These are excellent points and provide guidelines that serve as a checklist for engineers and designers.I do think that we are aided today with solid modeling and computational methods that greatly shorten the design process, if used.One of the most fascinating technologies now in practice is computational engineering.This science combines engineering, mathematics and solid modeling to provide predictive solutions to designs that would generally require typical "cut and try" techniques.If I were younger (maybe much younger) and had it to do all over again, I definitely would explore all of the options with this technology.Bob Jackson, PE
I think the most salient definition is the one on over design: What overeating does to a person, over-designing does to a product. The brilliance of Steve Jobs, who was not an engineer, is that he stood as a bulwark against overdesign. I suspect Apple's products will now suffer from overdesign as a consequence of his absence from the design process.
Ratsky: I couldn't agree more. Reality -- in the form of cost, longevity, reliability and ease of use -- are my keys to buying a product. In a sense, all of those could be traced back to cost, since unreliable products that wear out early tend to cost more in the long run.
The trick to Apple's success may be a simple as paying attention to the principles on this list. Apple's products pretty much tick off these considerations. Apple really hasn't come out with anything new, but they've done a great job of executing this list of engineering principles.
I don't know if it counts toward looking attractive. But often how tough a device looks has something to do as well. The average consumer will shy away from a design that looks fragile, even if it can do the job. If it looks flimsy it might now sell.
Reality is always at the very top of my list. It includes so many of the other items as representing aspects of the real world of engineering and design. Economics (costs and cost/benefit ratio), legal concerns, constraints of all kinds, recognition of the limits of models and simulations, market considerations, and so forth. Dreaming is a starting point; implementation is where the rubber hits the road, and that will succeed only with an approach recognizing all of these real-world aspects. This is one of the greatest shortcomings of engineering education today: students are not taught about the real world (neglect of so many fundamentals, especially physics and related areas like thermodynamics).
Although sketches are useful, it is perilous to begin a design with sketches before having created a full list of all the technical requirement Specifications. A design cannot be great unless it is Specified, Tested and validated against those Specs. I would classify sketches under I for Imagination or R for Realization.
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
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