blokdots [Bachelor Thesis]
[2017]

Prototyping and designing software got over the past years nice and easy. A set up layout nowadays can seamlessly merged into a high fidelity interactive prototype. This helps designers to communicate their ideas better as well as engineers to continue their work right away, without rebuilding everything from scratch.

Prototyping is a key problem-solving activity in product design. It starts right from the beginning of a project and continues right into production. […] The more complicated the product, the more disciplines will be involved and the more prototypes typically needed.1

The way we work

Usually prototyping comes very late within the (simplified linear) design process. But should it not be very early? So we could realize the true potential of an idea or maybe do not spend so much time on something that will not work? Or maybe there is an even better way to do something, but we just do not have the ability to test it properly.

With blokdots I want to tackle all these thoughts by making the electronic prototyping part so simple, that it can basically put at the very beginning of a project. Also it is so scalable, that later on it can build such complex prototypes as you are used to with products that are already on the market, leaving no gap between designers and developers.

blokdots components

Simplicity

Merging the simplicity of education tools like littleBits with the possibilities of professional tools like Arduino builds a powerful platform to enable designers to test their concepts the way needed to fully understand their behavior.

Easy-to-use modules, easily connected via a simple phone jack, which have all components already soldered on minimize the hassle of wiring and breadboard chaos. The microcontrollers allow a plug & play use and programming, to start developing ideas right away.

Programming for everyone

In addition to the hardware components, also a software has been developed. Within the software you are able to program everything you need without a line of code, using simple if-this-then-that connections, similar to the web-service IFTTT.

Should the limits of the software be reached, then of course there is a javaScript API to just use the elements in your own specific project.

Becoming reality

Currently I am working with Christoph Labacher on this project, developing it constantly further. See the website and download the software here.

Infos

This project has been my bachelor thesis at HfG Schwäbisch Gmünd, supervised by Prof. Matthias Held and Prof. Benedikt Groß.

Exhibitions and Awards

It was awarded the Student Winner of Tools/Work at the Core77 Design Awards 2019.

  1. Hallgrimsson, Bjarki (2012:7). Prototyping and modelmaking for product design; London: Laurence King