PROJECT BRIEF

 

Through market opportunity identification, market research, business
model generation, and iterative concept development present fully realized growth design
solutions.  Work in a team of two to develop a design-driven concept that could add a 20% growth in a new business category to a company of their choosing. Deliverables will include a process book including research, concept generation, a business model canvas, prototype development, and a formal pitch book. Final solutions tobe presented as a pitch to individuals in the industry.

Time Period: 10 Weeks

 
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Who is iRobot ?
"Your Helping Hand"
We are a leading global consumer robot company, we design and build robots that empower people to do more both inside and outside of their homes.     
          We are committed to fostering invention, discovery and technological exploration in the pursuit of practical and valuable robot products for the home. iRobot is at the forefront of developing technologies in the areas of mapping and navigation, human-robot interaction, and physical solutions.

ABOUT US

Phase 1

Research

Phase 2

Research

Once we were given the project brief we started by researching various and potential companies for the project. After finalizing iRobot we researched the company and its products. A lot of time was spent understanding its competitors and similar products. We mapped out all the information by creating a business model canvas. We also performed SWOT analysis which helped us understand the company better.
After immense research and analysis we decided that iRobot should enter a new market- Industrial Cleaning. Next, we started identifying and researching potential opportunities in the Industrial cleaning market. For example- Facade cleaning, Solar panel cleaning, Drain and pipe cleaning, Barn cleaning, Septic tank cleaning etc.

Phase 3

Phase 4

Final Opportunity

Idea Development

We proceded to narrow down on our oppurtunity area and The final idea that we chose was Drain and Pipe Cleaning 1) There is very little competition in robotic pipe cleaning.
2) Big market size as pipe systems are getting constructed everyday which means a big market need.
3) We already have a lot of the prexisting technologies to address this need, low R&D cost.
After finalizing the opportunity area we moved to the design phase. We started by sketching ideas. During the process we decided to incorporate Biomimicry and Soft Robotics to improve our design and make the robot more efficient. 

Initial Research

Research

Our intial research revolved around gaining information about Irobot, its history, its product and services and it’s consumers. This knowledge is imperative in innovating for Irobot as this gives insight into what has worked for Irobot before and what is not working now. Analysing the firm also gave insight into its financial arrangement assisting us to set constraints on our design brief. Moreover the analysis also revealed the resources available to Irobot which we can leverage to enter a new market for design based innovation.
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Business Model Canvas

Research

After doing the basic groundwork on Irobot we generated a business model canvas, encompassing all the data we collected. This canvas traces all of Irobot’s current business structure. Moreover, this canvas aided us in identify the operating cost structure of the company and the partnerships Irobot has with other firms along with it’s other resources such as it’s extensive tech patent list and highly skilled employees
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User Persona

Research

To zero in on our current consumers and to see which products have worked for us, we divided our consumers according to several criteria such as location, their lifestyle and does the consumer have a family or not. This research lead us to find our shortcomings, the main problems with our products is that it is not suited for houses with multiple floors and different terrain types. Our products still cannot adapt to all kinds of houses and hence is not very dynamic   
  
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SWOT Ananlysis

Research

After identifying our shortcomings, we created a 'Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat' analysis chart. We plotted our findings and from there we started looking at our weaknesses and threats, and how could we counter them using our resources and strengths. We noticed that a lot of our expensive R&D gets knocked off by counterfeit products and because of that we lose a lot of capital and market share. So that lead us to develop opportunities.
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Product Line

Research

IRobot has 3 main product lines, Roomba, Braava, and Root. Out of these 3, Roomba and Braava are really successful, selling over 30 million units worldwide. We also sell accessories which can be purchased individually, this helps our users to maintain their products for the long term and change anything faulty. Currently, Roomba has had around 7 models and the Braava has 5 models   
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Competition

Research

Due to our immense success in the Robotic Vaccum market, there is a lot of competition coming up. Big brands such as Dyson are entering the market. We still have the majority of the market share, but our dominance is severely threatened by companies replicating our technology without the R&D cost that we incur. They also undercut our prices making their products look better off. The listed products are our major competition, right now we are dominating this market but we need to innovate to survive. 
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Barn Cleaning

Barns are habitats to cow, who produce a lot of manure which needs to be cleaned everyday. If upkeep is not done then the manure can cause various to the cows and the farmhands, hence it is imperative that this manure is cleaned and collected. This job is not the most attractive job to a human being as it is seen as filthy, moreover safety kits are need to not risk catching diseases. Due to these reasons and how frequently it needs to be done, automation in this field could be highly beneficial.

