I took a summer intensive Product Design course at Parsons School of Design during the summer of 2016. I explored the product design process through problem solving, integration of essential skills such as drawing and rendering, and iterative prototyping of three-dimensional forms. As students we worked both individually and collaboratively in a studio environment to create prototypes for utilitarian products and a project book documenting our research and process.
For my project, I wanted to explore the logistics of creating an invention that I had thought of. It would be an earpiece that you could wear and it would allow you to understand any language spoken to you. Except as I talked to my classmates and professor about the device and what functions it aimed to have, I realized that I was solving a very narrow problem. Language is about connecting people and this device was only serving the single user.
I took a step back and reframed the problem I was trying to solve instead of focusing on how to create a product I had already envisioned. The real issue I was trying to solve was overcoming the language barrier. With a new direction I began designing and modeling a device that is portable, intuitive and useful. Its shape and user experience draw from storytelling and campfires. You simply set the two languages and the device translates between the two languages in real time for all users to particpate. Babbl centers on being a device to gather around and connect people, regardless of what language they speak.