This week we had the opportunity to attend a conceptual product launch: DIP2019 – a DIP into the future! It was a presentation showcasing the concepts and products that ZJU’s Information Product Design students came up with during the duration of their course.

Information Product Design is a professional core course jointly established by the International Design and Research Institute of Zhejiang University and the Department of Industrial Design of the School of Computer Science and Technology. The course was designed to encourage students in the design background to learn basic software and hardware technologies and, from discovering requirements, proposing concepts to implementing their own design ideas.

This year was the fifth iteration of the design showcase with the theme – 原点. It was pretty interesting as we got to listen to the students’ design ideas and view their products. What was even more interesting was that some of our fellow SUTDents also participated in the projects! It was cool seeing them up on stage together with the Chinese students. Personally, I was quite impressed with the presentations as they were all professionally delivered. The slides were informative and aesthetically-pleasing. The videos were well-shot and delivered their ideas aptly.

As for the ideas, some of them were new and unheard of while others rang a bell. Two that caught my eye especially was a sleep-aid product and a product that promotes socialization among people with similar interests at an event. The sleep-aid product was appealing as it combined many aspects of products that one would use to ease into sleeping such as a diffuser, soothing music and lamp emitting warm lights. Instead of having to purchase all of them separately, now it comes in one smart product that does everything automatically through data read from a pressure plate that users place beneath their pillows. Of course, more can be done to make it more attractive to buyers for instance, linking it to an app that allows them to track their quality of sleep. This can open up doors to different types of buyers such as parents who are concerned about their child’s sleep and more.

The other product which aims to promote social interaction at events captivated me because of its concept. Events and networking sessions occur all the time, but how do we ensure quality networking amidst the hustle and bustle of our lives? Additionally, for individuals who find it difficult to take the first step in approaching someone to network with, a difference in interests would certainly make the experience a less pleasant one. Therefore, distributing LED tags pre-loaded with information that participants input earlier in an online platform to each individual, and having the tags light up if the individual is within a close proximity to someone with similar interests, allows them to connect simply. Now less effort and time is required to enjoy a quality network session.

Other ideas presented during the showcase were great too but sadly were not unheard of before or had significant loopholes. For instance, there was a project that aims to solve the problem of buyers receiving packages with defective items and no party such as the seller, delivery driver or company are willing to take responsibility for it. The students designed a product that can be wrapped around the package and is able to sense and record light exposure, temperature and physical movements. One key component that they did not present on was whether the market keen on adapting this idea. It was certainly a good concept but the product was simply too bulky and even required a larger packaging. Money, time and space are considerable factors in which they will have to address eventually should they put their product out in the market.

Overall, it was a good learning experience at the DIP showcase as it led me to understand how the students here are taught to present their ideas and more importantly, the standard which we should also achieve in our final theme project presentation here in ZJU.

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