Concept Refinement & Elevator Pitch

Following on form my last post regarding concept generation, this post will detail the now refined single concept that I intend to go ahead with.

The platform acts to facilitate the gathering of insights from both, internal and external, NCR sources. Internally the platform facilitates the cross communication of NCRs employees, in aid of tackling companywide issues in a selection of multi-disciplinary areas. Discussion topics are generated by NCR employees and are open to all, a tagging system allows for participants to target specific people or groups in a hope to generate individual interaction.

The second aspect to the platforms insight gathering is internally managed, however acts to gather external insights (VOC). This aspect gathers the key insights from NCR’s customers through the utilisation of the currently active channels in place between them, and NCR’s customer facing stakeholders (Accounts, Sales, and CEs). Objectives are assigned and managed by a governing body (product development teams), that target the groups or individuals most valuable to the specific objective.

In addition to insight gathering, there is a strong personal collaboration aspect to the platform thought the use of an extensive profile builder and reward point system. The reward point system is used to incentivise the users into continued and motivated participation of the platform as well as to build social capital within the company. Through gamification and the presence of a leader board it is speculated that users will compete to provide valuable content that are actionably rich.


Elevator Pitch

“NCR Voice” is a new platform that allows employees to gain social capital through the gathering of insights. Insights from both internal NCR employees and external customers and consumers are gathered through employee cross communication as well as the currently active channels in place between them, and NCR’s customer facing stakeholders. Kudos is then received for each uncovered actionable insight, acting to build the users social capital and company recognition.

I now intent to create a map of the interface structure of both a mobile and web-based device. Following that I will create a series of paper sketch prototypes to illustrate the interfaces and how the connect together.


MozFest15, a Memoir

The Mozilla Festival 2015 was held over 3 days, last weekend. It was my first time and I can say due to the events that unfolded, it won’t be my last. The weekend consisted of a fast paced build involving roughly 500 cardboard boxes which were assembled into a library, a garage, a garden and many other structures.

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After the build stage there was a sort of science expo, this gave me a sense of whet the weekend would consist of. There was many many screen based products, tackling the web in many strange and wonderful ways. This was great, as my experience with screen based design is self-admittedly lacking. I was at MozFest of course in an educational sense as well as to promote myself as a creative designer. so this gave me the opportunity to increase my understanding and confidence in a new field.

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The next day it was time for me and my colleague (Sylvester) to present U-WAVE. We were based in the “Garage” section of the “Global Village”. So first thing we built the structures we were going to be presenting in and around out of the hundreds of cardboard boxes that we had constructed the previous day. After that was done we started talking to people about our project. As I stated before most of the presented projects were screen based, this meant that our tangible project was a big hit. Many people took great interest in U-WAVE and even returned with their friends to show them what we had created. The biggest interest came from teachers and tech savvy creatives, there was lots of questions like “so I can make this?” and “Can I use this in my class?”. I’m happy to say that many people were inspired by U-WAVE and that there was a lot of promises of people making their own radio using our tutorial.

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I love to learn and something I am not proud about is my lack of knowing when it comes to screen based interfaces. I partook in a workshop by Cyber-Ducks own Danny Bluestone and Benjamin Maugain on the second day of the event. There workshop was based around (UCD) User Centred Design in the context of App generation. Through this workshop I learned what techniques you must undergo in order to create an effectively designed experience for the end user.


Finally myself and Sylvester presented and displayed U-WAVE at the closing expo at the end of the day. During this event U-WAVE gained more interest than ever before. We even had someone say “I saw this online the other day! It’s BRILLIANT. I’m making one for sure!” it was a great experience to see so many people excited about the work I was doing.

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The event as a whole was a great success. I was able to learn new skills as well as hone my presentation skills. On top of all that I was able to meet many interesting and passionate people working in extremely interesting fields. I will be back next year to present again I’m sure, however next time I intend to host at least one workshop to share my experiences and skills.

