- Leading Multi Locational Mechanical Design Teams in Turkey, Finland and Taiwan
- Housing Design and Material Selection
- Microphone enclosure design
- Light Guide and Optical Design
- Adapter and Packaging Design & Testing
- Designing for Manufacturing (Platform Design, Mold Design)
- Prototyping and Iterating
How might we utilize our top-notch Turkish natural language processing algorithm to make people's lives easier in today's fast living world?
Our innovation department's director, CIO of the Arcelik Erkan Duysal met with Sestek companies' executives and learnt about their powerful the Turkish natural language processing software at Innovation Event. As an innovative product development team, we were fascinated with their technology and we made a market research and prototyped some ideas to explore opportunities. I was in charge of physical part of the prototyping a smart home assistant idea and I made several prototypes with different fidelities from cardboard to 3D printed. These prototypes took attention from our company' executives and CEO requested a demo. For the final prototype which was presented to the CEO, I used egg cartons as an acoustic isolation between speakers and microphones, gym leggings for dust filter and aesthetic, and I also used a Starbucks Cup as an acoustic enclosure.
The first two months of the project, we cooperated with ex-Nokia designers (OMUUS). Our team tested various concepts with the users to validate our final form factor by agile iterations. I was responsible for rapid prototyping different form factors and concepts. After the validation of form factor, I led and designed the housing, acoustic, thermal and manufacturing processes for the first engineering variable test (EVT) together with our partner mechanical engineering teams (Quanta & Cre8Design). Simultaneously, other members of our team worked on software and electronic parts to create a complete experience for our first EVT.
I was also part of the content team to create dialogue for the product's interactions with customers regarding their needs. Before getting into design validation tests, we decided to design and manufacture a unique adapter, packaging and bags specific to this product. Therefore, we tested the consumer-friendliness of various adapters and collaborate with our test team to design a safe but desirable adapter. I prototyped and tested various 3D models to be ensure that adapter is not blocking two slots (which you can see the model provided by ID team in the first photo below). We created a manufacturing plan for finalized concept based on the results with our partners.
We also worked on a new way of packaging for Smart Home Assistant and we got inspired buy circularity of this industry. We designed with our partners in Finland various packaging ideas and experiences, and I tested the models from low-fidelity prototypes to high-fidelity prototypes. After this stage, we also tested packages with our test team to ensure safety and fulfil regulations.
We successfully launched our first engineering variable test products at Turkey Innovation and Entrepreneurship Week and received the "Innovation Leadership Award". Not only was the public excited to use our product, but other companies were thrilled about the possibility for cooperation. Thus, we made an early agreement with Divan Group to implement our device in their hotel rooms. Our product is now in the mass production phase, and it will be available to the public in June 2018.
Thinking back on this process, I would like to share three main takeaways that I believe It was valuable lessons.
- Communicating with your teams, vendors and partners in a common platform to learn their skills and capabilities together is really important in the beginning of the project so that can help planning what is possible for the project.
- It's okay to not have expertise in some areas on your team. You can be a problem solver. You just need to value learning, appreciate knowledge and experience, and never be afraid to ask people questions and request their support.
- Spend time being transparent and aligning different divisions and teams within the information of the latest situation, planned actions, mission and vision through the process.