Rehkemper Invention and Design, which spends most of its time inventing new toys, has broadened its capabilities and designed a product for the health care market. Using SolidWorks CAD (www.solidworks.com) software, the toy firm created a dental-care system that combines a toothbrush, tongue brush, and irrigator. The AquaSonic Oral Care System requires no batteries or electricity because it works on air pressure— similar to Rehkemper's toy plane designs. Engineers used the software to design everything, right down to the bristles. "It was easier to see what we were designing with 3D models than with drawings or continuous mockups," says CEO Steve Rehkemper. He adds that the software cut time production by 50%.
There is currently much discussion around the term "platform," which may be preceded by the adjectives "mobile," "wearable," "medical," "healthcare," etc. However, regardless of the platform being discussed, they usually have one key aspect in common: They tend to be wireless. So, why is this one aspect so fairly universal? The answer is convenience.
Everyone has a MEMS story. For most of us it’s probably the airbag that saved our lives or the life of a loved one. Perhaps it’s the tire pressure sensor that alerted us about deflation before we were stranded alone on a dark muddy road.
Bioimimicry is not merely a helpful design tool -- it also encourages designers to think not only about how to solve design problems by imitating nature, but how to make the products, materials, and systems they design more ecologically sound and nature-friendly.
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