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MP3, Cellphone/alarm clock design

Hi everyone,This assignment  I found was fun yet challenging because was had to incorporate many different aspects of design and technology into one piece. My thought while trying to create this was the fact that technology is ever changing and we are becoming more and more dependent on out cellphones and mp3 players rather than home or pay phones, cassette or CD players. When I wake up for school in the mornings I hate having to go to different locations to pick up my cell phone and MP3 player so I decided to create a doc that can hold both of these items. The best place for me would be on my night-stand by my alarm clock which wakes me up in the morning. this dock would be relatively cheap considering that alrmmp3phone-doc.JPG

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Multi-functional Object

  • Research: When my younger cousins were over in the past week, I realized that the younger generations are getting used to having the newest technology around more than ever before. I got my first cell phone in high school and it was the biggest deal at the time. Now, my 10 and 13 year old  cousins are texting me and know how to use every feature in the book. Technology has grown so much and it’s just going to keep on growing faster and faster. In my life so far, I already went through cassette players, cd players, mp3 players and ipods. By observing current phones, ipods etc. I realized that these items have features like alarm clocks and answering machines built into them already and there’s really no need to have a different machine for every single different use. People like to have sleek things like the iphone that have a variety of feature on one device. Also I think almost everyone today has some sort of internet access whether its from a pc or laptop. That’s why I decided to create something with the look of my phone (the Samsung ?) where you could flip it two ways, but where you could do many different things. My object would be more or less an ipod, a cell phone, and would have internet access as well.
  • Audience: My multi-function object would be created for the future teenagers/young adults who are still going to want things that are convenient, that have a lot of features, that are easy to use but that look cool at the same time.  
  • Affordances:When the device is closed, it will look like an ipod and take on its features (where you can listen to music, set an alarm…) When you flip it open upwards it will take on the features of a cell phone (where you can make calls, text, check voicemail…) When you flip it open to the side it will look like a mini laptop and will allow you to get access to internet and email… 
  • Constraints: The user will only be able to use certain features depending on how the device is turned or flipped (for example, if it’s on ipod mode, you wont be able to go on the internet or use the phone and so on so forth). 
  • Conceptual Model:When the device is in ipod mode (closed) it will look like a typical ipod with a screen to show what’s playing, and have a typical keypad with the buttons for menu, play, pause… The only difference will be that the keypad will be like a touch screen (like the front of my cell phone). When the device is in the cell phone mode (open upwards) it will have a screen like a regular cellphone on top, and the bottom piece will have a keypad that’s also touch screen (with number buttons, letters, send, end…) When the device is in mini laptop mode (turned to the side) the touch screen that was used for the phone will transfer into a keyboard touch screen.

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The Nostalgia

The Nostalgia Media Machine “Nostalgia – it’s delicate, but potent. In Greek, “nostalgia” literally means “the pain from an old wound.” It’s a twinge in your heart far more powerful than memory alone. This device isn’t a spaceship, it’s a time machine. It goes backwards, and forwards… it takes us to a place where we ache to go again. “

The Nostalgia is a portable media center that takes the various mediums through which you’ve recorded the moments, events and artifacts of your life, and makes  them available to you in a elegant yet simple package -an electronic book.


Having a portable media machine with a tape deck is definately something that befits a niche market. It suggests that whomever would be interested in such a product could either be: (A) Anachronistic or (B) Nostalgic.

So, this product is geared to an upper-middle to upper class demographic that tends to shop at places like Andrew Martin, where one is willing to spend several thousand dollars on handcrafted appliances.


The Nostalgia is essentially an amalgam of the iPod Touch, the Amazon Kindle, and the Nintendo DS (with an added tape deck). Thus, the research revolved around the idea of going beyond that. Something that would not only set it apar, but also apeal to a different audience.

Whatwith many studies showing that the human memory has become increasingly attached to technological devices like cellular phones and computers. Thus, creating a portable “memory machine” with a classic, leatherbound aesthetic appeared to be the best way to go.


