Max Cohen, and Jae Hyuk Kim of Industrial Design, and Matias Girardi and Elliot Manassa of Mechanical Engineering. They developed toys for kids aged 18-24 months with disabilities.

Improving all our lives seemed to be a theme through the six projects. Helping those with limitations – physical and economic – was the aim of three projects. Others were designed to make produces safer and more productive. Healing and Health was the theme of the larger Capstone Expo.

The students were part of a senior studio taught by industrial design Professors Wayne Li and Stephen Sprigle. It is an interdisciplinary course that integrates industrial design and mechanical engineering, and is comprised of students from both disciplines. 

The students must follow a design process and are designing for a particular type of user. There are three phases to the assignment. Let’s take a look at the teams and their projects at varying stages.

Team Chopa

This team was tasked with designing accessible toys. It is estimated that 25 million children are born each year with some sort of accessibility limitation. Common limitations include hearing impairments, vision impairments, orthopedic deformities, cognitive limitations, etc. Many toys incorporate multi-sensory features and functions in order to be attractive to children at different developmental levels. The idea of universal design is used the create interactive toys that are attractive to children with and without disabilities. The team's bubbles -- pictured at top -- are designed for toddlers of all abilities. A unique experience can be created through an app that allows parents to modify games to their child’s needs.

Here the team is pictured after being chosen the best ID/ME team at Capstone. Kids II sponsored this team.

Team Free Wheelchair Mission

This team was tasked with developing a wheelchair upgrade for people with few resources. The World Health Organization estimates that 70 million people in developing nations are in need of a wheelchair, yet lack the resources to obtain one. Using Free Wheelchair Mission’s Gen 2 and Gen 3 wheelchair, team members redesigned the seating interface, which includes the backrest, seat and foot rest, taking into consideration costs and durability.

Here team members present their wheelchair idea in class. Free Wheelchair Mission sponsored this team.

Team Generative Automotive Design

Generative Design is a new software tool and technique used to design stronger and lighter parts using computational methods. This project examined the front-end sheet-metal structure of the automotive body (using a midsize sedan as a proxy) and used generative design techniques to redesign this front-end structure to be compliant with current crash standards. This project was twofold: 1) creating a new visual design language on front end fascia car design and 2) using generative designs to replace the underlying substructure of the vehicle body.

Here team members present their work at Capstone. Autodesk sponsored this team.

Team AR/VR 3D Database

The Global Supply Chain Department within Mission Systems at Northrup Grumman manages an immense database of hardware parts. The engineering department wants to create a parts database that an engineer could use to examine, explore, query, and assemble parts both in real time and using augmented and/or virtual reality. One goal was to allow engineers to use VR to explore and learn about different combinations of parts and assemblies without actually taking them apart.

Here the team members present their project at Capstone. Northrop Grumman sponsored this team.

Team Postural Measurement

The objective of this project was to design and evaluate a system that can measure the seated posture of wheelchair users. Being seated is a functional posture for many people and activities. The ability to measure the seated posture is important as a means to optimize function, prevent musculoskeletal injury, and improve comfort. Measuring the seated posture can be complicated by the fact that the seat and backrest can hinder access to the body. This is especially challenging when measuring the seated posture of wheelchair users.

Here team members show off their project at Capstone. This team worked with clinicians at several medical facilities.

Team GM Family Car HMI

The HMI Transportation Design Lab recently acquired a new interaction automobile buck that connects screens and passengers. This project uses the lab’s augmented reality windshield (a 55” Transparent OLED TV) to imagine family interactions that invite more social interactions: talking to the car, reading displays, or playing a game. It uses side and front glass surfaces that encourage people to engage with both the ride and each other.

Here team members present their work in class. Their work was sponsored by the GM Lab at Georgia Tech.