The station project was initiated and led by mechanical engineering and business. The idea was to place the landing pad that we developed for Mercedes Benz on a structure that will replace the van's battery and payload exchange mechanism. In the first months, the design was not part of the process since I had to work on different assets. The prototype worked well but did not create a lot of excitement among the team. After a long time of not using the station, Andreas asked me if I can skin this prototype.
I had six weeks to work on this from concept to launch and I realized that the skin was only one of the real needs. I thought that the user interaction part needs rethinking, physically and digitally. For example, the box could not be properly taken out of the station due to the Aluminium structure getting in the way.
The M2 development process had started before anyone knew it started.The morning after shipping three M1's to Switzerland for a pilot with Swiss post and SwissAir, I went to my local coffee place to start working. I spilled every insight I had that morning with a focus on criticizing everything.
10 Second sketches
Designing a drone for transportation in 2014 was a different challenge than it is today.Back then, the leading drones in the market were DJI Phantom, used for aerial photography, and drones for military purposes. The drones in the market were designed to either take pictures of people or to kill them. I was charged with the task of designing our first drone. Since Matternet's team didn't include any Mechanical Engineers at the time, I had to take on the responsibility of engineering and manufacturing on top of designing. In retrospective, having design and engineering "live in one person" introduced many challenges (overall affecting the quality of each) but also enabled me to experiment and take on crazy ideas while letting each discipline affect the other.
During my last trip to London for the opening of the new design museum, I visited an exhibition of Picasso portraits at the National Portrait Gallery.
I was struck by Picasso's ability to have so many different sketching styles. I was most inspired by his ability to convey a moment in life, regardless of the specific style he was using:
ten lines or a hundred, pencil or pen, color or monochrome he managed to get across the character and spirit.
The exhibition inspired me, and I walked to a nearby art supply store and bought a small notebook.