Open-Source and Final Build

From the start of this project we have been planning every step to coordinate with Mozilla’s open web ideology, a state of thinking that I share. I decided to make the project available to all by publishing the step by step build process online for free. The website that I used to do this is called; it is a completely free platform in with anyone can publish their step by step project online for open access. I had some experience of Instructables before, I actually published my process in create my own FM Radio back in 2011. Please follow this link to view my Instructables account.

I split U-WAVES step by step build process into 11 sections. These sections can be seen below and can be found in detail by following this link

  • Downloading the OS
  • Choosing you Radio Stations
  • Developing the Interface
  • Laser Cutting the Radio Body
  • Build the Raspberry Pi Cases
  • Fitting the Electronics
  • Building the Radio Sides
  • Putting it All Together
  • Veneering the Radio Body
  • (Optional) Finishing Techniques
  • Finished Radio!


I feel that creating open-source content is an essential part of what we must do to further the creation and education of creative technology. With the current technology that exist it is easy for anyone to build and create anything that their minds can dream up.

Finding a Form

Now that the OS is working we can start to develop the radios physical form.  The sketch prototypes below were quick examples to demonstrate size and placement of features. It was important to us to decide of size as a starting point, this was possible due to us having already established all the technology that must be housed inside.

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We then laser cut a Dukta style piece and played around with the form. We were able to come up with many different variations using this piece and it allowed us to move on our concept with each attempt. As can be seen below the forms we were focusing on were tall rather than wide and had one large speaker with a small screen above. We decide whilst prototyping the form, that the speaker and screen should be angled upwards in order to allow for a better user experience and sound direction.

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I looked into many different interface examples, ranging from the most simple icon based layouts to the more complex multi-level set-ups. Some examples of these can be seen below. The main thing I learned from looking into interfaces is that the more functionality you have, the more difficulty the user has using it.

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From looking into interface design and how the user interacts with them I came to the conclusion that our radio would have a simple icon based interface.  from our previous research into radio stations we knew we wanted six displayed in total. this allowed for a simple interface without any difficulties due to the screen size only being 3.5″ across. The image below is of the finished interface (displayed on a Computer screen) that myself and a good friend Petr Chutny developed. I personally have limited web development skills and so I called on a friend that I have worked with in the past. Using his experienced skills and knowledge he was able to develop this interface form me without any trouble. The interface is now hard-wired into the Musicbox server (Raspberry Pi 2) so that all external interfaces will display our new interface.

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What Radio Station?

We decided quite early on that we did not want the radios interface to be a cumbersome array of dropdown menus and extensive login details. Because of this I decided to create a short one question survey online, asking the public what the favoured radios station was. After a week we reviewed the results and they can be seen below:

What Radio Station Statistics

We then cross referenced the results with the national statistics for the most popular radio stations by, million, listeners every week.

  • BBC Radio 2 = 15.1
  • BBC Radio 4 = 10.5
  • BBC Radio 1 = 10.4
  • Heart FM = 8.9
  • Capital FM = 7.1
  • BBC Radio 5 = 5.3
  • Kiss FM = 5.2
  • Smooth = 4.6
  • talkSPORT = 3.0

the results gave us our top six:

  1. BBC Radio 2
  2. BBC Radio 4
  3. BBC Radio 1
  4. Heart FM
  5. Capital FM
  6. Absolute 80’s

Dukta Process/Laser Wood Bending

We are interested in creating a radio that doesn’t resemble a standard radio. Using the laser cutter you can place strategic cuts in order to make the wood more malleable and bend with ease, this process is called Dukta. Dukta was founded during a CTI research project in 2007 and is now used all over the world as furniture, interior decorating and art pieces. This process for wood bending is very versatile as the piece in question actually maintains its strength. One of the most important quality’s of a good loudspeaker body is its ability to absorb sound and diffuse it. This process of diffusing sound reduces the amplification of the negative sound waves, which would otherwise distort the sound of the speaker. Dukta systems have been designed and developed for acoustically-sensitive rooms such as recording studios, cinemas and concert halls and Dukta walls have been confirmed as a highly absorbent product by the EMPA Schweiz (Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology).


