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Single Session Design

Single Session Design

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Single-Session Design:
Design Methodology in Compressed Timeframes
Derived from the Robot Rivals Television Series

Graham Robert Byrne Henshaw

Thesis submitted to the Faculty of the
Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Science

In
Mechanical Engineering
Dr. Charles F. Reinholtz, Chairman
______________________________________
Dr. Alfred L. Wicks
Professor William Green
_______________________________
______________________________
Ap ril 30, 2003
Blacksburg, Virginia
Keywords: Rapid Design Methodology, Rapid Design Process, Television
ii

Single-Session Design:
Design Methodology in Compressed Timeframes
Derived from the Robot Rivals Television Series

Graham Robert Byrne Henshaw
Abstract
The purpose of this study is to document the design process as it is

adapted to compressed timeframes. I have termed this adapted design process single-session design. This study will also explore the application of this type of design methodology in industry where the research and development phases of products are continually being compressed.

The primary research for this study is extracted from the examples of

rapid design observed repeatedly on the Robot Rivals television series on the Do It Yourself network. The scope of this television series is a competition between two teams of engineering students to design, build, and operate a robot in a

single day. The show yields an ideal platform to study the design process in a
highly adaptive and compressed form. This study will show how the design
process can be adapted to function in a fast-paced situation.

The design process in general has been studied for quite some time.
However, to date there is no focused research on a specific design methodology
that is intended for extremely short-term projects. This research provides insight
into the situation where significant time constraints stimulate creativity and

ingenuity in designs.
iii
Acknowledgements
If not for a number of people this work would not have been possible. I

would like to thank Dr. Reinholtz for restoring my desire for graduate education by involving me in a project that brought me back to Virginia Tech. If not for his excitement and willingness to explore new frontiers of engineering, this research would have remained one of the many ideas floating around my head. I thank Dr. Reinholtz for his tireless efforts in getting this project off the ground and his continued excitement throughout the process.

I would also like to thank Professor Bill Green for encouraging me to stick
it out with Mechanical Engineering even when it seemed impossible, and
convincing me to add to the madness a minor in Industrial Design. Bill Green\u2019s
enthusiasm for design was an inspiration through many tough times in both
mechanical engineering and industrial design.
Conversations with Dr. Wicks have also been an inspiration in both my
graduate and undergraduate studies. His unique personality has always put me
at ease.I would also like to thank those involved at Rivr Media and the Do It
Yourself network who allowed a curious engineer to poke around their
television set for a season. If not for them, there would have been no research at
all.
Finally, I could not have gotten this far without the constant support of
my best friend, Laurel Suiter, who compassionately endured my stressful
semesters for the last five years with the utmost patience and love. I am forever
grateful.

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