The Design and Technology Lab is a joint venture between the Industrial Design Programme at Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) and the Product Development Group of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETHZ). The Lab is a cross-university education and research platform dedicated to interdisciplinary innovation projects.

Milking stool of the future

Cangoonee

Milking stool of the future

The Design and Technology Lab is a joint venture between the Industrial Design Programme at Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) and the Product Development Group of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETHZ). The Lab is a cross-university education and research platform dedicated to interdisciplinary innovation projects.

Musculoskeletal disorders are the main cause of disability in the manufacturing industry. The complaints, which increase with age, are often caused by incorrect working postures or overstraining of the musculoskeletal system.

As a preventive measure, exoskeletons are currently being tested in assembly. These serve as external support structures for workers and relieve the musculoskeletal system. The company Noonee is active in this area in product development and was the initiator of Cangoonee.

The aim of the design study is to present a new product vision that enables active sitting and ensures maximum freedom of movement.

Interview with Stefan Villiger:

What was your idea of design before the "Cangoonee" project?

To me, design was synonymous with aesthetics, with the appearance of things, their form and surface. In the project I learned that design is about much more than that, about the needs of the user, for example, and about a holistic view of a problem.

In your opinion, how does design differ from engineering sciences?

Designers think more visionary. They always aim for an ideal solution, an optimum. As an engineer I think more pragmatically. I go step by step and see what can be done. David, my sparring partner in the project, has always challenged me. This exchange of different views and approaches creates added value. This is intensive, but in the end it is effective.

What do you see as the biggest difference between ETH and ZHdK?

In my course of studies we were about 500 students at the beginning; 300 are graduating together with me. ETH is huge and therefore anonymous. Everybody does his thing and there is only an exchange if you join a study group. It's completely different in the studios at the ZHdK. Everyone is available to answer questions; we help each other. In addition, studying at the ZHdK is always project-oriented. The education at the ETH is more theoretical, less tangible. Costs are also often the most important thing for us: Can a solution be financed? Or would a standard solution not be cheaper? In this respect, the ZHdK is more impartial.

What do you recommend to colleagues who are tackling an interdisciplinary project?

Do it! Go for it! It is worth it! You can do something from scratch, from the first idea to the final presentation. You get to know the whole process of product development and you learn what it means to stand up for something, to sell it and defend it. I would also recommend to document everything well, to record every intermediate step and to write down every calculation exactly. That quickly gets lost in the heat of the moment.


Interview with David Flagmeier:

You work in tandem with a prospective ETH engineer. What did you not expect?

That it would go so well! In an interdisciplinary cooperation with different stakeholders, there is certainly potential for conflict or there could have been problems with the timing. But so far we are well on schedule and Stefan and I get along very well.

How did you come up with your solution?

I already dealt intensively with the topic of portable robotics in the theoretical part of my BA thesis and worked out a good starting position. Together we fiddled around, sketched, built prototypes, discussed, scribbled, and repeatedly asked for feedback. What came out in the end surprised us both.

What are the biggest challenges?

The timetable is ambitious. I'm working on a design prototype on a scale of 1:1 while my colleague clarifies the technical issues. The design work consists of a balancing act - or rather a balancing act - between vision and feasibility. But it's great fun. I like the mixture of inventing and designing, and besides, industrial design is the only profession where you can play with Lego technology.

What will you remember? 

The kickoff phase. We spent a few days in Amsterdam, attended the conference "Exoskeletons and Soft Wearable Robotics", went to the "Rapid Pro" fair, munched Israeli humus and attended a jazz concert. The trip laid the foundation for a great cooperation.

Gestaltung:

Studios Zürich, Basel

 

Umsetzung:

Neusicht

 

Copyright:

©DTL, 2016

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