Drain and Pipe Cleaning

Drain and Pipeline systems have become severly complex over the years, however the cleaning methods are still the orthodox methods used from 1980 onwards. Hence a modern smart solution to industrial pipeline cleaning would be a novel innovation. Drains and pipes are a big maze and inaccessible by humans due to their small size, a automated robotic solution would be highly efficient in this field.

Septic Tank Cleaning

Cleaning septic tanks is a filthy and expensive job, moreover it’s life threatening if not done with the proper measures. This field is highly specialized and not many people are in it. It’s dangerous and expensive nature calls for a need of automation in this field. Automation would make this activity safer, cheaper and more efficient overall

Solar Panel Cleaning

After doing the basic groundwork on Irobot we generated a business model canvas, encompassing all the data we collected. This canvas traces all of Irobot’s current business structure.
Moreover this canvas aided us in indentify the operating cost structure of the company and the partnerships Irobot has with other firms along with it’s other resources such as it’s extensive tech patent list and highly skilled employees

Ship Hull Cleaning

The purpose of underwater hull cleaning is to remove biological roughness or fouling. A build-up of marine fouling can lead to increased drag, resulting in a detrimental impact on a vessel's hydrodynamic performance and hence the relationship between speed, power performance and fuel consumption. However this process right now is very expensive  requiring special diving training and is generally a dangerous job. Automation in this field is tough but if developed properly, can work wonders

Drain and Pipe Cleaning

Existing Technologies

Hydrojetting

Pros- Economical, comparitively green, Doesnt use harmful Chemicals
 
Cons N.A in Freezing temperatures not maneuverable built to use in small areas

Drain Snake

Pros- Cheapest, Doesnt use harmful chemicals
 
Cons-not effective in large areas, can only solve small household clogs  

Power Rodding

Pros- Really common, Readily Available, Doesnt use harmful chemicals, effectivein medium pipe systems.
 
Cons- Doesnt work in large netwroks, Rotating cutting blade might harm pipes.

ABOUT US

ABOUT US

Task The Robot Has To Perform

ABOUT US

- Clean heavy or soft gunk
- Go vertical in a pipe
- Relatively tight spaces but also large spaces
- Travel in water  

Biomimicry

Biomimicry (literally: imitation of the living ) aims to take inspiration from natural selection solutions adopted by nature and translate the principles to human engineering. The biomimicry approach aims to favor “choices” tested by nature which had millions of years to understand what works best and what doesn’t. Designs following biometrics will ultimately allow human productions to be more efficient, resilient and sustainable. Since we are dealing with a dynamic system of small drains and pipes, we can learn from several animals who live in burrow or move through tight spaces. This would enable better our design and make it suited for it’s dynamic environment

Soft Robotics

Biomimicry (literally: imitation of the living ) aims to take inspiration from natural selection solutions adopted by nature and translate the principles to human engineering. The biomimicry approach aims to favor “choices” tested by nature which had millions of years to understand what works best and what doesn’t. Designs following biometrics will ultimately allow human productions to be more efficient, resilient and sustainable. Since we are dealing with a dynamic system of small drains and pipes, we can learn from several animals who live in burrow or move through tight spaces. This would enable better our design and make it suited for it’s dynamic environment

Components

Ideation

we performed several rounds of ideation. The first round consisted of several form studies and understanding the size. The second round consisted of more detailed drawings of the product and how it would function. During the third round we explored components and the working. The last round was finalizing the idea and the concpet.
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Reflection and Next Steps

 

This Project helped me get an in-depth understanding of the business side of design by encouraging me to think about a new market segment and how it would affect Irobot's business. Over the course of 10 weeks, I was able to enhance my research skills, design thinking, ideation, and CAD skills. I was also able to improve my speaking and presentation skills as I presented my final concept to a panel which consisted of industry leaders ranging from entrepreneurs to designers. As the next step for this project, my partner and I would like to collaborate with a development team and create a prototype. We would also look into IP and existing patents so that we can develop a robot that is one of its kind.

This project was completed in collaboration with Indrashish Dutta Roy over a course of 10 weeks for Innovation by Design at Rhode Island School of Design

Manav Kedia 2020

industrial designer