How Nikon Designs

Cameras and everything else.  Nikon has historically been known for it’s design excellence for good reason.  The company has a good record for producing the kinds of products that have done well. What’s interesting is that unlike so many companies Nikon hasn’t tried to diversify our of it’s strength in optical products. They are, though very good at what they do.

H/T Solidsmack

Designing a Nikon Camera: Video Takes Us Behind the Scenes of Industrial Design at Nikon

Nikon has been designing great products for a long time. I’ve posted about lenses before.


Of course exploring new markets is important as well.


Nikon is marketing its cameras directly to cosplayers with Cosgenic cosplay photo tip series

Nikon has managed to keep ahead in design, engineering and marketing and as such has thrived by developing markets.  In the lon run this has paid off in high level of company strength.

A Quick Guide To Product Development, Lets Build


Ben Einstein goes through the process for a relatively simple product. This is a good study how his company Bolt, has a process for product development.  Is his process perfect? No, I would approach things a little differently, but his techniques certainly lay out how a well developed process works.  In my experience, no matter how good you are, always have your hair fire extinguisher ready.

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The Things That Are Important To the People Buying Mass Spectrometers

High reliability 90%

Ease of maintenance 90%

Sensitivity 88%

One thing about this is that a TOF mass spec can cost as much as a home, so it’s very understandable that reliability and maintenance are very important.  From a design standpoint it didn’t seem like that was as important to the manufacturers of said mass spectrometers.

In many ways a lot of laboratory instruments seem to be designed and constructed more or less ad hoc from the prototypes the people creating the instruments use to test out their ideas.  There seems to be a tendency to be in such a rush to get the instrument out and being used that people forget that another design round is required where the instrument actually gets used in  the environment that it will be used in.  But the instrument first of all needs to be manufacturable and second, needs to be usable, day in and day out.

That means things like considering how long it takes to change the sources, replace capillaries and clean the skimmer.  How often the vacuum chamber needs to be cleaned.  These are the things that are important to the mass spec users, yet it’s those exact things that get neglected by designers and project managers. When you in the development process, it’s all too easy to chase performance and get caught up in the pressures of product release.

The thinking seems to be that if you skin the instrument with a pretty case and make it look good, the lab people will march up and hand you money.  I’ve seen some stuff that made me cringe marketed at high prices to laboratory people.  I think that the problem is that nobody seems to want to offer alternatives.  Nobody seems to understand that there is a market for turnkey machines that work well and are reliable.  Yet the survey shows that that is exactly what laboratory mangers want.

Forget the fancy industrial designed skins.  Make the source flexible and able to switch multiple probes quickly.  Make replacing the capillary a snap and make it so that the skimmer can be cleaned without taking the entire mass spec apart.  If I ever get the chance to do another mass spec those are the things that I would address first.

Space Suit, Space Suit And More Space Suits


I ran across this blog post recently.  It’s an overview of all the sorts of space suits out there.

I’ve since found an amazing amount of stuff and links, most of which will end up in this post.  I think that, if nothing else, this post demonstrates the power of the internet for research. When I was in school finding information on this scale would have been impossible.

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How NOT To Design A Product

I’ve been around a long time and I’ve seen a lot of junk products.  Still this tablet computer is in a class by itself.

Even as a prototype this tablet computer is a paragon of things you don’t do.  There’s no excuse for the power supply or the interconnects.  The biggest issue is the battery pack.  While the interconnects might be excused not insulating the battery pack is something that can cause real trouble.  Using paper and cellophane tape is not proper insulation.  This thing is a total fail, mwaw, mwaw, mwaw.

H/T EEVBlog.