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ICED 11
Papers

Exploring the Evolution of a Mousetrap

Exploring the Evolution of a Mousetrap

Year: 2014

Section: Teaching Design Education Methods

Editor: Erik Bohemia, Arthur Eger, Wouter Eggink, Ahmed Kovacevic, Brian Parkinson, Wessel Wits

Author: Gunnar Gundersen

Series: E&PDE

Institution: Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Norway

Section: Teaching Design Education Methods

Pages: 676-681

ISBN: 978-1-904670-56-8

Abstract

This paper contributes to a pedagogical approach to teaching design related to social development by presenting and discussing the technical-solution and design evolution of a simple, everyday product. There is a need to explore the influence of social developments on approaches to product development and design solutions. It is important that students experience and observe how social conventions influence design. This paper investigates whether the evolution of the mousetrap has been driven by highly pragmatic and ergonomic influences or by certain social developments influencing how the (Western) world behaves towards fundamental questions, such as the issue of death. A case study of mousetraps focuses on what has been a principal solution of mousetrap construction from the first patented trap in the early 1900s to the latest models: a stroke against the neck of mice. How has the evolution of this solution been expressed in the objects? Immaterial values are reflected in the traps, and this case study shows how social norms can outweigh technical and ergonomic considerations in product development. Describing and analysing the history of the trap and considering relevant theory can have an impact on design students to reflect more on the market and social awareness. Using specific and typical examples from the history of the mousetrap and visually showing how the development of the trap over more than 100 years will contribute to understanding the complex issues involved in simple, everyday objects.

Keywords: Anonymous design, simple everyday objects, evolution, influence on the design process

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ds conferenceE&PDE 2014 16th International conference on Engineering and Product Design

E&PDE 2014 16th International conference on Engineering and Product DesignThe 16th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education will be hosted by the Faculty of Engineering Technology of the University of Twente in Enschede, the Netherlands. The conference is organised in partnership with the Design Education Special Interest Group (DESIG) of the Design Society, and the Institution of Engineering Designers (IED). The conference brings together representatives from education, design practice, industry and government agencies that have an interest...

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Special Interest Group (SIG)Design Education

Design EducationTo bring together academics, designers, training professionals and others throughout the world who have an interest in design education at the tertiary level....

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SIG Workshop - March 2013 - 1