The Nostalgia looks and somewhat functions like a book. This, coupled with a fairly intuitive interface, makes it so that the user’s experience is as natural as using a book. This is further simplified by the means of interaction; a iPod Touch, gesture-based interface makes it for a user-friendly experience that should please the older target audience.


The machine is roughly the size of a book (or DVD case). Though it has the thinnest possible technology embedded in it, the inclusion of the tape deck added a substantial size constraint. Thus, it becomes difficult to fit more media into the machine.

Conceptual Model

The Nostalgia Media Machine (detail)

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SoundBar for at Home

Audience: Directed to upper middle class/wealthy people who also look to incorporate design into their living room thats mostly already with high end furniture. These people can mostly afford Mies van der Rohe chairs and other fancy stuff. Age: yuppie to pre-retirement.

Research: In the age of multi-faceted media devices, some people have a stereo where they dont use the cassette deck and wish to be able to connect their iPod.

Affordances: The SoundBar is extendable to any kind of media device you use. The individual ad ons are sold separately. You can purchase two, three or even four cd players and snap them on. People with cassette tapes can buy the tape ad on, others who ceased using tape don’t need to worry about it.

Constraints: The Master Ad On needs to come with the sound bar. That is where sound preferences can be set, as well as the alarm and AM/FM radio. If there are many ad ons, the time display might be blocked.

Conceptual Model: A long Sound Bar with electrical tracks on both sides to snap on ad ons. The ad ons can be slided up or down. The SoundBar can come in two lengths to accommodate desired amount of ad ons.


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hotelroom media device.

i decided to place the media device in a high class hotel room.  it is made specifically for installation into one of these rooms, but i dont see why it would not be able to be placed in a private household, the only deterrent being its high cost.

 hotel room placement:  hotel room device setup.

control panel setup: control panel setup.

 Audience:  hotel room guests.  since they are not around the device for long periods of time, it must be easy to use and rapidly learned.  because of this, many cultural constraints and standardized buttons and symbols are considered in its setup.  led lights bring attention to items that require attention, such as the messages button.  play, pause, stop, eject, etc. buttons are themselves shaped in the standard symbols for their functions.  this also allows for easy use in the dark, as the buttons are easily distinguishable just by feeling them.  the lightbulb and headphones symbols are also easily recognizable.

Research:  devices like this are hard to come by.  i figured that it would be useful in a higher class hotel room.  i tried to make the design of the whole system itself as minimalistic as possible, as to not seem intrusive in a five star hotel room.  as a result of this consideration, the only visible parts of the system are the control panel (placed on the wall above a nightstand near the bed) and the speakers (placed on either side of the bed and in the ceiling).  because of the fact that norman believes that low visibility leads to a worse user experience because there is less feedback, a relatively large display screen was included to provide necessary feedback, which isnt much with a system of relatively simple entities such as these.  finally, consideration of the audience who does not get to spend much time with the device seems to be the most important research.

Affordances:  each button affords pushing.  the xm satellite radio button affords turning in addition to pushing.  the cd and usb drives and the headphones jacks afford inserting.  the lamp dimmer affords touching and sliding, as it is a smooth strip of touch-sensitive plastic.  the phone affords holding.

Constraints:  each insertion point can only be inserted with one type of device.  the ipod connection will only fit an ipod.  the input connection can only be placed into an out or headphones connection.  culturally, the symbols used are highly standardized.  the phone is not wireless, as to prevent theft.

Mapping:  each “section” is to be a slightly different shade of purchaser’s chosen color.  the visualizer/display screen will have one placemat.  the phone controls and the alarm controls will share another; when setting the alarm, the number buttons for the phone are used after the user is prompted to do so on the display screen.  the cd drive, usb drive, satellite radio tuner, and ipod/input device connections are contained within a third shade of color.  the light dimmer and headphones jacks are not on a placemat, but rather the standard brush-metal background plate.  for each device within these sections, the mapping is natural based on standardizations.  the phone buttons and cd control buttons are in natural order.  based on cultural constraints, the display screen is on the top left of the control panel, as we tend to explore from left to right, up to down. 
most importantly, the mapping is based on the fixed position of the control panel (in a hotel room over a nightstand on the left side of the bed).  this consideration places the light dimmer and phone closer to the right, on the side of the bed.  these two sections are more likely to be consistently used while in bed, and would be difficult to use if they were further away.  aside from the fact that the light dimmer uses plus and minus symbols, the mapping of “up is more and down is less” aids in the use of this device.  likewise, the radio tuner turns to the left to go to a lower channel and the right to tune higher.
the volume controls are paired with the speaker above the control panel.

