Bespoke and Repetitive: Converging Technologies in the Design of Custom Products
Advances in technology, data, and analytics will increasingly give designers the ability to develop customized or bespoke products for a range of end-users. Specifically, the intersection of 3D surface scanning, generative design, and digital fabrication could trigger this growth.
This thesis examines how the intersection of these technologies is currently being leveraged by designers, identifies growing opportunities and attributes for bespoke solutions, and envisions a new process for designers to create custom products.
Zerong has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Virginia Tech, and he is currently pursuing a master’s degree in design with a focus on industrial design at the University of Washington. He also takes entrepreneurship courses in the Foster Business School at UW to get the Technology Entrepreneurship Certificate (TEC). He believes that the harmony among design, engineering, and business results in incredible products.
His thesis work focuses on the design of custom products through the technology of 3D scanning, generative design, and digital fabrication. He envisions a new process for designers to create custom products and shows the differences from traditional approaches. He uses Customouse, a custom fit computer mouse, as a case study to prove the practicability of the process in real life.
- Jason O. Germany, Chair
- Sang-gyeun Ahn
- Justin Thoreau Lund
- MDes, University of Washington, 2022
- BS, Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Tech, 2019
Excerpt from Commentary by Heidi Biggs
In his thesis, industrial designer Zerong Yang uses custom computer mice as an object to think through dual problem spaces. First, his custom mice are designed to alleviate carpal tunnel pain, and second, his mouse design explores an emerging business model for creating hyper-custom objects using on-demand manufacturing. As an avid gamer, Zerong and his gaming community are no strangers to mouse-induced carpal tunnel pain. In fact, he mentioned his own wrist pain partly inspired this project. But beyond his own repetitive stress injuries, he wanted to develop his business acumen through his thesis so he decided to use custom mouse design as a space for developing bespoke, rapid, on-demand manufacturing models. His business model integrates a user’s specific hand size, grip style, and mouse shape and specs, and uses 3D scanning, generative AI, and 3D printing to create bespoke mouse products that uniquely fit each user’s hand and wrist in ways that relieve pain.