Intelligent Distraction Free Smartphone
Companion is a distraction free smartphone that regularly monitors its user's environment via built-in sensors. Companion was designed to be worn as a necklace, clipped to belt loops, or wherever preferred.
October - December 2020
95% of Americans own cell phone, with 75% of those owning a smartphone. Multiple studies show smartphones distract us from the present moment. Despite this, many users claim owning a smartphone can be seen as necessity. Is there a way to provide users with the basic fundamentals of a smartphone without it becoming a distraction?
Initial research into how we currently use our smartphones highlighted how they oftentimes act as a distraction from the present moment. This research also emphasised the need to keep the most basic forms of communication in the final form and how important cameras and their advanced technologies are to current smartphone users.
An exploration into current forms and features of products similar to the function of the smartphone helped evaluate the more important aspects of their designs. Soft forms reminiscent of pebbles evoked a more natural and organic feel.
Rapid sketching in the early stages of ideation helped explore a wide range of forms, features, and proportions of the device. Five distinctive forms were picked for further exploration.
Rapid CAD was implemented into the design process to more easily visualise the form and function of the product. When paired with quick prototyping using foam models, three clear design directions were finalised.
Sketch rendering was used to present the final three forms in a cohesive manner. This step helped further close the gap to find a final overall form of the device.
After the selection process a combination of sketching, rapid CAD, card and foam prototyping, and visualisation techniques were used to finalise the overall form of the product and its most prominent features.
Once a final design was settled on, the product was constructed in CAD. This process included paying attention to the design's features, surfacing details, internal component layout, ease of manufacturing and deconstruction at end of life.
A final appearance model was constructed to add a sense of tactility to the presentation of the final design. This step included development in CAD, 3D printing, sanding, priming and a few light coats of paint.
Storyboarding helped solidify the final design. Presenting the concept through this visual method to those who were not completely familiar with the device helped grasp the major design areas that needed focus.
Companion is constructed from a bioplastic that is easily manufactured and easy to disassemble. This helps create a closed loop system where plastic is recycled many times over without ending up in land fill.
The design's colours feature a tri-colour speckle pattern on top soft hues that nod to the colours and patterns of naturally found pebbles. The texture of the bioplastic also mimics the slightly rough feel of pebbles.
Companion was designed to be worn with accessories. The device comes with an injection moulded silicone necklace loop and extra accessories such as a case can be purchased. These complement the form and design through similar surfacing treatments and bold, bright colours that aim to stand out.
The product has no ports. Not only does this free up internal space and help make the device more water resistant, it allows the product to utilise its wireless charging functionality. Companion charges alongside the user's current smartphone making it easy for them to pick which device to pick up to get through their day.
Companion can easily be disassembled for repair or dismantle at end of life. This allows the user to make less frequent upgrades which reduces waste and helps save resources.
Companion curves at all angles. mimicking the natural design of pebbles. This ensures that the device feels premium and comfortable.
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