I have closely observed a different kind of integrations evolving in the consumer electronics domain. Take iPad for example. Most of the people involved in its product engineering have experience in Automobile Engineering. Today you talk about extrusion, milling and drilling in the CE products! Right now, its pioneered by Apple of course! iPod was extruded. There is a lot of drilling in the aluminium Mac Air. And you will see milling as the major engineering exercise in iPad. It’s fascinating, isn’t it! There is even internal “Heat Flow” analysis which takes care that your product doesn’t get fried up!
Automobile engineering will extrude consumer electronics to such an extent, that those who have automobile product engineering will soon become the most sought after resources in CE industry. Here you talk about heat flows, CNC milling processes, extrusion, sand blasting, moving components and what not!
One of a very brilliant Automobile Engineering concepts coming in Adam itself is a rubber gasket design to absorb the shock and pressure which will be there on the cover glass protection screen. When I was doing my bachelors, I observed a lot of iPhone screens getting damaged. Being a mechanical engineer myself, it was evident that to absorb shock and pressure, something should be done for the outside edges. Then there was the observation of the front and back glass panes on your cars! And viola! The solution was already there! You will find a smartly designed rubber gasket protecting! the top glass screen.
It is really amazing when you realize what you learn in one field of engineering getting beautifully implemented in the other. I have met a few engineers developing world-class products in the last few months and I have learnt a lot from them. The way an Automobile engineer looks at the CE product manufacturing is completely different. And believe me, they are the ones who know how to design a product which gives you the ‘feel‘!
You will find many (older?) products designed for functionality. NOKIA, I believe will be the pioneer in this category. Designed with best of the features, all necessary functionality and easy to use. Because they have a point here! To give a ‘feel’ you need to take away functionalities (the reason why there is no I/O ports in iPad). How many products were used to made of metals? But that’s the philosophy with which the products were designed earlier.
As more and more products will be made of metals, material and metallurgical engineering will have the most of the fun. Imaging the next generation of product made specifically to give you a 18 degree celsius feel! Imagine the body designed which change colors with external temperature! Wouldn’t it be fun that we can create a “Drum Application” where drummers can practise on the screen of Adam! The time is about to come. It’s nearer than we think. The dawn of innovation is here!