In the process of product development a product evolves in its existence. In its infancy it provides a new way to satisfy a need, but is usually limited in its succession. As product development advances, the product improves and the aim for development changes. Characterising such development can support the understanding of an established development from a deterministic perspective and can support the development of short-term future products.
The development of the handheld vacuum cleaner was analysed according to the Product Phases theory by Eger (2013). This research indicates a solution space for future developent, which is translated to a conceptual product design. The current market is highly segmented. A broad range of products has resulted from a varying embodiment of functionality and features like cyclonic action, wet/dry cleaning, motorised brushes, and multiple-stage filtration. Various market segments apply to various target groups, provide for different needs, and occur over a wide price range. Given the current stage of development and het nature of the product, it is plausible that short-term development will continue along the course of segmentation.
The aim for this project is to develop a handheld vacuum cleaner aligning with the brand identity of Black&Decker and specialised for dedicated use in a private workshop or in combination with power tools.
To stimulate the creative process and to avoid the adoption of existing shapes, a silhouette technique is applied . This technique takes a different approach to shape creation, because it works by use of surfaces instead of sketch lines. The silhouette is swiftly drawn, defining the rough outlines, but not the inner shape. In a second stage the silhouettes have been refined to cleaner edges. Lastly, the outline is used as boundary of the shape and sketch lines are added to define the inner geometry.
These side view sketches have been further iterated upon and developed to three dimensional concept sketches, focussing on the rough geometry and its accentuation by colour panels. Various shapes were explored and further developed and detailed to conform with the characteristics of current Black&Decker power tools.
Besides switching the device on and off, two important use interactions are the connection to the charging station and the detachment of the reservoir. Both interactions are depicted by the images below. The charging station is designed to enclose part of the hand cleaner, which supports an intuitive interaction, allowing only one way to fit and therefor ensuring a good connection between the docking station and the hand cleaner. The reservoir can be detached by pressing a single button on top of the device. The hand can enclose the reservoir, pressing the button with the thumb so both the reservoir and the handle can be held during this interaction.
As part of the design process a mock-up was made of the product design. Making a physical model of the product supports the communication of the design, but also provides a different view on the product and a way to assess shape and dimensions. The model is made by hand from PIR foam and spray painted light grey. The mock-up is an addition to the design drawings in this report, which together comprise an elaborated impression of both geometry and material expression of the product design .