Ball bearings and technical drawings. Photo Credit: amanoverseas.com
Creativity is a huge part of being an innovative engineer. Thinking outside of the box it what has allowed the human race to advance their science and technology to the levels that we see today. While there are a few exceptions most of the engineering courses taken to receive the final degree focus on building a foundation of knowledge. These classes are designed to give a future engineer a solid base to develop ideas from. Creativity is a difficult thing to teach because it comes to everyone in a different way. Here are a few things that I do to help me become more creative.
The biggest thing, at least for me, is that I keep an idea notebook. It is just a small composition notebook that usually remains in my backpack, but when ever I see something that is frustrating or looks like it could be improved I jot it down. This way I have a list of problems that need solving.
Another thing for me is staying in touch with the advancements in technology by reading science blogs and sometimes the journal articles that they refer to. This keeps me learning and stretching my mind into new areas. Some of these new ideas I can tie to the list of problems that need solving and then I can start designing as system that would solve this problem.
Practicing the creative process is one of the best ways to get better at it. By seeing a problem and then attempting to design a system, either as a thought exercise or on paper, more problems come up, which in turn need solving. By going through this process, solving problems, learning new things, applying these things to existing problems, new and innovative solutions arise.
This is the method that I use to come up with new ideas and inject creativity into my work. Please feel free to comment with methods that you use. Everyone’s mind works a little differently and there are so many different ways to find inspiration.
3D-Printed Make-up. Photo Credit: Time.com
Harvard Business School graduate, Grace Choi, has come up with an invention that allows users to print their own makeup within minutes. The user would simply find a hue they desire, use software to determine the exact color code, send the color code to the printer and the device prints this color onto blank materials that are used for powder, creams, or gel makeups. Printing one’s own makeup begin with a colorless makeup palette that is inserted into the 3D printer and ends with the desired color and amount of makeup one needs. The printer uses the ink solution to print only a top layer of color to the blank materials and voilà, instant makeup that is ready for application. There is the issue that the ink does not “seep” homogenously through the makeup but this is seen as a good thing by Choi saying that it would be added savings to the consumer. The printer does not print great quantities of makeup, only enough for the application. This printer is being called Mink and will be ready for retail next summer for about $300. This could be an enormous turn for the cosmetics industry as now this eliminates needs to go to high-end retail stores for brand name makeup for only a specific color. Cost will be significantly dropped as there is no need to buy unnecessary volumes of makeup one wears infrequently or for a single occasion. The costs added for brand recognition, labeling, and containers are also eliminated as it is made at home inside the printer. It is a very personalized way to present one’s self that is limited only to the creativity or imagination of the user, not by beauty standard setting corporations. Even as a man who does not wear makeup regularly, I am in full support of this innovating that gives creative control to individuals. Well done Choi. Watch the whole presentation here http://techcrunch.com/2014/05/05/mink-is-a-3d-printer-for-makeup/