Mark Jones - Academic Leader in External Development for the School of Design
Access Wall Box
Electronics enclosure for computer networking, Cooper B Line Ltd, product launch January 2005
Design Consultancy (from concept to manufacture)
To produce a more cost-effective computer networking wall box that retains the strength of traditional steel enclosures as well as offering the benefits of plastics compression moulding. The 'Access Wall Box' is a new design concept for the electronics and network/communications industry. This 19" rack enclosure utilises new manufacturing technology in the form of plastics compression moulding in place of the more traditional method of sheet metal forming. The 'Access Wall Box' is not only more cost-effective, it also offers the benefits of plastics compression moulding, such as the addition of design features and styling details, which include in-mould printed rulers for front to rear adjustment of the 19" rack and integrated hinge details. This clever construction is fully modular and unlike many of its competitors, has the advantaged that it can be shipped in flat-pack format. Working closely with one of the UK's leading manufacturers for compression moulding, we were able to produce a cost effective wall box that retains the strength of other steel enclosures. Cooper B Line Ltd produces the 'Access Wall Box' and the product was launched in January 2005. It is sold worldwide. http://www.cooperbline.co.uk/
‘The Selection of Materials to Match Human Sensory and Aesthetic Expectation’
2nd International Design and Engagability Conference (IDEC) Institute of Art and Design, Birmingham 2005
Edited by John Knight and Jennifer Sheridan
ISBN: 1 904839 01 0
Experiments were carried out to discover how people describe their sensory perception of specific materials (with particular focus on texture). We were interested in ascertaining how various subjective responses correlate and to what extent subjective responses are influenced by physical (objective) material parameters. In this paper, a particular example is given in the case of 'blindfold touch' on thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) samples. Research was carried out through controlled experiment. It was found that a large correlation exists between subjective hardness and subjective stickiness, subjective moisture and subjective grip. We found that perception of soft TPE strongly corresponds to the characteristics 'sticky', 'moist' and 'resistant'. Correlation was also revealed between perceived hardness and specific emotional responses, though the correlation is more complex. Simply increasing the 'softness' of TPE for a particular object may not be the best option, because increasing the 'softness' also increases the perceived 'moisture' and 'stickiness'. A moist TPE and a sticky TPE are found to have negative influence on the perception of 'beauty' and 'comfort' respectively. A TPE that has a moderate degree of 'softness' will provide an optimum perception in terms of good grip and emotional feelings of comfort, beauty etc. Furthermore, under blindfold touch conditions, the overall preference of TPE is mainly made based on comfort and safety. The significance of this work is that its findings will be used in Zuo and Jones' online database 'Matrix of Material Representation' (see Zuo's submission) which seeks to provide previously unavailable guidelines for designers regarding material/texture selection to match human aesthetic and perceptual expectations.
Medical device for Rexcom Ltd, patented design 2004
PillPress is a medical device that assists in the removal of pills and tablets from their packaging. The device is designed for use by the visually impaired, the blind, people suffering from arthritis, Parkinsons Disease or individuals with other forms of muscular weakness. The research remit was to design a device capable of being used by individuals with the disabilities listed above. Empirical research led to a user-friendly solution to the problem in the form of an enclosed circular 'well' with a safety-cutting edge around its perimeter. The pack of pills is placed over the well, with the foil side facing downwards. The user can then press down on top of the pill with either a thumb or finger, pushing the pill through the foil and into the well. The effort required to do this is lessened by the edge around the perimeter of the well. The well captures the pill, enabling it to be tipped out into the palm of the hand, ready for consumption. Other features that were added to the design according to the findings of further empirical ergonomic user-research: 1. A platform to steady the product during operation. 2. An open front section to aid the location of the pill over the well. 3. An anti-slip silicon pad on the underside. The features built into the device are all necessary to enable it to be operated easily and effectively. It was only possible to find such solutions by integrating ergonomic research into the product development process. PillPress has been clinically trialled in conjunction with the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) and is endorsed by RNIB. The product was launched in Feb 2005.
‘An Investigation into the Sensory Properties of Materials’
The Second International Conference on Affective Human Factors Design, Singapore 2001
Asean Academic Press, London (This paper won the Best Paper Prize)
Co-authored with Tony Hope, Paul Castle and Hengfeng Zuo. ISBN: 1-901919-28-5
This paper reports on original research conducted towards the construction of a matrix of material representation for studying human perception and response to different materials. On the basis of experimental evidence (e.g. comparisons between blindfold touch and non-blindfold touch) a conceptual model was formulated concerning the relationship between the texture of specific materials and subjective human responses. Analysis of the preliminary results from a series of psychological tests has enabled four character dimensions of texture description to be proposed: geometrical dimension; physical-chemical dimension; emotional dimension; and associative dimension. Lexicons within these dimensions were found to be slightly different with respect to the measurements of response sensitivity under different conditions (material surface finish, sensory conditions, subject groups etc.). This paper won the Prize for the Best Conference Paper. The significance of this paper lies in its relevance to Zuo and Jones' online database 'Material Representation Matrix' (see Zuo's submission), which seeks to provide previously unavailable guidelines for designers regarding material/texture selection to match humans' aesthetic and perceptual expectations.