Conceptual Model:  a user’s conceptual model of the device would point the “center” of the action of the audio controls towards the display screen.  based on standardization and the desire for feedback, this fact is considered in that all feedback pertaining to these devices is placed on the display screen (of course, excluding the audio feedback, which will come from the speakers).  the alarm clock buttons also convey a conceptual model of the device such that needed visual feedback should be displayed on the display screen, where the time is located.  users will automatically place the phone buttons in the realm of the phone itself, despite the fact that the receiver does not itself sit on the control panel. 
because of the placement, structure, and visual display of each part of the device, a user’s conceptual model will afford them with ease of use rather than confusion and a puzzle of parts.

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clockradioCDmP3phone player



-         Phone receiver is for holding and talking.

-         Grooves are for placing the phone receiver.

-         Touch screen buttons are for touching.

-         The CD drive is for pushing in/insertion.


-         The USB port is solely for inserting a USB device.

-         The CD/DVD drive is only for inserting discs.


My device was intended for use in the office. The ideal person is someone who has a lot of down time, but when needed, an important phone call be made.

Conceptual Model

The LED touch screen controls the entire device. If a phone call needs to be made, you press the phone/voicemail button, which then prompts you to enter a phone number, or check the voicemail/answering machine. All of the other options are controlled via the touch screen (mP3 player, CD, clock, radio).

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CD Player Alarm (Multi Functional Objects)

my.jpg28042008020.jpgI’ve came up with the “CD Player Alarm” since I couldn’t find any cd player that is featured ith an Alarm to play the Cd in the market. It is an electronic device that playes Audio CDs and files, set the alarm and record the audio. You can set the Alarm to play a specific audio file/files on specific time. Why does it take this shape? well while doing my reaserch I found out that CD-players work the best when the CD is placed horizentally so the CD reader could scan it properly.  it’s round because CD’s are round as well. 280420080162.jpgThe digital screen is going to be very similar to this one :28042008017.jpg  people.jpgIt will include the time, date but instead of the temp. it’s going to have the Alarm time.There also going to be a space where the name of the file that is playing is being displayed. Why it’s not colorful like cell phones screen? because this one save  battery and there is nothing more than numbers and charachters displayed on this screen.What buttons will be there?on/off button: to switch it on and off.Eject : to open the CD-room which is easier to use.Play/Forw/Rew/stop/pause: To play and control the tracks that you want to play directly without an alarm that plays it automatically.Set/Options/Up arrow/Down arrow: To control the Alarm, date and Time screen. There also going to be an option to record an audio file directly from the microphone that is plugged into the device which you can play directly or when you set the alarm.The device also include: speakers, USB ,1 GB ram, headphones , microphone in.What is it useful for? and who is going to use it?Everyone is able to use it for:1- If you are bored from the usual Alarm sound, you can chose the song or the music that you like to be played on the time you want.2-   During the work, set up the Alarm on the lunch break time and it will play the music that you like to announce the lunch break.3- It could be even romantic. Set the time of the alarm. set with your Boy/Girl friend on the table and pretend like you forgot her/his birthday and the “CD Player Alarm” will play the birthday song followed by other songs of your choice just on time .

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Design of multi-functional device: The Phone Clock Radio

Currently in the market, there are gagets that are multi-function; audio players that plays cds, mp3s and radio. Clocks that have custom alarms settings for buzzer, radio, and cd audio. Phones are cordless with answer machine built-in. Today, many people have 3 or more devices laying around in their rooms (alarm clock, phone, answer machine, caller id and fm/am radio). I’ve decided to design a device that is all in one.

