P 1 - Project Brainstorm

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Overview

You'll form project teams. You should conduct at least one brainstorming session with your group members. You will report the complete list of ideas that your group generated, and then report the final project idea. On 10/14, you will give a brief in-class presentation of your idea.

Team Formation

  • You will have to form groups of at least 2 and at most 4 students. 3 students is probably the sweet spot. It is advantageous to have a range of expertise represented in your group - try to team up with people who have different skills from your own.
  • Project groups are self-paired: you decide who you'll work with.

Requirements

A reminder of overall class project requirements:

  • Project technology requirements:
    • Must include custom 3D printed case or mechanism for your device
    • Must be interactive: include sensing and/or actuation circuitry
    • Must have some graphical user interface somewhere (doesn't have to be on the device)
    • Must communicate: either with your Phone,PC, tablet or the rest of the Internet - wireless preferred. Having a solution that involves multiple users or multiple devices is more exciting (and harder) than a one-to-one pairing.
  • Project design requirements:
    • Must pick a concrete user group
    • Must solve a real problem or improve their life in some meaningful way (more fun is ok)

This class has plenty of room to come up with a topic that is personally exciting to you.

Try to think out of the box. Focus on the things that people do everyday. That will also give you a good handle on the set of target users. Or you could start with a set of target users and think of a theme that might improve their lives. Talk to some potential users to figure out what might motivate them (there'll be a more formal needfinding assignment later).

Be ambitious, but not too ambitious. You have limited time to work on the project. Some of the most successful devices can be simple. Make sure you’re realistic about what can be done in the remainder of the semester. This is an exercise in prototyping devices that could really be built, not in science fiction. Brainstorm! Give every idea a chance, no matter how strange at first.

Your writeup should follow the outline below. It will be graded using the writing guidelines detailed later in this document. Remember that less is more. Try to say what you need to as succinctly as possible. But don’t skip any important details.

  • Each team member’s name
  • Brainstorm: A list of at least 20 numbered ideas (aim for more) that you came up with during your brainstorming session. Each idea has to be described in one full sentence (don't just list an abstract title like Smart thermometer - better: Food thermometers that can be clipped on to cooking pots that wirelessly transmit temperature readings to a Smartphone, where users can set alarms when target temperatures are reached." You should have been visual during your brainstorm - include photos of sketches (but also describe in text).
  • Idea Selection: The idea your group chose to work on and a short explanation of why the group picked it from amongst all the possibilities in your list. (one short paragraph - Note: this idea may develop and change later; it's your best idea at this time).
  • A Project Description:
    • Target User Group: Your target user group should be sensible (people you have access to) and not trivial (targeting CS/ME students is not a challenge). Describe the user group in enough detail that you can easily separate the group from other types of people. Then include details about their needs and wants. (one paragraph)
    • Problem Description & Context The problem description should be short and specific about the high-level goals of the project. The problem should be described in terms of user activities and situations where the problem occurs, and what aspects of the situation might be improved with a technical solution. Think about location, time, environmental factors etc. Then think about aspects of the user group, their education, available time, motivation, values etc. What related or complementary solutions exist already? (one paragraph)
    • Why is a new interactive device a good solution for the problem? (one paragraph)
    • What are open technical questions you'll need to answer to determine feasibility?

Be sure to include sketches in your description of the project. Diagrams and figures will help you reduce the number of words you need to write and are likely to make your description clearer.

In class, you will give a three-minute presentation of your idea that should cover the points of the Project Description.

Grading Guidelines

Brainstorm and Idea Selection (10 points)

Criterion Great solution
100%
Acceptable solution
50%
Poor solution
0%
Did you list at least 20 ideas?
5pts
Yes, 20+ ideas No, ~10 ideas No, <10 ideas
Were you visual?
2pts
Yes, sketches for >10% of ideas Few sketches No sketches
Did you explore a diverse set of ideas and also build on ideas?
1 pts
Yes, both build and jump Limited build & jump No build & jump
How novel and creative are the ideas?
2 pts
Many new and unusual ideas Some novelty, many already exist Most or all exist, are common

Project Description (10 points)

Your score is based on the quality of the description. In addition we would like you to explain why an interactive device is a good technology for addressing the problem your group has chosen. The best projects will take advantage of the unique affordances of hardware and software.

Criterion Great solution
100%
Acceptable solution
50%
Poor solution
0%
Target Users: Did you define and describe a concrete target user community? (2pts) Yes, concrete and narrow Too broad Missing or ill-defined
Problem Description: Did you clearly describe the problem? (2pts) Yes Some problems with writing or argument No, poorly written or missing
Rationale: Did you make a clear case why the application is uniquely suited to interactive devices? (2pts) Yes Not entirely convincing No, missing or could all be done on a phone
Novelty/Creativity: How novel and creative is your final idea? (4pts) Novel and creative Limited novelty Many devices of this type already exist

In-Class Presentation (5 pts)

Your score is based on how clear and understandable your presentation is. This includes clarity of the visual materials you use to support your story. Don't go over time - 3 minutes are a hard limit.

Submission

Creating a Wiki Page for Your Group

Begin by creating a new wiki page for your group. You will use this page as a general repository containing all the information related to your group assignments and group project. So make sure to follow the instructions given here.

  1. Go to the Project Groups page.
  2. Choose a name for your group and update the link on the Project Groups page.
  3. Suppose you chose to name your group to InventionLabGroup. You would create an entry: [[Group:InventionLabGroup]]
  4. Now clicking on the Group:InventionLabGroup link will lead to a new stub page for your group which you should edit to include the names of the all people in the group and pointers to their user pages.

I've created the Group:InventionLabGroup page as an example.

Creating Your Group Assignment Page

Edit your group's page to add a link to a new wiki page for this assignment. The wiki syntax should look like this:

[[GroupBrainstorm-Group:ExampleGroup|Group Brainstorm]]

Replace InventionLabGroup with your group's name. Look at Group:InventionLabGroup for an example. Then click on the link and enter the information about your assignment. Be sure to clearly address everything mentioned in the writing guidelines above.

Add a link to your slide deck if you use web-based presentation software or upload a zip file of your PowerPoint/Keynote file instead.

Add Link to Your Finished Assignment

One you are finished editing the page, add a link to it here with your group name as the title link. The wiki syntax will look like this: *[[GroupBrainstorm-Group:InventionLabGroup|Invention Lab Group]]. Hit the edit button for this section to see how I created the link for the Example Group.