Seymourpowell envisages how “modular tech” could change product design

The consultancy has demonstrated how a modular tech marketplace with open source hardware could lead to “infinite” possibilities for creating bespoke products.

Print

Seymourpowell has developed a series of concepts, which demonstrate how open source hardware might be used to create products addressing the needs of individuals.

Using Google’s Project Ara open hardware platform, Seymourpowell has created four “modular tech” concepts. The aim is to demonstrate how a number of products could be brought to market both cheaper and quicker, and be more tailored for the individual user.

The four concepts, called Move, Wear, Link and Play, have been designed to show the advantages that an open hardware platform could have for individuals and businesses in a wide range of industries, from music to agriculture.

“Diverse module marketplace”

Seymourpowell creative director Matthew Cockerill says: “The concepts combine a set of standard modules with more specialist modules, sourced from a diverse module marketplace with contributions from well-known brands and entrepreneurial start-ups alike.

“This would allow developers to create exciting new products relatively easily by reducing the amount of development time, risk and cost to get products to market at a pace not possible up until now.”

Cockerill predicts that the concepts could radically change how new products are conceived and developed.

“Infinite flexibility”

The Play module offers musicians “infinite flexibility”, by allowing them to bring both digital and analogue modules together to create unique sound performances. Play could be used by everyone from a one-man band to a band’s sound engineers, and Seymourpowell envisions music equipment companies like Boss and Marshall adding to a large audio module marketplace based on classic analogue equipment.

Wear continues the wearable tech revolution through a device that addresses a patient’s medical needs. The wearable device would have an instant connection to medical staff, as well as biometric monitoring, and would adapt to different stages of the patient’s treatment journey to the hospital.

Move is a robot printer that scans and prints the surfaces it travels. It could be modified to be used by fabric and pattern cutters, or for interior design, construction and surveying. The printer could be created from existing batteries, Bluetooth modules and processors. Two unique modules would be created, a printed head and a motor/wheel module, which could then also be used by other developers to create new products.

Link is envisioned as a series of “potentially infinite modules” that monitor and provide feedback on their environment. Seymourpowell’s example sees it configured for agriculture with rain collecting, soil, moisture and light sensor modules. They would be supported by a a wi-fi module to collect and send live data, enabling farmers to make decisions based on the current conditions and optimize their crop productivity. The device would be powered by a small wind turbine and solar cell.

Latest articles

Design Bridge acquired by WPP

The sale of the independent brand consultancy will see it retain its creative independence and management, while it has also revealed plans to expand to Shanghai.

Design Manchester 2017 announces line-up

The annual design festival is back for its fifth edition this October, and will feature Pentagram partner Naresh Ramchandani, Buzzcocks’ record sleeve designer Malcolm Garrett and an exhibition on Lucienne