Praxis II (Environmental and Societal Effects)
In first year, I had the privilege of being able to demonstrate my communication and team building skills for my Praxis I and II courses, more specifically Praxis II. The project focused on identifying a community in the GTA and frame an opportunity through research and direct interaction with the stakeholders in order to improve their lived experience.
As stated by the list of CEAB Graduate-Attributes, our group used investigation, problem analysis, design and use of engineering tool to make a thorough and well thought out decision as to how to tackle a community problem.
In short, we came across a retail fabric store (G&S Dye) that had trouble rolling, unrolling, measuring, cutting as well as storing and organizing fabric rolls. Our team sat down and made use of several engineering tools to be able to create, select, apply, adapt and extend appropriate techniques, and resources.
My team and I recognized the opportunity –> did background research –> diverged towards potential solutions –> ran solutions against requirements –> converged on potential solutions –> discussed and validated solutions with stakeholders –> prototyped different solutions to verify against requirements –> chose a definitive solution –> verified solution through prototyping.
In order to get to this, result we had to frame, diverge, and converge. Our team also made use of pugh charts and pairwise comparison in order to choose a better alternative.
The fabrics that we had to work with weighed twice as much as the Ontario regulations for max weight a worker should be allowed to carry and therefore it had the potential to cause injury in the store. An injury meant that medical facilities had to be used and as I learned in MIE315, every single object used in the hospital has some effect on the environment. Therefore, we took that into consideration before coming up with our solution.
Full document of our Request for Proposal (RFP) can be found here.
Our team created several designs but finally came up with a double Ferris wheel rack design that could hold 46 rolls and both Ferris wheels meet at the plane of the table and each ferris wheel can be locked in place to ensure smooth unrolling of the fabric.
The prototype was built using recycled and recyclable material which included cardboard, used coat hangers, used Styrofoam, and used clothes hanger parts. It was built up to 75% scale but was fully functional and served its purpose. Having such a product would save the store from any health or legal issues that could’ve resulted due to injuries from carrying or moving all the unorganized fabric rolls and from the unnecessary blockage it caused in the store, a possible fire hazard.
This entire project required myself to work effectively as a member and leader in my team. I had to be able to work in any different setting as my team required be it talking to our stake holder, diverging and converging, framing, designing our prototypes, 3D CAD our design and/or building our prototype. Our team visited the store multiple times and had at least 3 group meetings per week for 5-6 weeks to discuss potential ideas and work on solutions.
Personally, I feel as though I have been testing my competence in my ability to communicate, work within a team and act professionally since I started my undergraduate studies but every year I learn new things either through repetition or through experience. I realize that although I am confident enough to be able to take part in a lead role for several large projects, there is always room at the top for improvement and I shall be working day in and out to achieve that.