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  • Writer's pictureShannen Dorothee Tioniwar

Object Autopsy

For my object autopsy course, I decided to base my project about hair dryers. This is because I feel that hairdryers can be improved further and since most hairdryers look similar to one another, I wanted to change the appearance of hairdryers.

This is an example of a normal shaped hairdryer. I feel that when you ask people what a hairdryer should look like, they are stuck up on this shape in the pictures.

I proceed to open up a hairdryer to see how it works. I feel that the process of opening this hairdryer was easy except for the screw on the surface of the hairdryer. The shape of the screw was very different, hence I had to find a screw driver just for that screw drivers. I think that a hairdryer is not a very complicated item to make as the main components include a heating coil and a electric motor powered fan. To control the settings, there are 3 buttons: the cool button which allows the hairdryer to give off cool air, the heat settings button where you can adjust the heat temperature, and the air strength control. The tools I used are laid out pictures. The joining process of the hair dryer is using screws of different shapes, the material used are injection molded ABS plastic. This is evident due to the seam lines and gate marks which shows where the polymer flows from in the injection molding process. For ABS, there is no need to use any finishing processes, but pad printing is used to stamp on the name and labels. Overall, from this autopsy, I think I know how a hair dryer works vividly.

This is another example of the hairdryer. This time, its a travel hairdryer where you can fold the handle of the hairdryer. Everything was the same as the last one except that they didn’t use exclusive screws to assemble this. Since its more compact, the fan is also reshaped into something smaller in size. I also learnt how the foldable handle works. And in this hairdryer, a mica sheet was places as well to insulate the heat from the heating coil.

I did a market research in waverley station regarding travellers and I also interviewed a few people regarding their preference in hairdryers and if they were to improve the function of hairdryers, what will they improve. Their answers vary but I feel that a travel hairdryer would be something that they have and would bring when they are travelling mainly because of the size and the weight. Also, surprisingly male also uses hairdryer to dry their short hair which is something I didn’t expect. So with that in mind, I decided to design a cordless hairdryer and it should incorporate the usage of a smartphone as well.

To be cordless, you need to put a battery inside. The battery I have chosen is the ones from dyson vacuum cleaner as it can be used for the longest period of time with a relatively similar usage in energy. I calculated the wattage a power bank produced and it is not enough to operate a hairdryer. I concluded that the best rechargeable battery technology to use would be the ones used by dyson.

I also did my research on the different kinds of hair dryer available in the market, and the ionic advantages. I concluded that I didn’t want to use the ionic technology as critics say it doesn’t work, and from my own experience, the ionic technology made my hair dry and damage it in a faster pace than the normal hairdryer.

Other than the battery, I also wanted to add on by adding a thermistor for safety and precautions purposes and a wifi/ bluetooth chip which is used to connect to the smartphone for it to be able to operate.

I made a user journey to show how frequent people(male and female) wash their hair in a week and how long they use it for. I also made sure to show the steps people go through from before using it to when they are done using it. After asking people about when they used their hairdryer, I concluded and made an approximation of the time people use it during the morning and night time.

I made a sketch of the components inside to compare the 2 hairdryers I had taken off. I also identified the components, materials and joining processes they go through.

This is a cordless, rechargeable, EMF free hair dryer which can run for 15 min after each charge. I would consider this as one of the competitions to the product I am about to make. The problem with this hairdryer is that it is sold on ebay and amazon with only one picture shown, always mistaken for an electric toothbrush which can be seen in the comments section, and the color and shiny silver and purple color is not too appealing. I plan to improve these specifications for my product.

Before I decided to use the dyson battery, this was the calculation I did with the power bank. My inspiration to use the powerbank comes from the fan which could operate by plugging into the powerbank. After the calculation I did, it was clearly impossible to operate a hair dryer with this power source as it provides too little battery life in comparison to the power output of a hairdryer. I also considered an apple iphone charger and a mac charger but the voltage is too low, hence takes longer to charge.

So my alternative was this dyson battery. After calculating, it will be possible to use with resistors in use to lower down the amount of current flowing through but with the same amount of power output a usual hair dryer can do.

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