Below you can see one of our first attempts of creating a Raspberry Pi case using this process. We intend to use this process of wood forming to create our final radio design. Be doing this we will create a piece that looks pleasant as well as provide a key core function.

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Processes: 3D Print vs Lasercut

Because we are developing this radio as “Open-Source” we would like to make every stage available for download, including the Manufacture of the physical radio form. The best way to do this is by using a digital fabrication tool such as a laser cutter or a 3D printer.


3D Printing

3D printing is great; it allows us to craft part that we would be unable to by any other means. As can be seen from the images below the detail that this process can go into is extraordinary indeed. 3D printing is on the rise and it is a very exciting field, this makes it a great asset to present at MozFest. It is also a great may to develop the open source aspect of the design as it can be created using just a couple of files. The down side to 3D printing is that it’s very expensive at times and the lower cost materials and machines can only produce a substandard piece. I have used 3D printers a few times and I feel that the part always appears cheap and not very attractive. As our radio does not have any parts that we will be unable to make by any other means I doubt we will use a 3D printer in our manufacturing process.

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Laser Cutting

Laser cutting is a fantastic process that I use on a regular basis. The process is great because you can create an extremely accurate piece without creating a great deal of mess, in record time. The process is also great for our open source dialogue as the design can be published in hopefully just one file. Because of the fast paced outcome that can be generated from a laser cutter, it makes it a great prototyping tool. You can generate a great deal of prototypes to demonstrate every physical attribute of your design with ease. We intend to use a laser cutter actively within our design process, both within the final piece and the prototyping stage.

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We started with developing a Mood Board around radios in both the home made and consumer fields. this mood board can be seen below

Mood Board Image

I have had an extensive look on-line at example of people building their own internet radios. Sites like Instructables give detailed accounts of their process and some common themes have emerged. There are many examples of radios being built out of old radios with the insides removed. This process allows for more freedom if you do not have access to a 3D printer or laser cutter. The most common process however does involve using a laser cutter or 3D printer. I believe that this process is more valuable to us due to its open-source nature. Using a 3D printer or a laser cutter we could simply put the files up onto an Instructables page our self and create an easy to use open-source dialogue. Many of the Instructables examples are very clunky and basic, they look cheap and I believe that this is the problem with the current open source processes available. The intention with our design is to not look out of place on the shelves of John Lewis.

Mood Board 2
Mood Board 2

I took a trip to John Lewis to have a look at their current product line. I feel that desk research is great if you need quick and easy information, but nothing beats actually physically interacting with the product itself. John Lewis displays a great deal of stylist and on trend products, because of this I always use them to gain a perspective of the current market trends. The styles of radios that are popular at the moment seem to all have a real wood “wrap”, as can be seen below in my photographs. This style acts in parallel to the contemporary craft scene that is so popular at the moment and it makes perfect sense to use this form of styling in our piece. I intend to prototype some of these designs to see how appropriate they feel in the context of our design.

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Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi is a 3.5 inch Linux driven computer system that acts much like the computer I am writing this on now.  You can plug a keyboard, a mouse and a monitor and off you go, the really special thing about Raspberry Pi however is that it only costs £30(ish)! The fact that the device is so low cost means that makers such as myself can interrogate a computer system into things without a huge price tag. Would you like your fridge to message you when you run out of milk? How about a friendly notification to tell you that granny has got home from the shops safely? Anything is possible with a Raspberry Pi, if you know what to do with it.

I will be using Raspberry Pi as a server to stream music from the internet and to the speakers in my Open-Source Internet Radio. As an internet radio doesn’t just simply pick-up radio waves, the application of a computer system is essential. The device must connect using Wi-Fi to the internet and stream music without having to look it up.

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