The process of creating new and innovative cycling glasses09 Mar. 2017
The innovation lies in the details
A frequently asked question today is how to properly fit cycling glasses. Many people just buy one that fits “ok”, but how do you know when glasses really fit your head and make sure you wear them comfortably? Isn’t it strange that almost any item on your bike is bought in your own size, except your glasses? This would suggest every head is somehow the same size, but of course, that’s not the case. At BBB Cycling we continuously work on the development of better gear for your cycling needs and in doing so, we often bring in the help of the well-known Technical University of Delft.
The last six months a small group of four students developed a new concept of a pair of sports glasses that are fully adjustable to the shape of every cyclists head. As part of their minor Sports Innovation, the students Francoise Linke, Lex Heunks, Pleun Heeres and Yasper Recillas Pacheco, developed a concept of a new sports glasses based on the existing Summit glasses. Francoise explains what the meaning of this project was. “When we subscribed to this minor we all wanted to know how we could bring our knowledge into the real world, into a real product. That was also the most important reason to work on the project with BBB. This was an assignment where we could really work on a physical, real product.”
Talking with the group about this project, and one thing directly comes to mind: dedication. This group of young students is passionate about industrial design and really wanted to make it work with a product that would become a physical result. Visiting the small booth on the campus of the Technical University shows they indeed succeeded in their task. In a showcase is a 3-D printed model of the Summit the students worked on. “It’s still quite fragile, but you can see, touch and try it of course”, lets Yasper know. It’s a real physical end result indeed.
Yasper lifts up the showcase and suddenly we have the outcome of a 6-month project in our hands. Sure it feels fragile, but surprisingly enough, it feels well-made and ready at the same time. It’s a unique and one-of-a-kind product that’s designed specifically for this minor assignment, but Lex explains chances are this model, or at least the features of it, will go into production eventually. “When BBB asked to examine the possibilities of developing a sports glasses that are adaptable for every consumer, we started off the project. In the end, we came up with two options, which are not directly impossible to produce. Both our supervisors or coaches from BBB (Tjerk Bakker and Vincent Jol), were positive.”
Vincent Jol, product manager of sports glasses, shares his thoughts on the project with us. “It’s a beautiful result and impressive they came up with this product. The systems for adapting the glasses to your head are well thought out and in the basics usable as well. But of course, when it really comes down to producing it and using it in our current range of glasses it’s a different cup of tea. That has nothing to do with the work of these students. It’s just up to possibilities in materials, some details in design and stuff like that. In the end, producing a product is far more complicated than just executing the design from paper.”
Learning from each other
Apart from coming up with a system to adapt sports glasses to your head, the minor was also about learning from each other. The group of students was a mixed one, with two disciplines united. Two of the students have a background in Industrial Design, the other two have a mechanical engineering background. And one of them, Pleun, is studying at a completely different university as well, the Technical University of Eindhoven. “We’ve learned a lot, not only on this assignment, but also from each other. You notice that the disciplines differ from each other in some ways. The students with an Industrial Design background think in a slightly different way. As a mechanical engineer you can learn a lot from their point of view on designing a product and vice versa of course.”
From idea to physical product
When visiting the booth of the students at the Technical University of Delft, they took us through the steps of designing their idea of an adjustable sports glasses. It’s fascinating to see how well thought out the students worked on their design. The process goes from an orientation to a survey among users and finally making drawings and bringing the designs from paper to a 3-D printer. That’s, of course, a huge simplification of the process, but at the booth, the students showed in a simple version how many steps have to be undertaken before you can reach a physical product.
This project once again shows how important it is for BBB to work together with the Technical University of Delft. Working with young students always results in new ideas, exciting new designs and a new look at existing products. In the end, it’s not only about creating a new product but about learning from each other as well and getting to know new design talents.