I want to share with you one of my first serious projects I created while at SCAD, The NOR dish cleaner. This project pushed my limits to not only create a cool project but to follow vigorous design methods to nail down my concept in an appropriate fashion.
Meet Dj, Dj has been my roommate for the last four years. Not only has Dj been my roommate but he has become my closest friend. But like most college students, the transition to college is a big change. The problem most students face is adjusting to an independent lifestyle. one of the biggest problems I noticed was struggling to clean dishes.
I really started to notice this problem when Dj and I decided to live with four of our other friends sophomore year. Living with five other boys with a small kitchen was a disaster waiting to happen.
I am sure you all have seen a similar situation if you have lived with roommates. This should not come as a surprise considering how many people were living together at the time. Unfortunately, it was a reality and I knew I wanted to tackle this problem.
The task for this project is to make the process of cleaning dishes easier but to understand the human body and how it interacts in the environment of cleaning. Over ten weeks, I challenged myself to design a product using anthropometry that best suits my client's needs as well as an entire market.
Starting off, I found it very important to analyze the current market and what people are buying. OXO, Cedar, and Scotch Brite stood out the most, regarding dish cleaning tools. They are all top-selling cleaning products currently on Amazon. These three companies are also in the majority of grocery stores. They are the easiest accessible cleaning products and these brands have leveraged their entire brand based on that.
But of course, I could not buy every single cleaning tool for my roommates to test out. So, I decided it was best to buy a bristle wand, sponge wand, palm bristle brush, and finally a Dremel tile cleaner.
Before going to user testing, I wanted to make sure I considered the anthropometrics of not only Dj's hands but also the 95th percentile.
To better learn how Dj and my roommates used these new products, I decided to set up a webcam to analyze how they clean their dishes, as well as how they interact in the kitchen. (consent agreement forms were signed)
The most successful part of this experiment was that my roommates actually cleaned their dishes! All jokes aside, I was able to collect crucial data that help me understand exactly what they wanted in a cleaning tool for example:
I noticed that there were 3 main ways they were interacting with the new cleaning tools.
1. The finger point
2. The palm
3. The full grab
After this, I discussed with Dj and my roommates what they liked most about these new tools. They all loved the idea of the Dremel but it was too powerful and would spit food everywhere. The next favorite was the stand bristle/sponge wand. The wand allowed them to reach inside of a cup/bowl with no effect. This is where the bristle palm cleaner fell short. While it was a great cleaning too, it was clear to be less superior from the other products.
After extensive market research, analyzing Dj's anthropometrics, and how my roommates interact in the kitchen, it was time to start sketching. This phase was very exploratory and used to push the limits of what my design could be. I looked for inspiration from cleaning products on the current market and any product used in your hand. This gave me some clear winners and losers but overall, the process produced over 100 sketches of abstract cleaning tools that helped me create a unique design.
I wanted to make sure I incorporated all the features my roommates enjoyed about the products they tested. Following similar forms currently on the market as inspiration, I narrowed the sketches to some key designs. Many of which included the essential features needed for creating the foam models and eventually building a prototype.
Before I started to model the final form, it was important to make foam models so both Dj and my roommates were comfortable holding the cleaning tool. It was very clear which form they all preferred (bottom left foam form). It allowed them to hold the tool in all three common positions with ease, thus solidifying the final direction. So after That, It was time to make the final model to correct dimensions to fit not only Djs hands but that 95th percentile.
Of course, I could not just stop at making a physical model, but I had to create a cool design that was marketable to not only college students but anyone looking for a sleek and stylish cleaning device.
It was a huge challenge to figure out how I was going to build a working prototype. I had never soldered before, but I was determined to learn. I bought a low-speed, high torque motor, lithium-ion battery, a circuit boards for charging/power, and 3D printed the rest. With great success, I was able to put it all together and create a functional prototype!
Product visualization is one of my favorite parts of Industrial Design, so I wanted to render NOR in a studio scene with lighting that would highlight the importance of the product.
The Nor was explicitly crafted for the kitchen and needed to have internal components that would last long and withstand the kitchen elements.
This is why I decided to give the NOR an easy way to swap between sponges and bristles by creating the Eezy Clip Attachment.
I also had to tackle the problem of using a motor that would not spit food everywhere, so I landed on a low-speed, high torque motor. This allows you to get into the messy spots of a dish without any mess.
Finally, I noticed that having an option for soap was critical in my design. My roommates hated having to use their wet hands to grab the soap bottle and put it in the dish, so I eliminated that burden by including a built-in soap dispenser.
I created this video to show off the NOR in a different light. While I am no expert motion designer, I have found a love in visualization to explain my designs further and create a closer bond with my design.
I hope everyone enjoyed this project and the process that followed. This project meant so much to me and was the most intense project I have tackled while at SCAD.