This was a strange I.D. studio project called ‘Measuring’. The brief stated we had to design a product for measuring however it could NOT use conventional units. This project really focused in on critical and lateral thinking skills because we were effectively measuring an unconventional value. Conventional values would be: weight, length, volume etc. Unconventional values could have been something like: success, love, importance, happiness, stress, patience etc. – very emotive, qualitative attributes – very weird. Of course, the product or really the concept had to be realistically capable of measuring your chosen attribute or unit.
Anyway, after a lot of idea generation and sketch pages i choose to measure one’s “Busyness” (it’s a word). My aim was to create a universally applicable device which allows users to measure their busyness and communicate it to others indirectly, in order to prevent unwanted interruptions which create a stop start working pattern. So office workers, students etc. could benefit. I dubbed my product the “Busy Beacon” because in open spaces the user’s busyness was determined based what colour appeared at the apex sphere of the Beacon’s body. You twist the beacon about its pivot to select which colour stay at the apex. The top sphere would actually pulse like a real beacon would. Green would mean = your available for consultation etc. Amber = you’re sought of busyness. Red = don’t bother me. Simple traffic light connotations – you get the idea! For enclosed spaces the Busy Beacon came with a receiver which could be stuck outside an office or room door or wall and would display your busyness which you would select from the main Beacon body inside your enclosure.
Deliverables for this project included a sketch mock-up model (blue foam), presentation boards and a well finished model (above). The beacon’s body was particularly hard to machine due to its tetrahedral form – so getting the angles correct and using an indexing head on the milling machine helped (above). The three spheres were turned down from acrylic and polished to finish. Self-sufficient pulsing lights were inserted into the spheres to simulate the Beacon’s operation.