Thursday, November 29, 2012

Two Heads are Better than One

Today, our team broke into smaller groups. Two members researched adhesives that can bond acrylic and memory foam without causing deterioration. Another team member finished the revised Inventor drawing using the feedback we got from our visit at The Pines. We then emailed this design to a Wheelchair Movement Specialist in North Carolina to get her opinion of our armrest. The rest of the team worked on two fundraising ideas: a key chain and a license plate frame. We made Inventor drawings and plan on cutting them out with the laser cutter in the next few days.

Getting Down to Business

Today we did a lot of reviewing on the design of the bag.We brainstormed a lot about pockets and placement. We also placed an order for some fluorescent acrylic sheets for future fundraising projects. This weekend we plan to stop by Sports Page and pitch the finished scrapers to them.

Wooden Dragon Puzzle

We discussed fundraising ideas in class to see how we could use our engineering skills that we have learned to help fund the class. We are going to develop a wooden dragon puzzle that people can buy and assemble. The dragon will have the cut out wooden parts as well as instructions and a video on how to assemble it. The dragon puzzle will be pitched to a local company for sale. One member of our group has been working to revamp an older model of the dragon and other team members have been helping him with this task.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Increasing the Archive

We met in class with another video tutorial complete and another scheduled to be done after school. A few website layouts were presented to and discussed with the whole class. The user-friendly aspects of each layout we agreed on are something to work toward as the programmers learn their way through the different coding languages the website is being written in. Meanwhile, the video producers of the group are consistently continuing to meet and create tutorial videos to add to the site. The video-producing process is gradually becoming more efficient as more videos are created. The goal at this point is to maximize that efficiency and start implementing the layout we want into the website itself.

New Ideas

After a short Thanksgiving break, the PivoRest members got back to work and visited The Pines at Glens Falls Center for Nursing & Rehabilitation.  We met with a few physical and occupational therapists and the Therapy Program Manager there.  They all seemed very enthusiastic about our project.  They gave us their critiques on our current design and we received a lot of positive feedback.  We are already working on some possible ideas they have given us and we plan to keep building upon them.

Wax Scrapers, Templates, and Materials

Most recently we've been designing some new wax scrapers to sell at Sports Page. They've turned out pretty well so far but we had a few issues in the beginning with the laser cutter. Today in class we started pinning together our reverse engineering backpack template and it all fit together well which means we've started to get the hang of inventor templates. Lastly, all of our materials to start making more duffle bags have been ordered so those should be in within the next few days. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Reaching Out

Today in class we put in an order for more materials to make tote bags and drawstring bags that we could use for sewing practice and sell them for fundraising. Also in class today we made a plan to meet with a local company called Tough Travelers. Its a backpack company that makes heavy duty backpacks with canvas materials. We would like to meet with them to see if they could give us any constructive criticism and possibly point us in the right direction. Finally we came up with the idea to sell or wax ski scrapers at a local sports shop. For our last blog, we created a video blog from the Kingston races.  We are still working on posting it however due to technical difficulties.

Developing Expertise

Today in class, we decided to review our design process. Since our task involves so much thought and preparation, it's very overwhelming to look at the whole thing all at once. So, we have decided to break up into a few smaller groups to try to focus on smaller parts of the big picture. So far, this is working very well for us, since we have already come up with a few new solid designs that we plan to go with. Once we make our first rough prototype, it will be easier to critique the parts we like and refine the parts we don't, thus continuously improving our design until we get it to where we want it to be.

Bechtel Feedback

Our class met with three representatives from Bechtel to inform them of our progress so far this year. From the meeting, our group took away some very helpful ideas. They were impressed with our work and our drive to complete our project. Today, in class, we focused on creating more subject-like videos. Instead of creating random request videos, we plan to chose a topic and master every aspect of that topic, creating many tutorial videos in that subject. Once we have a plethora of videos on our website, we will take requests and help each person with a specific video. We also fixed the layout of the website, experimenting with new methods such as drop down menus and vertical tabs. Our new logo was also added to the website and has started to be integrated into the eight tutorial videos already created.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Oh the Possibilites!

As we approach Thanksgiving break, the PivoRest group has been focusing a more of our attention on fundraising.  Since we are working with plastic, we have generated a list of items that we could make out of plastic and sell.  This will improve our plastic working skills as well as generate money for our class.  Also, PivoRest is working on visiting more nursing facilities to generate more feedback. The more feedback we have, the better we can make our product.

Designing the Website

Today in class we worked on perfecting our elevator speeches and our PowerPoint making skills. We have also been working on layouts/designs for our website. We will make up 3 templates to show to the class and get their opinion on them. We have also gotten books on CSS, PHP, MySQL, and JavaScript. We are working through them and doing the activities to obtain a better knowledge in those languages. We are also continuing making tutorial videos to put on the site

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The More the Merrier

In the last couple of days, we have been working on several aspects of the product. We have been brainstorming logos for Pivorest, and trying to find the best one. Also, the group took another trip to the shop, to practice bending acrylic for our prototypes. Today specifically, we presented our progress to the class and discussed what we needed to improve and work on as a group. We also decided that in the next two weeks we were going to visit two more health care facilities,to get more information about patients needs and wants. We are also working on brainstorming ideas of what we could do with the plastic to sell to raise money for the class.

First Wave Ready for Race Day

Today we accomplished many things in preparation for the Kingston Roller Ski race this Sunday. The first task accomplished was the creation of our banner that we will take down with us to hang up at a booth. The second task that was accomplished was that we completed our survey to ask the many roller skiers that attend the race. As well, we have some more tote and drawstring bags completed that we would like to sell at the Roller Ski race.  Also we plan on having baked goods to sell at our booth. This race is guaranteed to be a huge stepping stone for the First Wave Pack.

