OTTO came back to FUSE to help them style their brilliant lightweight bike lock. We started with sketches and finished with a complete surface Model to provide photorealistic renderings and ultimately exterior control for engineering.
FUSE named this division of DWFritz and we did the identity design for OTTO.
OTTO came back to FUSE after we helped them with their break-througn iphone app enabled rear deraillieur tuning system. This time they wanted concepts for bike tools. This would certainly complement their tuning system. As you may know, FUSE named this division of automation specialist, DWFritz, and we did the identity for OTTO.
A New Way to Make Shoes
Prior to founding FUSE, Tory worked as an industrial designer within Nike’s Advanced Product Engineering Group or APE. On of the projects was to hunt for new opportunities within the Basketball category. Tory was in a small team that included former Ford Engineer, John Tawney. Tory and John had a dual agenda: Of couse we wanted to uncover a great opportunity for Nike Basketball, but they also wanted to reduce the labor it takes to build a pair of basketball shoes. The team presented a handfull of good ideas including this one that was titled as “Game Day”. The idea was to make a super lightweight shoe that would allow players to practice all week in their heavier training shoes and then jump higher and run faster on Game Day with these lighter kicks. We built the first prototype shoes out of molded EVA only. No heavy outsole, so the shoes were feather light.
The shoes were great but had a too short life span so John put a 4 way stretch fabric skin around the pre-molded form and compressed it. It was amazing. Super light and super strong. A true composite. At a review their boss asked Tory what the technology was called and Tory spouted “FOAMPOSITE”. The name stuck.
Beyond the advantages for better fit, visually Foamposite afforded designers the ability to play with form and really sculpt their products.
Soon after, the project headed to Nike’s Taiwan R and D facility for commercialization. The team there traded compression molding for pour-in- place molding using liquid polyurethane. John and Tory are both on the patent.
Sitting Is The New Smoking
This project was born within FUSE during the time when became widely recognized that standing was better than sitting. This period saw the advent of work surfaces that raised and lowered. These were expensive desks and the other thing is it’s hard to love a desk or at least want to spend big money on a desk. We know you can make a desk from an inexpensive door and sawhorses and most importantly you can put the desk up high to support standing. What is needed is a chair that can support this posture. Even better would be a chair that can go from traditional task height to stool height, maybe even allowing a worker to perch or lean against that chair. Easily done with locking a few casters!
Also, for the facilities managers who must purchase chairs for an organization the Crane chair supports all the work surface heights a facility may have.
We submitted this design to premiere office seating manufacturer Herman Miller (HM) and they picked up on it, flew our principal to HQ and launched a project to build a prototype. The project hit a snag when the HM design manager went on maternity leave but this led to our participation in multiple projects at HM.
When we built Orp, the super smal really cool bike horn/ bike light, we built it to be Remote Ready. Meaning: make a small wired switch that cold be placed under thumb that could go wherever the rider wanted. This simple product makes the Orp experience that much better as you never need to lift a hand to actuate either of Orp’s horn sounds. The REMORP uses a slick dual action switch. Press lightly on REMORP’s bulbous swelling to fire Orp’s loud sound and then press a little harder to fire Orp’s 96dB loud sound. The other cool thing about the REMORP is it provided an update to the Orp product line that worked for all Orps and Orp owners. It’s super neat and you should go to Orpland.com to get one… now!
The Potato Shoe: for All But The Couch Potatoes.
The 4th floor of the Michael Jordan building on Nike’s campus is where all the footwear design happened and while Tory was in the APE group. He got wind that NIKE was working on a shoe for the extreme athletes. In this case, extreme meant all those athletes that had specialized footwear like cyclists and snowboarders, or didn’t need footwear like surfers. Also, contextually important was Tory’s colleague in the APE group was working on FIT (a highly prescriptive problem). While not a surfer, Tory grew up in southern California and attempted to surf a few times.
“You get up early at 4AM and get to the beach before the waves are blown out, and it’s cold. What you need is a “before and after” shoe.”