The design of this device is in a shape of a laptop. The screen stands up so when you are sleeping or working at your desk, you are able to see the display without hovering over the device. This device is designed for a person who wants everything without the clutter on their desk.


I was studying the devices i have around the house (ie: answering machine, phone, radio, laptop, clock) and i noticed they were all laying near each other in my room. My room is fairly small and those gagets takes up a lot of space on my desk. Therefore, I grasp their design and tried to condense it into one device; The Phone Clock Radio.


-The phone concept i kept the same. It is portable and cordless. The numbers to dial is on the phone only instead of on the deck. Usually people have their phone laying around the house and is only on deck for charging. That is why i decided to have it on the phone only. If there was a dial on the deck as well, the deck will be cluttered with buttons, especially when there are presets for the radio involved.

-The answer machine (that i own) have many buttons on it that i never use. I kept the ones were used frequently on the deck and the menu for setting up the answering machine (such as greetings) will be automated buy using the dial.

-As for the radio, I love that the snooze button is on the bottom edge and is much larger and a little evelated compared to the other buttons. When my alarm goes off, I am usually still half alseep and just feel for the snooze button and press it. Since it is over sized and elevated, it is easier for the user to press snooze.

-The speakers on my phone, answer machine and clock radio is positioned very awkwardly. It is a big area just dedicated to the speakers. My laptop is different. The speakers are very discreet and is located along the center fold of the screen and keyboard.

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Nature’s Alarms (Help the Environment AND wake up in the morning)



1. Urban Couples (lack of space for nightstands)
2. Mature Women (usually light sleepers)
3. High Strung & Light Sleepers (usually women)
4. Older Men (at risk for heart attacks)
5. Sound Sleepers (often men)


Two Alarms: Set two different alarms with Nature’s Alarms. Effective for apartment dwellers who only have room for one nightstand, or for a single user who may like to take naps, but not for too long!

Research: Nature’s Alarms clock is the result of many years of difficult and obnoxious alarm clocks in the lives of our researchers and their family members, particularly older women. The next phase will include asking shoppers at random in malls and on streets to fill out questionnaires.


Affordances: Many older people sleep very lightly and do not need a shrieking alarm clock to wake them up. Indeed, it’s best to avoid the attendant risk of heart-attack! The Nature’s Alarms volume does allow for a loud alarm if the consumer prefers.

Constraints: Older people (and people of all ages with poor eyesight) need larger buttons and especially larger labels for the buttons.

Conceptual Model: Our model may have more buttons than are necessary for a younger user, but it is important to have a button for each function, to eliminate confusion. Once an older person becomes befuddled by an electronic device, they are likely to stop trying to use it.

Immediate ease of use and simplicity of labeling was of paramount importance.
Therefore we eliminated some of the more ephemeral features from the regular model: white noise, weather radio, snooze and buzzer. Some of these may be added back in, if further research deems them desirable to a large percentage of our target audience.

Mapping: The Gentle Wake-Up Model has a traditional button on top of the unit. Older people were raised with alarm clocks that needed to be set every night so this is actually more comfortable for them.

Feedback: The LCD display shows the current day, time, whether it is currently AM or PM. It also lists which sounds are set for waking up, and the time it is set to ring.

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Design and the Elastic Mind

This exhibit is AMAZING. It’s like a mix between art & science.

tree.jpg This tree senses where people are in the room and the current of color gyrates as a result. It’s also solar driven.

monsters.jpg My absolute favorite: software senses your movements and your shadow gets decorated by dragon spikes, a spider in your hair, a shark’s fin and more. It also growls occasionally.

plants.jpg Terrarriums to improve indoor air (which is polluted from things like carpets off-gasing formaldehyde.)

sneakers.jpg So cool: sneakers gather energy from each step you take, store it in batteries, and you can power a lamp from the energy.

table.jpgliquid.jpg There was a video of someone waving a wand in the air—video sensors record their movements, and somehow it gets turned into an item such as this table. The 2nd photo shows an item coming out of the liquid bath where it was made.

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