Design Experience That Matters: Here's a Look at Our Build Process


Fabrication is always a blast, second only to field research in the hierarchy of excellent things about working in social impact design. It’s an opportunity to escape our desks, and trade the abstractions of post-it notes and design frameworks for the satisfaction of creating tangible, physical things. 

At the end of last July, our focus on the summer design sprint for our Otter newborn warmer shifted from background research and product positioning to prototype fabrication. We drank lots of coffee and racked up the miles, dividing our time between DtM’s Salem studio and the Autodesk BUILD Space in Boston.

Our goal was the development of the Otter’s “alpha prototype,” i.e. the first generation prototype that integrates both how the product works (warming elements) and how the product looks (user interface and overall aesthetics). A successful prototype would help us test our most critical assumptions about product features, manufacturing methods and price point.

Here’s a look at that build process.

Machining molds with a CNC

Vacuum forming the bassinets

Designing and testing the temperature control system





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