For my final year major design project at the Loughborough Design School, I designed, developed, prototyped and tested my own product. It was called SecO, an intuitive and eco-friendly indoor clothes dryer.
The School allowed students to self-propose a brief and create whatever product they felt they could create within the last year of the Product Design / Industrial Design Course.
I personally felt it was important to try to create something that looked to solve a genuine issue I believed there was and still is within domestic households, especially smaller ones.
The full year long project allowed us to get a professional level experience in to the design industry and the steps and process in which to take a design idea into a fully realised and validated product.
Assemble SecO by lifting the oval hanger ring out from the base.
Place the telescopic aluminium tubing within the base unit
Replace the oval hanger ring and adjust to the desired angle of twist.
Once in the desired position, tighten in place and hang your clothes.
User Insights & Project Brief
Drying clothes is a necessity and existing clothes airers are ineffective at drying quickly and look untidy.
Clothes are draped over banisters, shower rails and radiators causing the house to look cluttered.
Damp clothes cause humid smells and mould growth around the home.
Tumble dryers are noisy, expensive, space consuming and can damage clothes.
Current drying solutions are ugly and unimaginative.
Tumble dryers are environmentally unfriendly and emit carbon dioxide.
To bridge the gap between inexpensive and ineffective clothes airers and the expensive, energy intensive, environmentally unfriendly, yet fairly effective, tumble dryer. To utilise technology to drive forward an efficient, intuitive, collapsible, beautiful and functional indoor clothes dryer at a competitive price. A marriage of form and function.
As my concept, like many other products, rely on human interaction and ergonomics, I felt it was important to test initial sizing and form early in the project to ensure this was considered at all time.
The images show some very early level simple blue foam models to test and gain feedback on size, shape and how comfortable it would be to move and assemble my concept.
Throughout all the development of the concept, there was always peer group discussion and feedback to help make improvements for a better final design.
Aesthetic model making photos
User testing with form prototype
Towards the later stages of the project, I was able to further test and validate my design with an aesthetic model I was creating to present the look and feel on my product.
This aesthetic model was created using a variety of techniques including: CNC machining, milling, turning, tube bending, metal fabrication, ceramic moulding and many finishing methods.
This user testing was particularly important because my product involves interaction very low down to the floor as well as assembly at a height, which needed to have a very high degree of satisfaction with users tested.
The aesthetic model I created for my product was to communicate purely physical size, proportion and desired finishes of the final design. The only functional elements were that it could be disassembled down and the upper ring element would be able to slot in to the base unit to create a compact solution to store away under the bed etc.
The functional model, whilst having a very basic form allowed me to test and prove the theory of using far infrared radiation and dehumidifying air movement in combination to quickly and efficiently dry clothes within a compact space. I proved I was able to dry an average wash load of 6kg of clothes in approximately 4 hours at an average cost of 5p. In my opinion this created the best compromise of time taken vs energy/cost used, whilst ensuring no damage to the clothes and a compact, transportable solution for homes with limited space for drying clothes.