Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland
April 7, 2017
April 7, 2017
April 8, 2017
Illuminated Umbrella – An Engineering/Visual Arts Interdisciplinary Product Development
P.R. Stupak and D. McManus
Raritan Valley Community College, Branchburg, NJ
An Engineering & Visual Arts collaboration in Fall 2016 resulted in a unique Illuminated Umbrella product where a transparent plastic umbrella, sequined with 200 LED lights along the umbrella ribs, illuminated when opened – but required no batteries. The Engineering Student Team consisted of four 2nd-year Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) Engineering students participating in an “Authentic Engineering Experience” course where they were tasked to design, prototype, build, and deliver a real product to a real customer. The Visual Art Student Team, comprised of eleven RVCC Visual Communications majors enrolled in the Fall 2016 Visual Design 2 course, were each tasked with developing a complete graphic-identity for the product including a unique product name, a logo, corporate collateral (business card, envelope, letterhead), product packaging, and two print advertisements.
The Illuminated Umbrella product required The Engineering Student Team to learn hands-on to generate the required electrical energy using the physics and engineering principles of electromagnetic-induction, store the energy in capacitors, and release the energy to the array of LED lights. The team presented prototypes to the “customer” (a Graphics Design Professor) and responded to feedback received from the customer and Visual Design 2 students to configure and mount the power-generation and electronic components to minimize their visibility while creating a more contemporary aesthetic for the umbrella. Additionally, The Engineering Student Team overcame multiple practical and technical challenges to assemble, solder, and waterproof the strings of LEDs and package the electronics in a waterproof custom 3D-printed case.
The Visual Design 2 students worked collaboratively as a class to generate ideas to improve the overall design and functionality of the Illuminated Umbrella and were each individually tasked to develop a unique graphic-identity for the product as well. The design concept for each graphic-identity was based on the envisioned target market for the product, which varied from student to student. The actual design execution was predicated on ease of product recognition using the product name and logo, selected color palette, supplementary graphics and typography, and uniqueness of the packaging solution intended for distribution and sale.
This project was a genuine inter-disciplinary Engineering and Arts collaboration. The Illuminated Umbrella product and the three best graphic-identities were featured in the RVCC Art Gallery as part of the Independent Study Students Exhibition from January 23rd to February 10th, 2017.
The motivation and goal of the project was to expose the Engineering students early in their academic careers and under “authentic engineering” conditions, to vital skills and practices used daily in industry, including in part: customer communication and support, teamwork and internal communications, project responsibility, project management, continuous improvement, and product customization. The practical objective was to give students authentic hands-on product development and project execution experience to relate to potential internship and professional employers. Although guided at arms-length by industry-experienced staff, the overwhelming emphasis was for The Engineering Student Team to reach their own designs, experience their own failures and successes in earning their own know-how, resolve their own communications and scheduling conflicts, and to respond to customer critical comments of prototype product performance.
Stupak, P. R. (2017, April), Illuminated Umbrella: An Engineering/Visual Arts Interdisciplinary Product Development Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Mid Atlantic Section Spring Conference, Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland. https://peer.asee.org/29257
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2017 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015