Riding a bike!
The gas prices are not going to go down any day, we need to exercise often and stay in-shape and cars just add on more to pollution. So it's about time to get on those bikes that are just lying in the garage.
Riding a bike on a busy road is often considered not-so safe, since bikers have to share the roads with other vehicles, increasing the accident chances as hearing a bike horn is next to impossible.
The solution to this one huge problem is a horn which is loud enough so that it could be heard even on a road where almost every vehicle is honking and it is... Orp.
Orp is a multi-tone horn with LEDs, developed by Tory Orzeck, an industrial designer from Portland, Oregon. It was after a series of some bike accidents in Portland that inspired Tory to design Orp. Orp is a small and gone-green horn with a set of LED and is powered by a rechargeable lithium battery. It produces 76dB to 96dB sound.
Orp is currently being crowd-funded on Kickstarter. Read on to know more about Orp in our exclusive interview the brain behind it, Tory Orzeck.
1. Hi Tory, please introduce yourself to our readers.
Hi, I'm Tory Orzeck, I'm a former GE Plastics and Nike industrial designer (highlights include: Air Moc, Air Footscape, co-inventor of Foamposite) and now run FUSE, a boutique (small) ID firm in Portland, Oregon.
We are very eclectic, we do all sorts of product design work, from footwear, to office furniture, to sporting goods and electronic enclosures for large established companies as well as start-ups.
2. What is the concept behind this product and what inspired you to design the Orp?Like most industrial design projects, Orp started with identifying a problem. Here the problem was cyclists were getting hit by cars and worse, in-city trucks.
Part of the problem is poor infrastructure design but that would be hard for an ID guy to solve. A cyclist can literally be invisible to drivers especially in their highly insulated modern car bubbles. Further, many of these "cagers" are on their cell phones even more distracted.
So, I started very high tech and do have something that's coming but it’s not ready to show… sorry for the tease.
Just to get on the map, we need to make cyclist more visible and or more "hearable". Sound really is an undiscovered country and I knew there were ways to be really loud and really small. I always wanted to have this attenuated sound as you always need to adjust volumes depending on where you are and who you need to alert.
Once we had the sound making device we ran some tests and it turns out the power consumption was super low. I had also started to talk to more riders in the field, just asking questions and actually some people scoffed at the idea as they felt their mechanical bell was adequate. Without a live prototype, I could not really argue. Then I just looked at our circuitry and decided we should put some LEDs on it. No brainer, you have to have a light!
This seems like a pretty cool concept: light and sound in one super small product!
3. Please tell us about the technical features of the Orp. What design challenges did you have to surmount to get the product to fruition?Big deal about Orp is its dual tone horn and its super intuitive WailTail actuation. The trick is doing it in a really small package.
We found a nice robust way to do it and its part of our patent.
Sound is a challenge as well. Getting 100 decibels is tricky as there is a formula, but we still have made probably almost 20 chambers to test the sound. We have a 3D printer, so that helped.
Next, sound design is huge and creating a sound even more challenging.
I worked with two sound designers. We started with Bells, Birds, all sorts of synthetic and mouth made sounds. Really the first part of the job was just creating this huge stew of sounds and then picking out the few choice ones and blowing those out. I really wanted something that was new, not just a digital copy of a bike bell. At least for the friendly sound.
Our sound emitter requires a fairly high frequency so for the loud sound the goal was to be super loud and we started with a horn.
I mentioned the feedback right, even now we are still tweaking this sound.
As for the LEDs we went through a few different manufactures and built a variety of lens geometries. Again, there is some math already available but you have to make everything and test.
4. I really love the fact that Orp is rechargeable, one can easily recharge it with an USB which means no more battery wastage. What inspired this go green idea?I always liked the battery free, rechargeable proposition, but at the start, I had been fixed on the idea that we needed to run on triple A batteries because if you're on a long ride out in the middle of nowhere you need to be able to run into a convenience store to grab those batteries. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that Orp was more ideally suited for commuters and day riders. Riders sharing the roads with cars all the time.These are riders that are using the lights in the mornings and evening and are able to recharge easily every few days either at home or at work.
The other big deal, and I think this is huge, is the rechargeable prismatic cell lets Orp be really small.
5. How do you plan to promote Orp? What do you think is the ideal mix of social, online and offline promotion? What about word-of-mouth promotion?
Websites, blogs, and social media. The bike specific blogs are great as they all know the problem we're trying to solve.
Although, I've got to say, Kickstarter itself attracts a lot of people directly, mostly product geeks like me, my team and maybe your audience. So, I was amazed at the number of backers we received directly
Also, we have a backer in Portland that’s put up some "Lost Cat" like flyers for Orp. Super funny!
6. The concept of Orp has received appreciation by the people. How does it feel? What is the biggest compliment that you have received for designing Orp?It’s great to get some validation for the project, but even better is we get real time feedback before the product is done so we can still tweak it. The worst/best thing is when I had some insight that I thought was a big deal and then it was debated internally and left out of the product we're getting feedback now that suggests it should be included. The lesson here is to exceed expectation and go with your vision… always!
7. What other designers do you look up to? If you could peek inside the toolbox of any one other contemporary designer, whose would it be and why?
Historically, Charles and Ray Eames as they took new materials and processes put them useful everyday items (furniture), Ron Arad, he's an amazing designer/artist that does this amazing furniture and I think he's immortal as I've heard of him since I was in school.
More currently: Audi and BMW design teams, Apple’s Jonathan Ive and team, Dyson's team if it’s not Dyson himself, Tinker Hatfield at Nike, Norman Foster architecture.
8. Personally, what activities do you enjoy in your free time? Are you more of an indoor or outdoor guy?
I run, I bike, play tennis, hike but not nearly enough at the moment. Usually get up to Mt. Hood, our local dormant volcano, a few times a year to snowboard, though I kind of suck.
And mostly I work, though design is not so much work but just what I like to do. I think designers are fortunate in that.
9. What are your future plans, both in terms of Orp and for yourself?
After we get funded, Job 1 will be commercializing Orp and fulfilling the orders. We also have a bunch of future Orp products we want to make so, we'll get going on those.
10. What advice would you like to give to aspiring and budding entrepreneurs/designers?
Do your homework, get a good intellectual property attorney to make sure you have something that can be protected.
Also, get all your good ideas and pin them on the wall. Decide which ones have the highest priority
whether it's because of resources/what you think you can pull off, or numbers of people that may use your concept.
Ask yourself, "does the product have legs for future products". I say all this because whatever it is, it will be fairly consuming.
Finally, work with a good team. Debate and argue over the product. Question everything but hold on to the peculiarities that make your product memorable.
Thank you Tory for taking out the time and doing this interview with us. We'd like to wish you and your Orp team the very best for the future.
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