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My product study will focus on a "smallish stereo-headphone cassette player" (Klein's description of an unfamiliar product,) commonly known as the 'Sony Walkman.'

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Introduction

WHAT IS GOING TO BE STUDIED? My product study will focus on a "smallish stereo-headphone cassette player" (Klein's description of an unfamiliar product,) commonly known as the 'Sony Walkman.' "The Walkman has always been about personal portable entertainment. Underlying this theme is a very strong message of personal music freedom. It gives consumers the freedom to define their music experience by choosing when, where and what to listen. With Walkman, music moved out of the home and into the streets and became part and parcel of modern lifestyle. Music freedom was a message that everyone can relate to. Before long, the world "Walkman" became a household name and every portable device took the Walkman as a role model. The word "Walkman" can now be found in most modern dictionaries." http://www.sony.ph WHY WAS THE TOPIC CHOSEN? When choosing a product to base my study on, the first decision I made was to research a product that I use on a daily basis and was of interest to me. I was motivated to Study the 'Sony Walkman' when I was sitting in the 6th form common room. AS I looked around I saw many people with headphones in their ears. As my eyes followed the thin black wire coming from their ears, they soon settled on a device connected at the end. It amazed me how though the shape, style, materials, and colours varied from one device to another, the primary function of each walkman was the same: to play cassettes anytime and anywhere. I began to think about how important the walkman is to both me and other people, in a day and age where we are dependant on music. Portable entertainment devices such as the walkman have become a commodity which we would find it difficult to survive without, and for this reason it would be an interesting product to study. I chose to look at the Sony Walkman, as oppose to walkmans produced by other competing companies, as Sony was the creator of the original product. ...read more.

Middle

* Automatic tape selector (elimination of normal selection buttons) * Liquid crystal displays (technical look) * Digital electronics (allow radio stations to be preset into memory) * DCS Digital Cassette System (Removal of front window. Information about how much tape has been played can be seen on LCD) * Mega Bass (enhance bass and variable frequency modifier) DESIGN JAPANESE INFLUENCE The Walkman was conceived in Japan. Instead of being influenced by the west when designing the Walkman, Sony stayed closes to home for design inspiration. Sony designers drew upon traditional elements of Japanese design: * Compact size * Aesthetic simplicity * Attention to detail * Miniaturisation and incorporated them into the Walkman. They had a wonderful vision of a purely Japanese product. DESIGN POLICY At Sony, functional and operational elements of design are very important. The walkman was designed to create and respond to consumer needs in a flexible manner. There were three elements of the organization of the design of the Walkman, which the key to its success: 1. Design functions are given higher importance that production activities. 2. Designers have easy access to senior managers. 3. Designers are kept in touch with cultural trends and practices. They draw inspiration from art, architecture, technology, fashion, pop etc. The Walkman was not designed to be merely a plain box that played music but a highly personal possession. MANUFACTURE Developing the innovative Sony Walkman was only the first step in its success. The next step was developing an innovative method of manufacture. Three steps in the manufacturing that determined whether or not the walkman would be successful if it was mass produced: Sony took its first step to setup manufacturing facilities for the Walkman, in Japan, where their people could directly oversee efforts to improve the process. Step two utilizes the creativity and resourcefulness of employees, in finding way of improving the production at the manufacturing stages by eliminating waste and simplifying the production process. ...read more.

Conclusion

From this I have learnt that a successful product needs a great deal of very carefully thought out research, for it to succeed. I have also learned about Sony's 2 fold plan and plan for global consumption which have also contributed to its success. What I have learned about the technological developments, for example the advance in materials technology I will be able to use to my benefit throughout the rest of my design technology course, as I will have knowledge on innovative new cutting edge technology in examinations, which may give me an edge over other candidates. By far the most interesting part of this product study to me has been how Japanese culture has influenced the design of the walkman. It is an amazingly well thought out product and I was totally absorbed in my research when it came to learning about, for example, in which ways a bonsai tree is similar to a Walkman, which I never would have even thought about prior to my study. I hope to apply what I haave learnt about the way Sony have used Japanese culture in their design into my design project where I am designing a Hindu shrine. I will use the information I have found to try and identify elements of Indian design culture that I could incorporate into the design of my shrine. Not only have I thoroughly enjoyed carrying out this study, as it was regarding a product that I am very interested in, I have also developed my researching skills. Whereas at GCSE level I tended to just rewrite information from a single source, I have learnt to gather information from several sources of information and use it to create an interesting study which is entirely individual. In terms of IT skills I feel that my work has been presented a lot better, and looks a great deal more professional than it did at AS level. CONCLUSION HOW I COULD FURTHER THIS CASE STUDY my researching skills. Whereas at GCSE level I tended to just rewrite information from a single source, I have learnt to ...read more.

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