“Design-wise it sure would be fun to do something that was the opposite of most of Nike’s shoes… something made of one piece that appeared the opposite of a prescriptive fit.”
Tory grabbed fellow designer Steve MacDonald’s outsole to put on his “off-book” upper. It looked sort of like a Sharpe dog but with the four ventilation holes it looked more like a baked potato. The “Air Ida” was born. Steve, Tory and a lot of the 4th floor designers advocated it be built. It was and Heinz, owner of the Ore-Ida brand, threatened to sue. This was great PR. The name was changed to Air Moc and it’s still in the line.
Light Me Up!
Gerber came to FUSE with the problem they wanted to create a line of portable outdoor lights but not include the standard flashlights, headlamps, or microlights. They were looking for provocateurs (or disrupters if it were today). There was also no restriction on the technology other than it had to be readily available. The latter requirement quick solved itself to be battery powered LEDs, but the first requirement would take a great deal of collecting of user experience, brainstorming and conceptualization. Fortunately, we are prolific ideaters (if that’s even a word) and we generated over 150 ideas. With Gerber’s help, we winnowed these down to 5 and came up with a common battery cartridge component that all could use.
Visually all the designs had a common design language built around a hexogonal shape and all them included some sort of dual or multiple purpose that was reinforced by a physical transformation. For example the Hornet Micro Lantern could retract its beehive head into its body and turn into a handheld torch. Also of note is our Hornet Micro Lantern was ahead of its time. This idea of a small LED based lantern is now more commonplace.
Beyond the concepts, we provided surface models for the exterior control for all products, created a few proof of concept physical models , conceptually engineered the mechanical details and also helped name the products.
A design that cuts deep.
Gerber Legendary Bades came to FUSE to get industrial designs for what they called their clip knife line. These are the almost ubiquitous every day carry in almost every Oregonian’s pocket. All have a pocket clip on the back. We created 100’s of designs internally and presented 15 named knives that we felt were the best. 3 of them made it to production but the TRUSS was the most beautiful.
No Fogging Way.
If you’re a skier or snowboarder you know how frustrating it is when everything is right but your goggles are fogged. It was this problem that client Dave McCullough expressed to his friends Howard Russell and Jack Cornelius. These two friends were sort of the dynamic duo of Patent Atty, Howard and Engineer, Jack. The two did some research and came up with a solution that could address this problem: Heated ITO film. ITO is a transparent conductive material that is sputtered onto a clear substrate. By applying a a voltage across this film, the surface heats up and decimates the fog. Having a firm grasp on the physics of fog, Jack correctly theorized we only needed to get the temperature above dewpoint.
Jack built a quick proof of concept with a couple of large lithium ion batteries and a piece of of ITO film. Next, Jack and Howard came to FUSE with the plan to build a ski goggle and challenge the industry. Long story short, FUSE did the industrial design, brought in the electrical engineer, built two generations of prototypes and completed the database for the final production version goggle. We also found the manufacturer and key suppliers and creatives along the way, named the colorways and even named the the company founded to deliver this new piece of equipment. Abom sold out of their first years production.
Be More Splatterproof!
Orp was developed after a spate of fatal right hook vehicle vs. Bicycle accidents hear in Portland Oregon. It seemed like there had to be a way to make bikes more visible to drivers. It seemed a a loud horn could make this visibility happen. Also with this digital platform we could design our own sounds and have multiple sounds. We were really excited and started with just a dual tone horn but got a big “meh” from targeted users. When you look at the circuitry it got us thinking, it would be really easy to add LEDs wyhout adding a whole lot of volume.
Adding the lights made Orp much more intriguing. You ve got to have a light, right? With a slew of positive feedback we launched a Kickstarter campaign and it did fairly well. Our media coverage during the campaign and after production was amazing. Highlights included the TODAY show, Wired and the Wall Street Journal.
It took a year to get us to production Orps. We went to the factory twice during that year. About a year later we introduced the REMORP-Orp’s Remote. All Orps were built Remote Ready.First year sales were amazing there are around 30,000 Orps in the world and stillm its growing.