I set out to design an interior micro-climate controller for homes, dorm rooms and office spaces.
Micro-climates are defined as a space the size of a room, or personal environment. The Balance MCC will heat or cool the ambient temperature using a thermoelectric device (TED). A TED is a heating and cooling element that uses the Peltier effect to create a heat flux between junction of two different types of materials. This technology is most widely used in the high-end automotive chair industry and small scale fridge/cooler market.
The micro-climate controller will be designed around children ages three years and up. This means that safety and accessibility will have a strong influence on the design. The primary goal is to minimize the products physical footprint and maximize heating/cooling. The micro-climate controller targets personal heating/cooling around the home, office and dorm room. The more portable the product, the better.
As a college student, living conditions can be hit or miss. If you’re lucky you can live in a dorm room that comes with heating and air, but then you also will be paying a pretty penny for your tuition expense.
I was inspired to come up with an alternative climate controller that could product hot and cold air. The product needed to be safer and more efficient, than space heaters and AC units.
Looking beyond just college students I came across this staggering statistic than inspired me to make a difference in how we control micro-climates. In 2009, space heaters were involved in 79 percent of fatal home heating fires. These fires were caused by the technologies listed on the previous spread. This means alternative technologies need to be taken into consideration.
Product Development Process:
1 // Develop problem statement/purpose
2 // Product Research + Development
- Research Fan and Space heater Market
- Research Current technologies being used for given products
- Research and Identify current problems with products
- Sketching ideation
3 // User Profile Research
- Children 3+
- College Students
- Design Savvy Parents
- Business Persons
4 // Photo Ethnographic Research
- Study said users in context, using space heaters/fans
5 // Prototyping + Design Refinement
- Design, Build and test five prototypes
6 // Final Design