Before the separation of BA and BSc students, I felt Constellation was a way to open one’s mind to see the wider world and the people living in it. The first Topic I explored was ‘Creativity and Cognitive Development’. The main point that I took from this class was that each individual will never understand the opinion of another individual. This was proven using Toy design, instead of letting adults design them, they allowed children directly. The result was much different to what the adults would have produced, providing evidence for the previous statement.
The following Topic was ‘The Body in Society’. The main things explored was identity and gender. I had never thought of gender such an in-depth way before this Topic. The main argument was that we only see masculine/feminine aesthetic and products as masculine/feminine, due to society conditioning us to believe so. And then later discussed whether these gender boundaries were that have been implemented into society are restricting peoples creativity, happiness. One main debate during this class was whether it is deemed appropriate to allow your child to dress and/or play with toys designed for the opposite sex if they wish to do so. In an attempt to avoid gender restriction some parents decide to bring their children up ‘Gender-neutral’. This is when the children are only allowed to play with toys deemed appropriate for both males and females. Although some believe that not allowing them to do something is restricting in itself.
When we reached second year BA and BSc were separated. Being a BSc student, I finished the first-year constellation and started Mechanical Engineering and Electronics. Although I found Electronics rewarding, I found it very challenging (by far the most challenging part of my degree). In hindsight, I wish I had returned home after every session and revised all work taught in that class. I feel even my skills are not as good as they could be, and would definitely advise future students who lack a background in electronics to read through the lectures beforehand, pay full attention during, and after each lecture re-do what you have been taught to ensure you fully understand.
Mechanical Engineering was one of the favorite parts of my Product Design Experience, I wish we were taught more of this in the first year. It seemed that that first year for us was designed completely BA based, and included no aspect of BSc, this applies to subject, constellation, and field. Many people in my year struggled to decide whether they were more appropriate for the BA or BSc course, as there was no way of predicting that Bsc entailed. I believe that there should be an incorporation of constellation, electronics, and engineering in the first year to provide a wider understanding of each course. But also, regardless of being BA or BSc, having knowledge of electronics and engineering is essential in regards to creating good design and producing high quality working prototypes. I also think that maybe an exam could be beneficial, this could potentially encourage students to revise the information taught in these classes which would be highly beneficial to us as future designers.
I started off my third-year Technical Report thinking I would be writing about ‘Information, Communication, Technologies’. Over the summer holidays, I realised this topic was much too broad, therefore, I had to narrow down my Topic of choice. It took longer than I would have liked to finalise my decision but I decided to write about ‘Telemedicine’. I thoroughly enjoyed writing about this, although still found the topic too broad, so wanted to discuss Telemedicine in relation to something more specific. I considered on writing about Telmedicine in relation to people who live in rural/secluded areas but instead decided to write my technical report on ‘Telemedicine in relation to seniors living in the UK’.
I discovered that Telemedicine is already of great benefit to elderly people in relation to Telemonitoring so that elderly people can live independently in a safe, non-intrusive way. And it is also being used to help elderly residents emotionally living in nursing homes and suffer from mental diseases such as dementia. Although there was a gap in the market in relation to elderly people and real-time telemedicine. This gap was mainly due to the digital divide in society and the expense of smart devices being too high for many elderly people living in the UK. For the Stage two (the design stage) of my Technical report, I focussed on this gap in the market and applied the design process to produce an appropriate design solution. Due to time constraints, the finalised product idea is not as finished as I would have hoped, although I believe the concept has great potential to help the elderly people in the UK gain easier access to healthcare at a small expense. If I did have more time, I would develop high facsimile models to test the product.
Overall, Constellation/Mechanical Engineering as a whole was an essential part of my journey in becoming a more rounded designer over the past three years. I have gained more practical design skills from subject and field, but constellation has made me aware of the importance of questioning your design thinking. I now always ask myself, ‘why’? Constellation highlighted the importance of understanding that the people I am designing for may not want a product to be the way that I may have assumed that they would have wanted (never make assumptions). Also, I have been more aware that I should consider the social stigma that surrounds certain design aesthetics, for example, do you design a product based around gender constraints, gender neutrality, or attempt to ignore the social boundaries and begin to implement the idea that people can like what they like, regardless of social stigmas applied to certain aesthetics or function.