Class competition puts SDM students through product development paces

Seat SnugglerInterior car bike rackMulti-compartment TSA security bin

Editor’s note: Students in the ESD.40 Product Design and Development class form teams to conceive, design, and prototype products. They are responsible for identifying customer needs, generating and selecting concepts, product architecture, industrial design, concept design, and design-for-manufacturing. This year’s theme was ‘travel’ and the winning teams from the spring semester class produced the three products described below.

Seat Snuggler© travel pillow — 1st place

Team: Allan Donnelly SDM ’12, Clint Lampley SDM Certificate ’11, Sergio Sapaj SDM ’12, Mark Taylor SDM Certificate ’11 and Pat Wineman SDM ’12

Our team chose to design a simple travel pillow that allows car passengers, particularly children, to sleep upright comfortably. After observing, determining requirements, prototyping and testing, we developed a cylindrical pillow that latches to the ISOFIX hooks in car seats. The pillow provides strong lateral support while allowing some flexibility, and its simple form makes it easy to manufacture. We extended the product to include a removable cover with designs that appeal to children.

We sized our target market — families with at least one child who use a car for vacation travel — at 17.2 million. We determined a retail price of $15, identified sales channels and selected options for promoting the pillow, which we dubbed Seat Snuggler©.

Interior car bike rack — 2nd place

Team: Jill Mohr SDM Certificate ’11, John Petersen SDM Certificate ’11 and Kyle Ressler SDM ’13

Seeing someone pull a bicycle from inside a car spurred our team to discover that many people transport bikes inside vehicles, even when they have roof racks. We found that people have good reasons for this behavior: security, protection and cleanliness. We pursued the unmet need for a bike rack that makes it easier to carry a bicycle inside a vehicle.

We used a Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) process and Pugh Concept Selection to develop a bike rack concept that fits inside almost all vehicles and can be configured to haul one bike lying down or as many as three bikes in an upright position. A lecture by Matthew Kressy of Designturn Inc. highlighted the benefits of quick-and-dirty prototyping, i.e. iterate as fast as possible to learn as much as we could. It gave us the capability of creating a design that met the target market’s needs.

Multi-compartment TSA security bin — 3rd place

Team: Jon Hickey SDM ’12, Ben Levitt SDM ’12, Steve Ajemian SDM ’12, Todd Myers SDM ’12 and Mike Meyer SDM ’12

Almost every one of us has had the experience of taking off shoes, pulling out laptops, emptying pockets, managing liquids and in the end, figuring out what is allowed to go together in our security bins at the airport. For our project design, we took a new approach to the TSA airport security bin. We spent copious hours researching the screening process and found the main causes for inefficiencies including: passenger confusion about which items to put in the security bins, proper orientation of items in the bins, and bottlenecks from people rearranging items.

We tested numerous concepts and prototypes and came up with a solution: a multi-compartment bin with conspicuous and instructive labeling. Our prototype decreases inspection time thus increasing passenger throughput at security stations. We tested the prototype for the director of Logan Airport’s TSA division, who connected us with the TSA’s Director of Security Capabilities in Washington.

Seat Snuggler© travel pillow
Team: Allan Donnelly SDM ’12, Clint Lampley SDM Certificate ’11, Sergio Sapaj SDM ’12, Mark Taylor SDM Certificate ’11 and Pat Wineman SDM ’12

Interior car bike rack
Team: Jill Mohr SDM Certificate ’11, John Petersen SDM Certificate ’11 and Kyle Ressler SDM ’13

Multi-compartment TSA security bin
Team: Jon Hickey SDM ’12, Ben Levitt SDM ’12, Steve Ajemian SDM ’12, Todd Myers SDM ’12 and Mike Meyer SDM ’12