What inspired me to become a mechanical engineer came from my fascination with the automotive world. Supercars, Formula 1, and other motorsports are often styled in an aesthetic that is head-turning but also functional in the sense that design features such as winglets provide an aggressive look but also help create downforce or redirect air to the brakes.

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It is often in the automotive community to hear terminology such as form over function or function over form. I think the world of supercars balances this competition between form and function really well. Cars don’t have to be boring to get people from A to B; there should be excitement to driving even if it is routine to most people. Once you combine engineering with aesthetic design, you can only appreciate the product more. For instance, Koenigsegg, a Swedish supercar maker, makes a low squatting supercar much like Lamborghini or Ferrari, but they implement new engineering technologies such as electronically actuated valves where traditional piston engines use a camshaft to drive the valves.

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My inspirations are also based on a quote by Bruce Lee, that “simplicity is the key to brilliance.” Designs should not be covuluted and aimless. It should try to minimize the things that can go wrong in a system and be robust at the same time. But, that doesn’t mean it can’t be complex. There is simplicity in complexity. If you look at an automatic transmission and wonder how on earth did they come up with that, you would be baffled by its complexity. But if you understand the engineering and concept behind it, it really is a brilliant design made simple. Every component is necessary, compact, and clean.

This is my design philosophy. You can create beautiful products and be simple about it. For my main project, I would like to keep this in mind.

The main concept is to use capacitive touch to initiate a motion. The capacitive feature should not be some eye sore pasted on a surface, but it should be invisible to give that simplistic look. I want to utilize capacitive touch to turn on a light or maybe to cause a cylinder to separate to reveal a compartment. I haven’t decided yet, but this is a start.

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The Amazon Echo is something I’ve had in the back of my mind as far aesthetics go. I would implement a touch capactive sensor on the top face, and it would turn on a ring of light and begin to separate the two cylindrical halves to reveal something else. It could be an unnecessary pencil holder for all I know.

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Echo would be a cool thing to integrate! I really like your design philosophy, and I would definitely say I agree. There’s another similar quote about design, something along the lines of “you’re done when there’s nothing left to take out,” again going back to simplicity.

    I’ll keep thinking on capacitive touch and what you could do with it!

    Reply
  • Dennis Can
    Nicholas Flood
    February 28, 2016 3:57 pm

    I am a huge fan of Christian von Koenigsegg’s take on the modern super/hypercar, so I appreciate the reference. Anyways, I think the Echo is a good example of a simple yet elegant aesthetic. Maybe a digital clock that only displays the time when touched would be a neat idea (perfect for a nightstand).

    Reply

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