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My major design interest is toys, and so using my experience with ASD I wanted to design a device that would excite children and keep them interested while teaching them valuable abilities to help them interact in social situations.

Orbit - Functional Prototype

When the visor is lifted for the first time and Orbit turns on, a beginner’s tutorial will show the user the basic ways they can interact with Orbit. As part of the functional prototype and user testing, this tutorial was created and tested with fellow students to identify any future improvements and see how they liked playing with Orbit. Feedback was very positive and provided some key technical insights into how the prototype could improve.

Optional Module - Reverse Engineering a Bluetooth Mouse

With 3D scan data obtained using a "ZScanner" I was able to use Solidworks surface modelling to reverse engineer the artefact accurate to the mesh data. Analytical tools such as zebra stripes and curvature were utilised every step of the way controlling inflections and ensuring the mouse has a high-quality surface finish. Having had little to no experience using Solidworks upon arriving at the Design School in 2018, the final outcome of this project was especially rewarding.

The Smells Like "Bean" Spirit Coffee Machine

Tasked with building an automated coffee machine using an AeroPress module and a PIC18F45K20 microcontroller, as a team we went ambitious. The Smells Like "Bean" Spirit Coffee Machine is a unique device that allows you to select your brew strength, fill your custom 3D printed mug from below, automatically present coffee grounds for easy disposal and play the popular track "Smells Like Teen Spirit" while doing so!

Live Projects - PESO

In response to the brief: "Design a product that helps users take ownership of their physical health," I wanted to do something that would help prevent child obesity, a problem that is on the rise. Peso is a set of smart scales that clearly indicates to the child when they've reached an appropriate portion. Using an app, parents can add important details about their child which are used to calculate how many calories the child should be having for each meal. Using simple colours emitted onto the surface, the device then gives children the freedom to serve themselves and know when enough is enough.

Photoshop Rendering

As well as a Product Designer, I consider myself to be a Photoshop artist. Working at Disney has taught me so much more about Photoshop which I can now use in my design work. When a quick but high-quality concept is needed, I found Photoshop to be a really useful tool to draw shapes and render over the top to create a realistic 3D image. In this example, using a rough 2D template of a LEGO man, I am able to Photoshop over the image to create myself in LEGO form.

Benjamin Powell

Final year project

ORBIT - An Interactive Storytelling Robot to Teach Emotion Recognition to Children (Ages 5-8) with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Other Learning Difficulties.

Work Experience

Being a Product Development Intern at the Walt Disney Company was such an incredible experience that really opened my eyes to product licensing and the scope of new product development within a successful franchise. Straight from the start, I was shown the ropes on how to be an EMEA Star Wars Reviewer and after a month found myself managing all Star Wars consumer products distributed to Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. I found the creative aspect of the job most enjoyable, having the opportunity to design and pitch concepts to the team and develop ideas for tech companies on an international scale. This certainly enhanced my creative thinking and quality of work. With the high level of responsibility I was given, my placement year was a true test of time management and working under pressure.