3 October 2013

Walking stick - Design problem solving

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Design Problem solving is an important part of CEED exam. Let's take an example and analyze the design aspects for it.

Question :

Design a multi-purpose walking stick for the elderly. State your perception of the problem and the opportunities that your solution provides. Present your concept through sketches, showing the overall form, different functions  and its construction details.

(Appeared as question no. 10 in CEED 2009 exam paper)

Perception of the problem

Walking sticks are a basic need for elder people especially for walking around, morning walks and also while having long strolls. Elders usually find difficulty in carrying generally used things like water bottle, torch light (for night walks) and so on. Keeping walking stick in one hand and things like bottles or torch lights as well as carry bags in other hand is really difficult.

Old people usually do Surya pranam exercises as well as Surya-namaskar during early mornings as well as during sun set and if they are in a room, they may face difficulty in finding the right direction (East). Elder people likes to hear music on the go and most of them wear spectacles. They will get irritated whenever their walking stick fells down. 

Opportunities that the proposed design provides

The solution given through the design will help the user (elders) solve the basic identified problems in the following manner. 
  1. The proposed design supports holding arrangement for half-liter water (or any soft drinks) bottle by making use of elastic cloth material, arranged above the center of the stick (below hand-hold), The reason for placing the bottle near the hand-grip is because the bottle weight will be handled very well in that position unlike placing it at the bottom.
  2. A mini-torch light system is integrated in the new walking-stick's front face of hand-grip (as shown in illustration) with switch arrangement for on and off. Hard rubber type of material is proposed so that when the walking stick fell down accidentally, the torch arrangement wouldn't get damaged.
  3. A magnetic compass is included on the top of the rubberized hand-grip (with torch on front face) to let the users know the direction especially while doing Surya pranam exercises.
  4. A mp3 player will be made available at the back side of hand grip integrated with Bluetooth technology to connect with cordless Bluetooth head phones for music. 
  5. An optional  mobile phone cum spectacle holder (made from sponge or foam material) can be provided.
  6. Two short supportive legs ( with optional bottom lights) were proposed for the designed stick (at the bottom) so as to make it stand, because keeping in a slant position will balance the weight of the stick along with water bottle. 
  7. Aluminium is considered for constructing the stick to make it dead light, considering the weight of the water bottle and other accessory integration.
Final sketches illustrating the solutions and construction of designed walking stick were shown below :

Rough sketch to get ideas on the design were illustrated below.

As we had gone through the walking-stick design aspects, I would like to share my ideas and thoughts (you may call it tips) that you might find useful while attempting similar design problems.
  1. First things first, The better way to deal with this type of problem is to try rough sketching first (instead of doing the perception and solution writing). Because when you start sketching, in the process you might get a better idea than what you had thought earlier. Suppose that you wrote the explanation and solution part first, then you might face difficulty in adding or changing the wordings. So better start with rough sketch, second comes writing part and then go for final sketch. Using pencil for sketching rather than colors will help to do easy changes.
  2. I noted three pages for rough work and three pages for final answer in the question paper and I planned to use this papers as follows :
  • I wish to use at least two papers (given for rough work) to show my rough sketches. Rough sketches should preferably be illustrated by a quick and simple pencil (part and overall) sketches. Preferably 5-10 mins can be spared for that.
  • I will utilize the first page (given for final answer)  to write the perception and solution part. Second page will be used for the overall drawing with construction and the third page for detailed part sketches.
  • Note that rough sketches could be impressing the examiners and there you can show the construction part in exploded view format.
  • Sketching and rendering for this type of questions won't take much time (as there are no background themes or portraits to be drawn). So, utilize the time and try to give detailed drawings, especially the individual part sketches, like I did in my illustration above.
  3. If you find time, you may try coloring also.
 4. You may reduce the number of 'identified problems', but let the problems be acceptable.

To be frank, I kept focus on each detail of the above illustrations (even for rough sketches !!) and so it took more time for me to complete that. The details were drawn to clearly explain my ideas to you as well as test the time consumed by drawing the details. In any of my next posts, I will try to sketch illustrations as per the allowable time (time allowed as per CEED exam).

