Final year project
Buggie Box [Read more]
In the past, pet food trends tended to follow human food trends. However, despite the rise in vegetarianism and veganism over the past decade, there is still a lack of meat-free options in the pet food industry. This is because plant-based alternatives do not provide the essential amino acids to create a nutritionally balanced diet.
As 30% of meat production is used to create pet food, Buggie Box attempts to give pet owners the option to replace meat by growing black soldier fly (BSF) to be integrated into home-cooked or vegetarian pet food. BSF require significantly fewer resources in comparison to conventional livestock, whilst also being 42% protein and offering all 9 essential amino acids.
Scenario of Use
A fascinating aspect of BSF is that they self migrate away from the food source when turning from larvae to pupae. This allows users to collect the insects without manually picking them out themselves. When enough BSF have been collected inside the harvest tray, the user can then place the tray directly into the freezer (to deactivate the insects) and then to the oven for cooking. Thus, preventing the user from directly interacting with the insects prior to feeding them to their pets.
Harvest Tray Design
During the design research stage I tried to build empathy with the user by generating a persona using insights taken from interviews and surveys. This was integrated into a user journey map to identify key pain points which can arise whilst the user is trying to complete their task of feeding their pet. A major pain point was the feeling of disgust, anxiety and guilt when interacting with insects during the cooking process. Therefore, this harvest tray was designed to aid this process without over-engineering the overall product itself. It is completely opaque to obstruct the visibility of the living insects collected inside and features pivoting handles which will securely lock the lid in place to communicate there is no risk of escape.
The UI is designed to provide clear and concise communication on maintenance and setup requirements to ensure the user can confidently interact with the product. This was developed through conducting online user testing and AB tests.
Sketching was used throughout the design process to ideate and explore opportunities in aesthetics and product semantics. These are a few of the sketches I have produced over the course of this project.
Testing with Insects
Black soldier flies were reared in the bedroom to allow for a fail-fast design process despite the ongoing challenges faced by COVID restrictions.
Arduino prototypes were built to assess various functional elements of the design. For example, the blue and green LEDs were used as breeding lights to induce mating between BSF. Electronics and 3D printed prototypes were integrated into the rearing containers to produce a functional prototype.
To overcome restrictions for face to face interviews, users were sent an AR model of the product to evaluate the appropriateness of size and visual integration with their own kitchens. This was used in conjunction with high fidelity renders and UI visuals to assess and develop product semantics and overall aesthetics. However, one of the disadvantages of using AR is the lack of feedback on ergonomics and tactility. Therefore, 3D prints and cardboard prototypes were used to assess this.
I enjoy tackling challenges through a user-centric design approach to harness ideas and manifest them into impactful solutions.
Over the course of my time at the university and my placement, I have had the opportunity to expand my knowledge of a broad range of design methods. In turn, I feel that this has allowed me to develop as a well-rounded designer with a multifaceted skill set. I am deeply interested in building empathy with users and understanding the nuances around their interactions with the world through design research. I enjoy using these insights to deliver unique and enjoyable experiences through design.
I am now excited to immerse myself in the design industry and improve further as a designer. My ideal next step would be a graduate role focused on product development.
Final year project
'21 Diploma in Professional Studies
'20 Runner-up for Best Prototype - UXathon (Deloitte Digital)
'20 Best in Academic/Careers Section - Loughborough Design Society
'20 Best New Society - Loughborough Design Society
Product Design Intern at Shark Ninja - 12 months
I had the opportunity to join the Ninja Heated team of designers and engineers located in London and contributed to the development of a variety of domestic cooking appliances. Shark Ninja is a global technology business with offices located in the UK, US and China. The differences in time zone enabled an efficient 24-hour design process, making the work environment very fast-paced. This was great as it allowed me to experience all the different stages of the design process, from front end ideation to designing for manufacture.
I also enjoyed creating digital sketches of my concepts and have used them to visually communicate ideas to the wider team of not only engineers but other stakeholders in product development such as marketing, culinary etc, who were based globally. This was helpful in gaining valuable insight/feedback and bouncing around a range of ideas, especially during the lockdown as communicating ideas concisely and effectively became critical in achieving productive meetings.
Technical Intern at Fujiseal International.
Expanded my understanding of product testing and evaluation.
Graphic Design Intern at Givaudan.
Developed an understanding of graphic design with the marketing team through the use of Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. I helped to design powerpoints to be shown to clients.