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Engineering Design for


Design Brief

Design Stream A Learning Technologies

Design Stream B Dementia friendly spaces and devices
Design Stream C Recycled Building materials

Spring 2016

STREAM A Educational Technologies
Stakeholders at the Early Start Discovery Space (ESDS) have expressed interest in the development
of an experience that will teach visitors about the concept of energy. Whilst this is quite an open-
ended request, staff at the ESDS have suggested that the following could be addressed in the design:
Different forms of energy (e.g. potential, kinetic, electrical, thermal)
Energy sources throughout the ages
Renewable energy sources (and the potential impacts/drawbacks of pollution)
Demonstration of quantities of energy required to do everyday tasks (e.g. pedalling a
bicycle faster or slower to power a light globe more brightly)

The design focus should be on safety, functionality and education, with innovative approaches and
multi-disciplinary solutions expected from the top submissions. The following sections will provide a
brief description of the client, their needs, design constraints and an example design solution
developed by ESDS staff.

About the Client

The Early Start Discovery Space is Australias only childrens museum; targeting children 0-12 years
of age and their accompanying adults to learn through play. Based on the University of Wollongong
campus, the Discovery Space is opened for the general public Tuesday-Sunday with school tour
options available for early childhood and primary school groups. The Space celebrated its 1st
birthday in May 2016 seeing 100,000 visitors through its door in its first year.
With a number of interactive experiences, the Space encourages a hands-on approach for children
to discover and learn through play in all areas such as art, health, movement, and history. The
directors would like to develop a new experience on the principles of energy.
One of the aims of each of the Discovery Spaces
experiences is to have the ability to be rotated or
altered to keep it new and fresh so members and
visitors continue to want to come back. For
example, the shipyard experience houses an 8m x
5m ship which has interchangeable panels that can
be fixed to the outside of the structure so it can be
a pirate ship, a cargo ship or a modern day vessel.
While advertising an age range of 0-12 years, the
feedback the Discovery Space have received is that
there isnt enough for the older children (7 years
and above). This design will ideally satisfy the entire
range of customers; the majority base of younger
(0-6 years), but also the older children who can
understand more complex concepts surrounding
energy. Figure 1 Shipyard Experience outfitted in the pirate theme

Client Needs
The ESDS asks that all design submissions take the following into consideration:

Designs that spark the four Cs: Curiosity, Creativity, Can Do attitude and Collaboration for
our visitors
Modular designs, or otherwise be changeable on a monthly/biannual/annual basis (eg. the
Shipyard Experience)
Tactile, hands-on elements as a key part of the design; for example, levers or wheels that
clearly show an outcome for the mechanical energy expended
Experiences that can involve multiple users, but can also work with only one person
interacting with it
The Experience must be easily maintained by ESDS staff; consider having an element of self-
initiation or automatic reset so visitors can easily reset the experience themselves, rather
than needing staff to pick up pieces and reset constantly
Designs that appeal to all ages catered for at the ESDS: young children can learn through
sensory elements of the design, whilst older children and parents would learn and
understand on a more sophisticated level with the same design.
Flexibility with size, however the MAXIMUM size for the physical design when assembled is
2.5mx2.5m and must be able to fit though a double door to enter the ESDS. This is the size of
the structure only and does not include the space visitors will need to interact with the

Since the ESDS is a place primarily for children, safety is paramount. The design must not contain any
small parts that could present a choking hazard for young children, nor present holes that could
become hand or head traps for small bodies. In addition, the design must be accessible for those in
wheelchairs, and be able to withstand the constant use and rough play from children (dont
underestimate their strength!).
Experiences in the ESDS must comply with the following standards:

Australian and New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 4486.1: Playgrounds and playground
Australian and New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 4422: Playground surfacing - Specifications,
requirements and test methods
Australian Standard AS 4685.1: Playground equipment and Surfacing
Australian Standard AS 1428: Design for access and mobility
Australian and New Zealand Standard AS/NZS ISO 8124.1:2002: Safety of toys
Australian Standard ISO/IEC Guide 50 / HB 136: Safety aspects Guidelines for child safety
Australian and New Zealand Standard AS/NZS ISO 31000: Risk management Principles and
Australian and New Zealand Standard AS 4226: Guidelines for safe housing
Australian Standard HB 89: Risk management guidelines on risk assessment techniques

A good resource to use is the Family Day Care Safety Guidelines available:
Or for more information on standards and access for students can be found at the UOW Library

Site Access
The Discovery Space is only open to adults who are accompanied by children, or children
accompanied by adults however, a representative from the Discovery Space is happy to work with

students on a pre-arranged agreement to give tours, answer questions or to assist with placement of
prototypes under supervision within the Space.

Sample Design
The ESDS have provided an example of the type of design that could satisfy their stakeholders needs:
please note that this is a suggestion only, and creativity within the design constraints is encouraged
to improve upon the design.
One solution would be to have a multi-sided structure, with each side representing a different
source of energy; for example, manual labour, burning of fuels, water/steam and solar power.
Visitors can interact with each side individually or with a group of friends, with the goal of exerting
energy in some form to produce an effect (such as delivering a block to build their side of the
structure, or showing an increase in stored energy via a screen or by raising a mass into the air). The
idea is that visitors can see that different sources of energy take different amounts of work to
produce the same effect they could come to appreciate that it is far easier to burn something than
to pedal a bike in order to power a device, for instance.
This design could be used by a single person or by groups of up to 16, for instance, where children
could race to build their side of the structure. If the sides were colour-coded, a central light could
then illuminate in the colour of the winning team. The experience would cater to different age
groups, since younger visitors would enjoy building with the blocks and older visitors would see the
cause and effect between using different energy sources (the design could perhaps incorporate
some of the advantages and disadvantages of each energy source, such as carbon emission from
burning fuels).
Note that sides of the structure could be changed to represent different sources of energy (e.g.
wind, geothermal, nuclear) to keep the experience fresh and exciting for the visitors. The concept
of building with bricks is also used elsewhere in the ESDS, so an alternative approach may be to
represent the accumulation of energy as other units rather than a physical object; for example, a
progress meter that increases with manual rotations of a wheel, compared to waiting a set amount
of time for a solar panel to produce the same unit.


