Learning FEA and CFD

I’ve been learning some of the fundamentals to FEA (Finite Element Analysis) and CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) within SolidWorks. I’ve been trying it out on a few designs that really illustrate what these tools can be used for.

Check it out! Continue reading Learning FEA and CFD

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My thoughts on Apple Watch

Flawed. But still quite nice.

Apple’s grand vision for the Apple Watch, the reason why they think you need one is because they want to save you from the distraction that is your phone. The watch also makes your life easier by putting notifications on your wrist, allowing for you to interact with them or dismiss them, meaning you don’t have to pull your phone out of your pocket, saving you time.

It’s a great idea, if it worked.

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Firstly addressing the goal of saving you from the distraction of your phone; real life testing by multiple review sites like The Verge and Wired showed that having notifications on your wrist proved even more distracting. At least with your phone, it stays in your pocket, relatively easy to ignore if you wanted to, but the watch, it’s on your wrist – there’s no ignoring a vibration from the Taptic Engine, or the notification tone, and its even easier to sneak a glance to check the notification out.

Secondly, it should make your life easier. So, that means it has to be quicker then the iPhone at performing some tasks, right? In theory yes, and with Apple’s own apps, that rings true. It does appear to be easy to ping off a quick reply to a text, listen to music, view navigation, but with third party apps it gets trickier. Apple hasn’t yet released the full Apple Watch SDK, meaning that apps running on the watch aren’t native; they are running on your iPhone and being sent over a wireless connection to the watch. This results in plenty of waiting to open apps and even view glances as you wait to retrieve data from the phone – so much so that it would be quicker to perform that task on your phone. Current apps are also limited to the kinds of interactions that they can use; tapping or ForceTouching the screen, or using the physical controls on the device. Swiping and animations within apps are not yet supported – both of which contribute significantly to the user experience.

So to reaching the same conclusion that many other reviews of the Apple Watch have, this is definitely a first generation product. Once Apple release the Watch SDK later this year so that third party apps can run natively; maybe the device will be more convenient and third party apps will have more appeal in use. Hopefully in the second generation product, Apple will find a way to make notifications less intrusive, although currently you can turn notifications off for specific apps, this isn’t really the solution we’re looking for here, the watch needs to know what’s important for you to see.

Forgetting about these issues for a moment, the Apple Watch does look to be a truly exquisite device. It can offer conveniences such as a quick glance at notifications, neat customisation of the watch face to create something beautiful, and is a very good health tracker – if you’re into that kind of thing.

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It’s the level of thought that Apple has put into some of the implementation of the watch that gives me hope for its future with the way the display switches on if you rotate your wrist towards you, the different vibrate pattern depending on the notification – which actually feels like a tap, and the gorgeous graphics and attention to detail that makes it feel like a premium product. This is something no other smartwatch has done as successfully yet. So at worst, the Apple Watch is the best smartwatch on the market, at best, it can be a little demanding for attention and slow. I’m looking forward to seeing what Apple brings to the table in 2016.

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Visual Perception of Cubes

A short task for one of my degree modules was to consider the visual perception of products and designs. This was realised through a brief to design two cubes, one that portrayed qualities that made it seem light and natural, and another that was dependable and reliable.

How can the visual perception of a cube be altered?

Light and Natural

Texture and colour of the material used can alter the perception of a design.

Leading idea: use of natural patterns and colours to perceive the object as an organic body.

Leaf

The use of leaves would form a cube that is semi-translucent, embodying a design that is light, open, and airy. The veins within the leaf is a reminder of its natural origin.

Weave

A pattern such as weave attributes natural characteristics to a cube, brining the impression that although processed by man, organic material resides in its origin.

The use of lightly coloured material as shown on the left portion of the weave gives a lightweight look, whereas a darker shade of the material suggests density and heaviness. 

Light_Natural_Cube-a.JPG

Dependable and Reliable

Industrial, man-made aesthetics are what will be key to altering the perception of this kind of cube. Nature is often viewed as delicate, a dependable and reliable cube needs to be the opposite of that.

Dependable1

The first attempt at this cube was somewhat unsuccessful, since although the addition of hinges made the cube appear more durable and better built, there was no connection to the user as to what this cube tried to convey. The initial reaction was ‘why does this cube have hinges on it?’

why does this cube have hinges on it?

From this, I learnt that design values need to be conveyed in a way that is subtle, and not literal.

Leading idea: materials and colours that connote strength and exude qualities that the cube is -man-made.

Construction

Construction turned to become inspiration for the cube, specifically concrete’s prominence in the structure of buildings required to last for decades, suggesting that it as a material is reliable and durable.

In addition to this, concrete is often used in combination with steel as a supporting structure. A cube that carries the connotation of construction, the core of a building, should be successful in conveying dependable and reliable values.

Dependable_Reliable_Cube

Starting up

Welcome to the blog!

I’m setting this up as a place to share my views and thoughts on a variety of topics. Some (most) may be techy, others professional and some may even get a bit personal, who knows. I’m sure the content will evolve with time and hopefully will be something you enjoy to read.

I don’t even mind if no one sees this, or any subsequent posts, I just want a place to write down my thoughts.