Thought-provoking article. I've found that useability (and mis-use) is the area that also deserves special attention when designing certain types of devices. Identifying the appropriate use cases for products tends to be straight-forward. However, having the creativity to predict all of the mis-use cases that could possibly occur is challenging and takes an extra amount of time and mental imagination to really get it right up-front.
I think the statement, "Ironically, complexity is often added to a system to reduce common-mode failures" is true no matter what level of design you are at - from simple circuits to intricate systems - but at the system level the interactive nature of the subsystems can indeed cause some unexpected issues that are much more predictable in less complex designs. Interesting article with much food for thought...
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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