Vivify is a low-profile garment refreshing appliance that can fit easily in a user's closet. The side activated slider mechanism is designed for a simple and passive user experience: just push the slider, place the garment, close the door, and press start - that's it. In only five minutes, Vivify steams, cleans, and refreshes clothing garments to their fresh, "out of the dryer" feel and smell.
"WHEN WILL WE FINALLY CHOSE AN IDEA ALREADY?"
Preliminary interviews exposed three main laundry issues: transport, wearability, and time. From there, we defined our project objectives: a passive, fast garment refreshing device that alleviates the time, cost & effort of dry cleaning, washing, or ironing. We then brainstormed ideas for nearly a month, generating as many ideas as possible and a minor sense of impatience across the team as well!
THE USE CASE
A short video clip demonstrating the typical use case: our user, in a rush before a day of work, struggling to find a proper outfit without the need of ironing or washing.
PROTOTYPING: FAIL OFTEN, FAIL FAST
We considered different automated scrubbing mechanisms and surfaces to clean the clothes - as well as a “burrito-like” compact washer. In the end, we realized designing a reciprocating scrubbing mechanism would be too complex and out of scope.
Rolling out the shirt from the burrito washer, it came out just as dirty as it was before.
Nope...didn't work out to well!
Ultrasonication: a no-go
WHAT ABOUT DIFFERENT SCRUBBING MECHANISMS?
In the preliminary prototyping phase, we also considered different automated reciprocating scrubbing mechanisms to clean the clothes. To test this, we first tested different surfaces to see which scrubbed the best. Below are a series of pics that demonstrate our scrubbing testing. In the end, though, we realized designing and building a reciprocating scrubbing mechanism would be too involved for a short semester-long project. We wanted to keep it simple and scrubbing proved the oppostie.
We did a lateral exploration of a bunch of different scrubbing surfaces.
GETTING STEAMY IN HERE!
After realizing an all-in-one compact washing and drying machine was out of scope for the project we moved on to testing simple and effective de-wrinkling mechanisms through steaming in a closed environment. With affirmative test results, we decided to move forward with a steaming device.
PINKY THE BOX: THE "WORKS LIKE" MODEL
In later stages of the project, we decided to use the advantages of steam combined with natural scents and alcohols to simultaneously de-wrinkle, sanitize and freshen up soiled garments. We took cheap materials like foam core, duct tape, and thermal insulating foam to make the model (the latter from which pinky got her name).
Our next challenge was incorporating the passive element our users desired. Thus, we coded an Arduino, bought off-the-shelf components (a hair drier, a steam pump, and electrical sockets) and sealed everything in a water-tight compartment at the bottom of Pinky. With a few days of testing we optimized our passive and safe electronic setup.
PINKY AT THE MARRIOT
One thing our group made essential was that we consistently prototype alongside users. In this photo, we brought Pinky (right hand side of photo) to the Marriot, a location where our target users frequented. Users filled out a survey about what they enjoyed/didn't enjoy, and we provided an open forum for discussion as well.
THE "EXPERIENCES LIKE" MODEL
In our next phase of prototyping, we wanted to test a dynamic model that would allow users to engage with the product and experience how it feel to carry it, open it, put garments in, etc etc. We made modular attachments and components that could be swapped in and out to easily test different user experiences and gauge user reactions.
LOOKS LIKE MODELING...
Our target users were young professionals and business women, who value presentability in their own lives. Similarly, they value presentability with the appliances and products they own, which serve as reflections of themselves. Thus, while we were user-testing with Pinky V1, V2 and the Silver Fox, we prototyped different visions of the design language.