As well as prototyping the fascia of the product it’s also been very important to prototype the body itself;
It was pretty important to keep the fascia of the product a perfect circle because of the design language that it evokes throughout the product, this meant that at the angle that it faces the user – The body has to have an oval plan shape, rather than for example cutting a circular pipe at an angle. This means that a custom mould had to be built to shape the body around.
This consisted of two main stages:
1. The creation of the mould for the shape.
2. The creation of the flat pattern for the “skin” of the outside of the body.
The mould to create the shape was a relatively simple process – all that it needed was the basic plan shape (from above) of the body cut in around 5mm MDF and layered up to (or above) the total height of the shape. I done this by lasering several of these patterns, cutting a length of square wood and then glueing and clamping them all together like so
Once the mould had been clamped over the weekend and had dried into a solid object it was ready to be used to prototype the flat patterns of the shape around the outside. This was more or less just an example of iterative trial and error using a ruler, a scalpel, some cardboard and the patience of a saint.
All in it took about 5 iterations before I had got to a shape that I was happy with and fit the fascia properly.
So once this was complete – I could make the full Mark 2 prototype with the help of a little glue.
And with a little wiring and coding magic – this pretty basic looking prototype could take a little life
At this point the coding was extremely basic and just illustrated the “demo” functions of social; yet again it was enough to illustrate a few pretty obvious design issues. After all – isn’t that the very point of physical prototyping.