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Sustainable Design: Hydra Canteen

Task: For this final group project in my IAT 336  course, students were given the task of designing a water canteen for use in disaster relief scenarios and the developing world. The brief constraints dictated that the product should be easy to manufacture, made from sustainable materials and easy to transport.


Teaching Focus: The intention of this exercise was for students to gain experience in using unconventional materials e.g. canvas as well as gaining empathy for a specific end-user; those recovering from natural disasters. A peripheral constraint of this exercise is that the product be easy to manufacture, and distribute. In addition to the experimention with unconventional materials, the team was required to add a computational function.


The main challenge of this exercise was for students to develop empathy for the end-user. Most of my students had not lived through a natural disaster nor conflict so understanding the needs of these users required a great deal of research.


Additionally, students needed to understand the constraints and issues related to distributing these relief supplies. I established in the brief that the product had to fit in a specific sized box and not exceed a specific for ease of distribution.

Last, the students needed to explore materials that were not conventional in the context of the course e.g. soft product design.


























Above: Conceptual moodboard showing material swatches, context of use scenarios and interaction qualities.

Above: For the computational requirement, the team developed a mechanism to indicate or alert the end user of dehydration.Based on a servos, a simple tape marker and processor, the end user would be alerted by a rising color stripe when rehydration was needed through the elapsing of time.

Above: A view of the completed canteen. As part of their design intent of using sustainable materials, the team added a flexible canvas skin, liner and 3D printed components.

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