Following on from the second Viva, I must say that I believe the presentation went rather well. Prior to this I was feeling that if I failed to communicate the research, the advantage (Moonsnail) and the direction of this project, I would surely lose all confidence. I decided that for overkill, I would print off all of the research documents I have which came to a solid 60 pages of secondary research. Whilst presenting for the five minutes I gave Theo the documents to glance over.
The key point for my project currently is giving the hermit crabs an advantage over others, my ‘in’ being the moonsnail acid secretion which eats away at the natural shells creating drilled holes within the shells, the hermit crabs then require new housing.
Advise given to me following the presentation:
- Primary Research – Contact Marine Biologists.
- Research more into the moonsnail acid.
- Solely focus on Hermit Crabs.
For the presentation I researched into many different species, Birds and Insects. Looking back a few days on, I am glad that I am now just focusing on the one species, I believe that if I followed up of a number of species the project would become complicated and confusing.
Now, I have been developing a few concepts for the shape of the shells and the potential products that can be used with the shells in its first life. These were shown during the presentation:
One problem that could arise from this project is the shell ergonomics itself, as I am designing my product to be viable as a shelter for a crab the ergonomics need to be perfect for the crabs to accept it. From research into an existing project by Aki Inomata I found that the best way to get a digital three dimensional model of an existing shell would be to use a CT scanner. I am hoping to find a way of using one in the coming weeks to use existing perfect ergonomics for the shells that I produce.
The aesthetic of the shell will be a key factor for the project, the material arguably the most important as it will be restricting the moonsnail from drilling holes in the shelter. I have spent the past few days drawing and rendering concepts, the first four shells show different possibilities including some geometric shells. The thinking behind this? Well seeing as I am attempting to replicate natural forms, I believe it is important for me to show that the shells are indeed man-made and one potential way of doing so is by using harsh straight lined geometry.
Now moving forward, whilst concept designing an idea struck me, instead of changing the ergonomics of the shells inside to accommodate the products we would use, what if I changed the way in which we packaged our products to accommodate the ergonomics of shells. I began to think about a support structure which replicated the abdomen of the hermit crab which wraps itself within the shell. This is shown below, my favorite being the concept on the left hand side:
Moving forward with this idea and feedback from peers, it was suggested that I designed many iterations of the concept, this way I could then decide following on from the concept stage which idea I wanted to move forward with. Good advise.
So as you can see, the concept for a different packaging could really only work with products which have the consistency of a paste or liquid. I went to Theo with this new ‘sack’ concept and I believe he somewhat liked the idea, It replicates an organ of sorts.
This concept shows the sack without the shell, it gives you a visual idea of the ergonomics of the Hermit Crab. I believe that the best thing for me to do now is continue concept designing and researching for the 8th of November. A part of me is thinking about changing the outside of the shell so it is not recognized as a shell, something less obvious whilst keeping the ergonomics of the interior safe and accessible for its afterlife.
I have already emailed a few people who I believe will be able to help with the project. It was suggested that I email other universities within a proximity to Cardiff Met as it allows for a collaboration of research and projects. Currently I have yet to hear back from the individuals but I hope there will be an update for the next time I update this project on here.
Going forward now, I must begin deciding on material choices for the man-made shells. I must research more into the specific type of acid the moonsnail uses so I am able to appropriately choose the material.