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Proceedings Paper

Smart consumer products with a pathfinder product development strategy
Author(s): Alec Robertson
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Paper Abstract

It is generally acknowledged that technologies diffuse through industry and that the rate of diffusion varies both within different industries and according to the circumstances. Innovation is a process involving risk, especially during the adoption and adaptation of a powerful new technology. Central to a consumer products success using new technology is the quality of their designs and the nature of their forms. Form is of prime importance in influencing the purchasing decisions of consumers and it is also influential in determining the relationships between people in its use environment. The acceptance of a new product into the world is often unduly ad hoc. Many failures are created for each success and there are few guidelines to assist the formulation of a strategy for creating an appropriate form. It is suggested below that success of consumer products incorporating 'smart structures' may be determined not only by the function of products and systems, but also by the form they take. The definition of a desirable product form depends entirely on the point of view taken: technological, commercial, ecological, cultural, and social. However any design using new will incorporate the old and the new. The probability of acceptance of a new product is enhanced by maintaining a fine balance between imaginative and creative form and that with which people are familiar and prefer: a new design may be rejected if it is too novel and unfamiliar, or too traditional. The acceptance of a new product and its subsequent development depends on the success designers and engineers have when dealing with the initial forms, particularly using new technology such as 'smart structures'.

Paper Details

Date Published: 13 September 1994
PDF: 5 pages
Proc. SPIE 2361, Second European Conference on Smart Structures and Materials, (13 September 1994); doi: 10.1117/12.184853
Show Author Affiliations
Alec Robertson, De Montfort Univ. (United Kingdom)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2361:
Second European Conference on Smart Structures and Materials
Alaster McDonach; Peter T. Gardiner; Ron S. McEwen; Brian Culshaw, Editor(s)

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