Design firm Bresslergroup hosted PhillyCHI's 5th annual Design Slam Friday evening, partnering for the first time with the Industrial Design Society of America (IDSA). PhillyCHI's Design Slam is an annual event that allows designers to work collaboratively in teams to tackle real-world issues and present their solutions at the end of the evening. The facilitator for this year's design challenge was Bresslergroup's Director of Research, Rob Tannen, who was particularly interested in bringing together interface and industrial designers to see not what they ended up with, but how they got there, since these groups of designers rarely get to work together at the same time.
The designers were asked to propose interface concepts for a high-tech flying helicopter toy with an integrated video camera. Existing helicopter toys, including the Airhog Hawk Eye and the AR Drone, use a hand controller not much different than a video game controller. For this challenge, the designers were asked to not only improve on the physical design of the controller but allow for multiple types of user interaction, including: a touch screen control interface, gestural commands and voice-control commands. These multidisciplinary groups had one hour to complete the challenge, and ten minutes to present their final concepts. An intriguingly quiet hour of collaboration ended with full-energy presentations, which included demonstrations and sales pitches for the judges. Team "Kick Ass Solutions" was crowned winner not only for being an excellent example of collaboration, but for incorporating user testing, and creating both a logo and a full-scale paper mock-up of the physical controller in just one hour.
Ilyssa Shapiro is a senior industrial design student at the University of the Arts and design intern for the Mayor's Office of Sustainability in Philadelphia.