Light Lock is a collaborative design developed during MIT and RISD’s cross academic course: Product Design Development. The class is co taught by faculty from RISD’s Industrial Design department and MIT’s Sloan School of Management and School of Engineering. Throughout the course students from each of the three schools collaborated in teams to design, develop, and iterate on a single design from ideation to an alpha prototype. This included user testing, iterative prototyping, competitive analysis of other products on the market, multiple stages of user testing, and the submission of a business and mass production plan for our mock product after its final stage of development. The team consisted of two individuals from each school, with myself working on the physical prototyping, modeling, and fabrication while my partner from RISD, Aaditya Ailawadhi, worked on design communication, branding, and communication. The design for Light Lock went through three distinct phases from the initial sketch modeling to the creation of the alpha prototype.
Our group was given the prompt of making bike safety equipment and accessories more accessible and easier to use. The prompt came from polling students in the class on possible paint points during their day to day lives. Ours came from students having to juggle multiple accessories like bike lights, locks, personal safety equipment, ect whenever they chose to commute on their bikes.
Building on our ideation sketches, we chose to go forward with a design that would combine two of the most common accessories being used by our users: bike locks and bike lights. By combining the two we could reduce the risk of the lighting accessories having to be removed repeatedly or risk being stolen by making them part of the same component that is securing the bike. For this I created a number of low fidelity sketch models to be used in testing, as well as some initial renderings of what a finished version of the design would look like.
Poling cyclists in the Cambridge Massachusetts area identified that the largest customer group consisted of 20-30 year old commuter cyclists. These are people who use their bikes multiple times a week. The majority of their biking is done to and from work or school, but they also tend to use their bikes to get from place to place outside their scheduled work days.
Our surveying also identified that our millennial and gen-z customers lead dynamic, socially and environmentally conscious lives. They buy fewer products, but those they do buy are of a higher quality and that last longer. They care about leading active and healthy lifestyles, but are also image and brand conscious. With this information, we constructed a number of personas to embody our users and to guide our design decisions going forward. This was done following the creation and testing of our initial prototypes.
Following feedback from our user testing as well as the new parameters set by our personas, I began working on a second stage of prototypes. These consisted of some low fidelity designs to be tested on a bike as well as some visual prototypes that would better encapsulate the look and feel of a final design. This involved streamlining and minimizing the initial design into two parts. Additionally, this design revision would also allow the bike lock to be used as a potential self defense weapon when not in use.
Throughout the prototyping process and multiple stages of user testing, Kevin Hsu and Joseph Talampas were simultaneously working on a business plan for the design. This plan consisted of a competitive analysis as well as identifying potential profit of our design if marketed and distributed well.
A Third version of our design was made following further feedback and testing with our users. This alpha prototype combined the physical prototyping being done by myself with the engineering prototyping being done by Mary Thielking and Bidusha Poudyal. The alpha prototype consisted of five parts; the front and back sections of the light lock, two light holders that attached to the bike, and a control unit that mounted on the handlebars of the bike. The prototype along with our business and manufacturing plans were presented for review in May 2019 to a jury of MIT and RISD faculty. During this review the disassembly, assembly, and signalling of the design was demonstrated and can be seen captioned above.