Keeping up the Momentum
Today we gave our presentation on what we have done to the class. We received many tips about what to do next and we will consider what will actually be feasible and implement as many ideas as possible. We have been working on how we are going to receive requests from our users. Currently we have a box that our users can type into and then click a button to email us exactly what the user entered into the box. This is one of many different ways of receiving requests and we are still experimenting with the whole process to try and figure out which option would best benefit ourselves and the user. With our survey results we are going to record the most popular responses in hope to the help the people who took the survey.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Making Great Progress

Today the First Wave Pack gave their progress report. Looking back on what we have accomplished, we realize we are making great progress. After the report was given, the team worked on inventor drawings because the Kingston roller ski races are this weekend. We are trying to get a rendering of the bag done so people at the race can see what our bag will look like. In the coming weeks the group will divide an conquer, half the group will start working on making duffel and draw string bags to sell, and the other half will start working on the original backpack itself. The three non-Nordic skiers in the group have agreed to take part in the beginner race. So the races should be fun for both participants and spectators.

More Web Design and More Videos

Our website was redone so it will be easier to change by having all the essential parts of the website in its own file. These essential parts is then shown in the website. This makes the site easier to change because if you change the file you then change the logo.  For example, it is changed on every web page. We also have started to crack out the videos. We have 7 total at the moment with a large commitment of time into each one. We have posted the videos on the website and are playing around with different functions on the website.

Hard Work Pays Off

Today in class, our team got together and discussed the possible logo designs we are going to present to our class later this week. We also worked on what we are going to say during our presentation on what we have accomplished so far. After class, three members of our group met with Brian Casey again to work on bending plastic. They made a curve to work on what width, length, and diameter will work best for most arms. In addition to this, members of our group visited Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital to discuss our current designs and what we need to modify. In the next few days, we will finalize our logo design and go make more plastic mock-ups. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Steps to Success

After a successful Skype meeting with a Colorado board of administrators, the team quickly went back to work on the project.  We have made an appointment for tomorrow to meet with the nurses from Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital in Schenectady.  We hope to gather more information there, regarding comfort and mobility of the arm, and would like to see if they are interested in our project.  Our goal for next week is to have started a plastic prototype. On our down time, the team members are all coming up with different logo designs.  We will have our set logo by next week.

Assessment and Goals

Today we received our own Yeti Microphone and we were able to show Mr. Gallagher and our project manager Olivia the three videos that we have completed. The videos were approved, so we can continue making more videos like the previous three if not better. We had our biweekly assessment with Mr. Gallagher today and each group member was assigned a specific task and a deadline. A dragon, made by creating two-dimensional parts on a laser cutter and putting them together as pieces to a puzzle, that group members made outside of this class will be manufactured and sold for fundraising. Other tasks were also assigned. To get this project done by the end of the year we all need to work as hard as possible and continue creating deadlines that are possible and also push us to work harder.


We already have orders for our tote bags that we are sewing for fundraising. We have made progress sewing. I got through a big chunk of the catch-all bag, while Connor and Tom got work done on their drawstring bags. My goal is to be finished with this kick off project by the end of the weekend and to start on the tote bags. Today we gave ourselves the challenge to find all the materials needed to make a tote bag for less than the Llama tote bag kit price. This really makes us think about everything we need and the vast world we can choose from. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Success in Skype!

Today in class, we did several dry runs of our script that we would be using for our Skype call with Colorado.  This call was to inform a board of administrators as well as Leigh from MIT what our Engineering Design and Development class is all about.  Group members gave their elevator pitches,our treasurer spoke about finances and fundraisers, and our project manager helped lead one topic into the next.  Overall, the call went over very well and Colorado seemed very pleased with our work.  We will keep in touch with Leigh as we move deeper into our projects and the year.  

Friday, November 2, 2012

Creating the First Tutorials

To learn through experience how exactly to approach the development of tutorial videos, the video production team within our group worked to create three tutorials. The programming team in our group embedded the videos on the website from private links to YouTube where the videos were originally posted. The video-making process was significantly more time consuming than originally anticipated. An animated logo is also an emerging possibility as we solidify our standard format for each tutorial. In addition to video and web development done outside of class, we participated in a brief Skype practice session which brought to our attention the need to practice our elevator pitch and be prepared to represent our product. We’ll be working on that as well as the search engine for our website, more practice in making video tutorials, and refining the website in general. With the videos posted and parts of the website functioning correctly, it’s exciting to see the results of our work. 

Scripts, Sewing, and Elevator Pitches!

On Thursday, we made progress on our script for Monday's Skype conversation. Today we spent a large portion of class working on our elevator pitch, making it shorter and more concise. We also tested out everyone pitching it and even recorded some videos to see how we looked. Our inventor group worked more with the flange function of the sheet metal program. This lead to some cool angular backpack designs. Tom and Connor are close to completing their first sewing project and will have those done by next Wednesday.

Plastic Molding 101

Today we worked with Brian Casey after school, who is helping us with plastic molding. He is continuing to put in his input about our project, and has given us some great suggestions. For example, he gave us a ball-and-socket joint that we plan to reverse engineer next class, since it will most likely end up being the type of joint we will use for the PivoRest. We also received our foam today, and are beginning to accumulate the rest of our materials so that we can begin prototyping with plastic by next week. Over the weekend, a few of us are brainstorming ideas for a product logo, and are also continuing to get in contact with a few people regarding the attachment methods that we have been researching over the past few days.