Designing Mobile Robots: A Systems Thinking Approach for Industrial Designers
Authors: Yong-Gyun Ghim
Abstract: With robots’ presence gradually expanding to homes and public spaces, there are increasing needs for new robot development and design. Mobile robots’ autonomous and dynamic behaviors ask for new design approaches and methods that are different from the ones for designing non-robotic products. This study proposes a methodology for designing mobile robots from a systems thinking perspective to supplement the limitation of traditional industrial design approaches. A conceptual framework consisting of user, robot, and environment is proposed and task flow models are built to help designers analyze and specify complex interactions between multiple system elements. A robot system blueprint, a storyboard, and a system map are subsequently introduced to design and represent a product-service system of a robot holistically. This approach was applied to student projects for mobile robot design in a fourth-year studio course at a university’s industrial design program.
Keywords: robotics, industrial design, design methods, systems thinking
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