Any way; by attempting just two-three illustrations, I feel like my sketching skills were developing (slowly but steadily and I need to be more quicker). That's why I am insisting you again and again to try and practice regularly.
"Practice makes man perfect", right !!!

Latest update: Tips for Exploded view drawing

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  1. i do not like bottle . in my opinion carry in a bag is much easier.
    Other than bottle is great.

    1. Thanks for the comments,
      Any other issues if found, please comment ....:)

  2. It's a good solution.
    I think a great design will be something that keeps the main character of the product intact
    and does it in the most ingenious manner possible.

    The rest everything is "frills" and can be done without. Adding more and more
    accessories might not make a design a good one I think.

    But since it is a "Multipurpose " Stick maybe it's okay to frill it up..

    There are unnecessary accessories like Compass (If one is doing Surya Namaskar
    certainly they can see where the sun is rising from! As it is a daily routine even if done in
    the night one will know the position of the sun)

    MP3 Player is not needed on a walking stick.

    Water Bottle(It's an added weight and certainly not a necessity while moving
    in and out of the house daily)

    Torch and light mesh specs case is good..

    It should also have adjustable length feature.

    1. Hi Swati,

      Thanks a lot for your comment and suggestion. Happy to see that people like you are sharing personal views, it will definitely help others for their practice and improvement. thank you once again.
      Regarding compass, yes I may say u r true that once direction is found, it will not be useful everyday even if used in room,

    2. Swati,

      MP3 player might be included as I stated, old people are music lovers, Adjustable concept is very fine, just to save time I avoided sketching that. Water bottle can be included because it will be useful for them at times, it's not an issue, I think. Anyway like I said, if every one perceive different concepts and designs, then it will be well and good, otherwise even the examiners will get frustrated by seeing the same solutions in all answer sheets......ha ha.
      I would also expect you to comment for my other solutions. it will really help others. Thanks in advance :)

    3. I really liked the concept of torch light as well as mp3.... as today we want the complete package in one product or we can say that we don't want to carry more and more extra things ... old people would really like this... apart from that i don't like the concept of water bottle because weight of stick would fluctuate and it is not looking good or we can say that complex as well as...
      one more thing in design we see whether it would be economically stand or not... as for average people they would not prefer this because of the addition of mp3... almost everyone has mobile phone for that purpose too... thank you for sharing this... thanx a lot :) :)

    4. Your views are much appreciated. Thanks for all the analysis that you made. Enjoy reading my other posts :)

    5. thank you for the appreciation :) yeah sure...

    6. @bhanuchander
      i think instead of mp3 player walkie-talkie will work ....since dey cud not shout much either ......for music dey cud olso use i-pod /mobile phones/radio...

  3. mp3 switch must be quite far from the handle. .sometimes it will be on/off unnecessarily while holding handle. .and we can put watch instead of compass. .it will be more useful. .

  4. Great work sir. Your blogs really helps for youths like me who aim for making career in designing stream.I have some suggesion for your above designed stick for old people.
    1. We can even add an emergency LED light to instruct other people that te seniour citizen is walking. This will be usefull at night.
    2. Also a small scanner which will recognise the obstacles on the road. It will make them aware of the obstacles on the road by emitting a sound or directly instructing them about it.

    1. Great ideas!
      I didn't get this idea of using Sensor for warning the user about obstacle presence as well as avoid them, even though I'm working on obstacle avoidance :P Thanks for reminding. Ya, definitely it can be done. These days sensors are coming in minute sizes and we might use that for other purposes too.
      And regarding LED, I've already included that in the design above but the purpose was to make the road visible.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Do u expect someone to work ASAP in 3 days rather than urself working from before, that too for ur exam ? May I know what have been doing before 3 days ?

    2. I didn't get any proper idea for this particular question(the problem with the water pipe)....And I did not ask any one to work on that now for me!!!
      And if someone has the solution for it,
      I only requested them to post it here

    3. http://stuffyoulook.blogspot.in/2016/12/nid-dat-2015-previous-paper-subjective.html

  6. Great sketching with different ideas I got an idea on this section in the proper way of approach
    Thank you so much sir

    1. Thanks Bhargava. Your name Kanipakam is slightly related to me too as I'm from Tirupati near to Kanipakam :)


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