|OLEDs can illuminate stairs|
GE challenged the students to conceptualize designs that would take advantage of two key attributes of GE OLEDs: flexibility and thinness.
Some of the real-word applications for OLEDs that students envisioned were:
- concealed, under-shelf lighting for retailers
- flexible signage for advertisers
- illuminated stairs for architects
- light-up wallpaper for decorators
- illuminated safety outerwear for emergency services personnel
|OLEDs on clothing|
The CIA students delivered hundreds of concepts that are now under review with product management and researchers at the company's Nela Park facility in Cleveland and at its Global Research Center in Niskayuna, N.Y. GE projects its first commercialized OLED products will be introduced in late 2010 or 2011.
The students' imaginative perspectives take center stage in a video that GE debuted at LightFair International 2009 in May. It is viewable at www.YouTube.com/GELightingFuture or directly at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYwgjEYzBH4&feature=channel_page.
The process of idea generation
Working with Douglas Paige, associate professor of industrial design at CIA, and students in a "Future Design Center" class, GE conducted a series of "design ideation" or idea generation sessions. The students were asked to develop feasible application concepts using OLED technology.
Matthew Beckwith, designer in residence at CIA, says part of the process of understanding the client's challenge is to go out in the world and find out what has already been done and what has been successful. "It's really important to get the students hands-on to make their ideas relevant," he notes.
Beckwith says the GE team, led by Jason Raak, GE's OLED program marketing manager, pushed the students to think freely and conceptualize without limits or concern about viability. Beckwith notes, "Our approach allows crazy, big ideas to surface before the class shifts gears and begins to craft all that creativity into something that's relevant for a client, and ultimately, consumers."
"Year after year, a primary objective of the class is to put our industrial design students in a consultative role with area companies," says Paige. "Our work with GE was a perfect marriage."