As we are approaching 2017 Trig got to thinking about what subjects or trends will become talking points in the design industry next year……..
VR as a design tool
Virtual Reality hardware has been everywhere in 2016 with all the main players in tech and consumer electronics releasing their own take on this fast developing yet essentially quite old technology. In 2017 we expect VR to start being used as a tool for designers to help them understand a particular need or experience of the consumer.
Designers would be able to experience what it is like for a partially sighted person to use a ticket machine at a train station or a feel what it is like for a child to sit in a dentist’s chair. Getting first-hand information on the experiences of the people they are designing for will be a huge insight for designers and can only help to develop better products.
New Tech Old Products
Why is it that smart watches haven’t taking off in the way tablets did 5 years ago? Is one of the reasons because the product is not new, the technology driving it is? Before a tablet existed no one knew what it would look like, but with a smart watch there was an existing reference point of what a watch looked like. Some companies are now producing smart watches that are inspired by more traditional forms and finish such as the Fossil Q watch. Perhaps if the smart watch looked more like something you wanted to wear rather than a prop from a Star Trek movie we would all have one?
Production Parts from 3D Printers
3D printing is old news and if you believe the promo talk they all make parts as good as production components, thing is they don’t. However Arburg, a manufacturer of production moulding machines have now got an additive manufacturing machine that uses real production materials in a production process to make low volume manufactured parts, a game changer? Also HP has its Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing technology that looks much more likely to deliver of on the promise of a proper part in proper material. Could 2017 be the year?
Cloud Based Design Tools
Onshape has been a big talking point in 2016, a professional cloud based subscription 3D CAD package, an industry first. Not having the expense of a single license of particular software and the annual maintenance package to go with it allows start-ups and cost conscious bigger companies the freedom to only pay for 3D CAD when they need it. How could this model develop within the design industry? Perhaps there will be a time where you could use a package like Alias on the cloud for complex surfacing one month, SolidWorks the next month for geometric modelling followed by Keyshot to create promotional visuals. Having the freedom to pick and choose your CAD software based on your particular project needs from month to month and access it all online would be a revolution.