2017-18. Individual Project.
TechBee is a sustainable packaging solution for portable technology items in the near future.
It consists of modular packaging with a service system designed for the circular economy through the use of sustainable materials, and drones and autonomous vehicles for delivery and collection.
The project drew heavily on analysis of current packaging and its environmental impact, research into materials science and trends in sustainable technology, as well as system thinking and design.
The design development then employed rapid visualisation and sketching, low- and high-fidelity prototyping, material sample making, and evaluation to arrive at a final proposal which was communicated through a presentation and highly visual report.
Design Concept: Artefact and System
‘Moulded’ wood tray:
Recycled wood chips with a PLA binder.
Durable and tough.
These ‘trays’ are designed to stack and hold by friction so multiple items can be packaged — hence the modularity.
Nitinol Shape Memory Alloy wire:
Woven into fabric and triggered to fold it around product at activation temperature.
Recycled PET fabric:
Wrapped around product for protection.
Design Concept Embodiment
Works-like packaging prototype to demonstrate its modular function and ergonomics, along with samples of the primary proposed material - a polylactide (PLA) and wood-chip composite to demonstrate some of the material's physical and aesthetic properties.
Visual Communication Materials
Diagrams representing various aspects of the design concept including a representation of the circular nature of the system, plus visuals such as renders of the packaging artefact.
Packaging Teardown and Analysis
Establishing a benchmark from example packaging for 'portable technology items', with analysis of its parts, manufacturing, system features and estimations of the CO2 footprint and energy consumption of the packaging (as well as it's End of Life potential) made using CES Edupack.
User, Market and Contextual Research
User research via an online survey, market research into current packaging and packaging trends, as well as contextual research on the issue of plastic and packaging, and future trends in technology and sustainable design - which was put into a 'moodboard'.
Ideation and Initial Evaluation
Rapidly generated, back of the envelope sketches of concepts, and further development and evaluation of the system of each in terms of the Ellen McArthur foundation's representation of circular economy systems.
Materials Research and Development
Exploration of existing sustainable materials (and suppliers), use of Ashby plots to evaluate materials in terms of sustainability and mechanical strength metrics. Development of material samples of a 'desired' material for the packaging and estimation of its environmental impact in CES.
System Design Development
Development of a product service system and evaluation of its performance from a circular perspective. Analysis of key stakeholders and customer experience through use of a stakeholder diagram and customer journey map. Development of digital, mobile UI to accompany packaging (accessed by the user by scanning a QR code on the packaging).
Low fidelity cardboard prototyping, followed by 3D printing, development of a silicone mould and moulding with an alternative, current sustainable plastic - Polymorph. Analysis of scope for further prototyping.