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Augmented reality as a communication tool for designing new products and packs

  • Spark puts consumers in the designer seat...
  • The University of Bath has developed interesting performance...
  • Postscript from the Spark project leader...

Spark puts consumers in the designer seat

In the previous century design engineers were somewhat selfish in their creative process. They were focused on the functionality and the performance of the objects they designed and the end user just had to adapt to what they had created. Moving into the marketing era and gradually entering the 21st century, consumers were given a voice in the creative industry and designers started to listen.

Objects were presented to consumers for revision and designers optimized the objects in function of the feedback they received. But nowadays, merely expressing desires is not sufficient anymore for consumers. In the current era of partnering and long term relationship building, consumers want to be part of the design process and create themselves.

That is why the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme decided to fund Spark, a consortium of world class engineers and designers that are figuring out how technologies such as augmented reality can be leveraged in co-designing processes and have consumers co-operate with designers to create objects that better correspond to consumer behaviours and needs.

This video demonstrates some of the functionalities that will be implemented in the software module of the SPARK platform. The graphic layout is created in real time on the packaging surface by using augmented reality technologies. The attributes of each graphical element (images, text and graphics) can be modified independently and directly on the packaging surface.
Curious for more

The University of Bath has developed interesting performance metrics suitable for technology enabled brainstorms and co-design sessions

Whereas existing academic literature has described a large number of metrics for the effectiveness of idea generation, there was hardly any literature covering other activities such as idea filtering or co-designing. Co-design sessions become more and more important but they are challenging for designers, as collaborating with people not trained in design is a new activity.

The mechanical engineering department of the University of Bath has partnered with Politecnico di Milano to analyze and describe a novel set of quantitative metrics that can be used to evaluate the performance and effectiveness of co-design session. Future work will see these metrics applied to real-life case studies as part of the SPARK project.

Postscript from the Spark project leader

I recently had the chance to visit the “Invention Studio” at Georgia Tech ( where students collaborate developing and prototyping their concepts in a vibrant environment. Spark should aim at becoming the next generation of collaborative environment, as vibrant and dynamic as the Invention Studio, but allowing a faster evaluation of design concepts and open also to remote collaboration.

Gaetano Cascini,
Ph. D. in Machine Design and Full Professor at Politecnico di Milano, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement

No 688417.H2020_ICT_2015_SPARK_688417
© 2017. «SPARK Project».
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