Burning Fuel
Manual Labour

Solar Power
Figure 2 Example of structure with colour-coded energy sources on four sides: light above the structure illuminates in the
winning teams colour once all of their bricks have been placed.

DESIGN STREAM B Dementia Friendly Spaces and Devices
Dementia describes a range of symptoms which affect behaviour, thinking and the ability to perform
everyday tasks. These symptoms are the result of a range of disorders affecting the brain
( Dementia currently affects hundreds of thousands of Australians. An ageing
population means that this number is expected to increase ahead of population growth. There is a
significant need to consider dementia in the design of public spaces, homes, and devices to enable
sufferers to maintain independence. There is strong evidence that a well designed environment can
have a beneficial impact on the health and function of a person living with dementia.

About the client

There is no specific client for this design stream. You may have a friend or family member living with
dementia, and you may identify symptoms of a specific experience to design spaces and/or devices
for. Alternatively there may be a particular space or technology and you wish to focus on and
explore how it can be possible for a person living with dementia to use this successfully. This is up to
you. A number of personal stories from people living with dementia that may serve as a client or
inspiration for your project are available at
dementia/resources/stories .

Client needs
Client needs vary depending on the specific disorder, social situation and age of the client.
Alzheimers Australia publishes extensive information on the experience of people living with
dementia and specific symptoms. This should be used as a starting point for developing an
understanding of client needs. Experts from the Dementia Training Study Centres at UOW will be
available to respond to specific queries via Moodle.
Examples of space design for improved care outcomes for people living with dementia include:
Improving visual access to important spaces and facilities (toilets, recreation spaces etc.)
Reducing sources of unwanted stimuli such as background noises, alarms, crowded spaces
and building entry points.
Careful management of visual stimuli such as large, clear signage for safe spaces and
reducing visibility of potentially hazardous things such as building exits towards roads etc.
Use of familiar technologies traditional hot and cold taps, door handles, methods for
turning devices on and off.
Use of wayfinding methods to assist person to move through a space or building or external
environment without becoming disoriented.
More examples of evidence based design of dementia friendly spaces is available in Bennett and
Fleming (2013), Designing for People with Dementia, Principles and evidence: healthcare. See

Design teams pursuing a project in this stream must be mindful of personal circumstances and
sensitivities if working directly with a client. Resources available on the Alzheimers Australia website cover considerations for working with people with Dementia, advice
for families and healthcare professionals. This information should be explored to inform the client
brief and a sound engineering design

DESIGN STREAM C Recycled Building Materials
Waste from households, retail centres, industrial processes, and construction is a major issue
requiring constant management. While recycling is common in major cities, the facilities required to
recycle many materials are cost prohibitive in some regional and rural areas. However, when
considering cost from a sustainable development perspective, social and environmental benefits can
result in recycling initiatives that produce alternate benefits for communities.
A local Aboriginal Green Team in the Illawarra region of NSW is interested in producing building
materials for low-cost, low-impact housing projects from locally sourced recycled materials.

About the client

The client in this design stream is a local Aboriginal Green Team who are looking to establish a
community-based business producing and supplying building materials from local waste materials.
The Green Team wishes to run the business as an educational venture to teach Aboriginal and non-
Aboriginal people how to uphold traditional cultural values in modern society, such as:
Caring for country
Shared responsibility of the provision of peoples needs
Working with the local surroundings, not against them
Respecting country and maintaining balance
The client is particularly mindful of the value of foregrounding social and environmental good, and
would prefer to reuse, recycle, and upcycle existing waste products sourced locally in any equipment
that needs to be made.

Client needs
The client is seeking ideas for building products made from recycled waste products which can be
used in constructing low impact housing and community facilities. The client group consists of
Community leaders from the Illawarra region with various extensive experience in business,
government consultation, and community development. However, the client is seeking engineering
advice on potential recycling processes and products. Any proposal must be low cost and meet the
clients objectives of a community-led and run business that has wider educational value.
One device already under consideration by the client is a small scale plastic recycling plant, see
sustainability/plasticforpurpose/. However, the client is open to other ideas that make use of waste
materials readily available in the Illawarra.

Reuse of building materials with Aboriginal communities is commonplace, with many creative
solutions to housing and construction needs already in place. However, issues often arise for new
building projects which must comply with building standards and regulations. The mechanical
properties of reused materials is often unknown and retesting of materials for compliance with
Australian standards can be cost-prohibitive. Therefore, recycling of waste materials to create new
products must produce consistent results that can be tested and quality assured. Standards for
buildings and building materials can be found on the SAI global database through the UOW library,
Safety of devices is also paramount, and any design should aspire to comply with relevant Australian
Standards. Design teams must undertake a detailed risk assessment before embarking on any testing
or prototyping of designs.