Four other students and I founded the Tufts MAKE Club. The MAKE Club is a product design club inspired by Maker Media, which encourages a hands-on approach to problem solving, and utilizes the IDEO and Google design approach. We started the club two years ago and more and more students join each semester.
In January 2013, when we first established the club, we focused on building an Oreo Cookie separator to prototype club management and tool usage. Much like when actually prototyping a device, "prototyping" the club allowed us to diagnose any issues in the way we ran the club team before we start building more advanced and useful technology.
To develop our Oreo Cookie Separator, we first brainstormed using stickie notes. During this process, we organized the stickie notes based on a method of separation, such as the user inserting the cookie into a slot or a mechanical claw picking up the cookie. Some methods were a little more realistic than others, especially given our two month time restriction.
We also categorized the stickie notes based on similar ideas. Some ideas were based on how to insert the cookie into the device while others were concerned with splitting the cookie apart. After narrowing down the many ideas into one, we drafted our idea onto graphing paper, tested it out on some wood and then brought our creation to SolidWorks.
We used a laser cutter to create the device out of acrylic. In our device, the Oreo is essentially locked into an acrylic chamber, with a space where the cream is located. Into that space, we pushed a thin piece of acrylic, which pushes the cream out. We tried multiple shapes for this crucial piece, such as a rectangle with a sharpened edge, one with a circular crevice and one with an inward v shape.
The shape that worked best is the one shown, the outward v shape. While it was fun to go through the design process from start to finish, I am even more thrilled since we opened up the club to students, taught them different skills and guided them to build a project of their interest.