We dont do retro is the personal blog of Matt Sinclair, a designer based in Helsinki. I first met Matt on the MCPC 2007 conference and then again last week on a workshop in Helsinki, and he does REALLY interesting work on user co-design.
His blog mainly concerned with mass customization and rapid manufacturing, which are the areas he researching for his PhD at Loughborough University in the UK. But you’ll also find information about other subjects that interest him - lead user innovation, open source design and industrial design in general (Matt also wrote one of the most extensive MCPC 2007 reviews)!
His Ph.D. is titled "An investigation of the feasibility of product architectures to facilitate consumer-created designs in the consumer electronics industry, using rapid manufacturing technologies as an enabler"
While he expects not to be ready before Summer 2010, his early thoughts already are quite interesting:
"Rapid Manufacturing (RM) is defined as the direct production of finished parts or products, most often utilising one of a number of 3D printing technologies. ... The most important difference between rapid manufacturing technologies and traditional mass manufacturing technologies such as injection moulding is the absence of tooling. This has a number of important implications. One of the common features of mass manufacturing processes is that the means of production require substantial initial investment, however once in place the cost of manufacturing a single part or product (relative to the initial investment) is negligible. It is therefore a basic principle of mass manufacturing that as the number of parts produced increases, the cost of production of each individual part decreases. This inevitably leads to uniformity, since even small design changes require significant reinvestment in tooling.
Mass customisation offers the possibility of designing for niche markets, in small production runs, but it will be impossible for a designer, or even a design team, to be an expert in all these niches. Designers will therefore need to accept the necessity of inviting consumers to take part in the design process, even to design their own products. Furthermore, rapid manufacturing reduces the level of technological expertise required to design functioning parts. It is therefore likely that consumers will begin to design and produce their own products whether officially sanctioned by a brand or not.
The purpose of the traditional design process is not just to impose a uniform aesthetic however, it also refines and rejects on the basis of ergonomics, durability, integration with other products and systems, cost etc. These are all areas in which the designer’s expertise is the best tool to resolve the conflicting demands of a product brief. To make sense of the potential for multiple product variants which mass customisation offers, my hypothesis is therefore that the task of the industrial designer will in future be to create modular product architectures which define and limit the parameters of any possible design."
Go to Matt's blog here: We dont do retro