Meet Michael: The Proto-type
We talk a lot about ideas. Process. Innovation. Sprints. 3Dprinting. And everything in-between. But behind all this talk, are actual people. I sat down with Michael. Our next-level prototyper, and passionate product designer. And we did put him in a corner.
Favorite food: Sushi
Favorite gadget: My 3D printer
Q1: What is your background?
M: I’m a product designer. I studied at HIT ("Holon Institute of Technology") in Tel Aviv, and came to Norway two days after my graduation to be with my Norwegian girlfriend. And from there I started my career at Unikia.
Q2: When did you realize you wanted to work with product development?
M: At the ripe age of ten. I come from a hardworking family, so I had a lot of spare time alone after school every day. That time was effectively spent in my dad’s garage, tinkering with all kinds of things I could find there. He did have a lot of tools and things to work with, so I ended up making my own toys, figuring out everything on my own.
Q3: What do you think is most fun about making prototypes and things?
M: The whole idea. Just going from having a simple idea, to a physical object you can interact with, feel, understand, in so little time. Even after doing it for quite some time, I still thinks it’s mind-boggling. I freaking print ideas all day long, it’s beyond amazing!
Q4: If you where to start doing this for the first time, today, where would you start?
M: Step one would be to get hold of your dad’s (or mom’s) toolbox, and start exploring what everything can do. Your best bet is learning by doing. It gives you a whole other level of understanding about everything. Then test the tools with different kinds of materials in all the ways you can think of. Constantly learn about the characteristics and feel of the different kinds of materials you can get your hands on.
Q5: What do you NEED to know, and what SHOULD you know?
How to ask questions. That’s easily what will get you the furthest in the least amount of time. You need to doubt everything, and take nothing for granted. From there, I would say one of the most important things are the ability to quickly become an expert in the field you’re working with right now.
Be able to describe ideas with only drawings and not words. This will stimulate your imagination and curiosity. There is no need to be «great» at drawing though. As long as you are able to accurately get the idea on paper, visually. The drawings should be self-explanatory after all. Not pretty.
And don’t aim for knowing the results when you start out. For me, the best results comes from when I don’t know the ending when I start. Then it allows for the idea to grow.
And again; Learn the materials. Every material have different abilities, strengths and weaknesses. Some times it can even just be the feeling. Learn to listen to the material, and manipulate it to fulfill your wishes.
Q6: What is the most awesome thing you have ever made?
M: At Unikia, or in general?
P: In general. The most awesome thing you have made in your 10220+ days on earth.
M: Wow, did you just calculate that in your head?
P: No. I put all this in when editing the interview. Please proceed.
M: That’s quite meta. Anyways, back to the question:
It has to be the final project of my studies. It was a completely new way of commercial production with concrete. It allowed the creation of whole bodies from just one part. In practice, I fused the plastic and concrete technology into one. And from there, I made a whole fleet of working, concrete submarines.
Q7: And what’s the weirdest/funniest?
M: That must be a kind of decomposable bio-plastic, made from an invading jellyfish species. They consist of 2-4% protein. And you can manipulate protein into a lot of different, useful things. And let’s just say it didn’t smell nice during that particular research. But it was a lot of fun.
Q8: What are your best tips for young makers?
M: Don’t just run out and buy expensive things. Some of my best projects started out in the electronic waste garbage when I was younger. We didn’t have children-friendly maker tools like littleBits back then though.
That being said, I learned A LOT from taking apart electronic devices, and then putting them back together. It helps you to really understand how everything works, and has been invaluable to me ever since I started doing it. So I strongly encourage future makers to start doing it.