Australian industrial design consultancy, Design + Industry Pty Ltd, enjoys a range of design challenges but is particularly proud of its latest products for public use, including a multi-bay parking meter for an international company, an emergency roadside telephone and an outdoor information kiosk for public transport users.
According to the company’s General Manager, David Jones, products developed for outdoor public use are subject to high levels of vandalism, constant use and harsh environmental conditions. Vandalism, fraud and abuse escalate when the equipment holds cash and parking meters in particular are often the innocent victims of someone’s frustration and therefore at risk of harm.
Reino Parking Meter
Security was one of the key considerations in the design and development of the Reino Multi-Bay Parking Meter for Reino International Pty Ltd. “Not only did it have to be resistant to graffiti and other forms of petty vandalism, but Reino also had to withstand attack from drilling, hammering, sawing and oxyacetylene cutting,” said Jones.
To minimise damage a stainless steel plate was used for the double-skinned housing and investment cast stainless steel for the fascia. An added bonus of the stainless steel meant the meters could remain unpainted.
A specially developed ‘through glass’ keypad solved problems of vandalism and waterproofing by concealing both the keypad and display behind 10mm thick polycarbonate. The polycarbonate is a continuous, smooth, sealed surface that enables the user to activate the commands behind, similar to a touch screen.
Jones says an antiprobe device located in the coin slot prevents vandals from inserting foreign bodies into the coin path by sensing when a coin is held up, and a specially designed coin chute provides drainage in the event of fluids or glues entering the slot.
Design + Industry is proud of the international commercial success of the Reino with approximately 5,000 units being produced annually.
Emergency Roadside Telephone
Originally designed in conjunction with Dosec Innovations Pty Ltd for the roadsides and freeways of Malaysia, the Emergency Roadside Telephone (EMT) addresses the hazards of weather, vandalism and security through its durable and robust construction.
The main components of the EMT are a laser cut stainless steel post with two aluminium sand castings used for the top and fascia of the product.
Jones explained that an IP66 rated electronics enclosure protects the workings of the EMT from the ravages of weather – be it monsoonal Kuala Lumpur or temperate Sydney. Vandalism and theft are discouraged though the use of internal fastenings and, where unavoidable, exposed security fastenings.
“Consideration of the physical environment was not the only factor determining materials and manufacturing selection. The chosen process had to also lend itself to relatively low production volumes, preserving quality of finish and economic viability.
“From both aesthetic and production perspectives, the design needed to support versatility of application. In its latest incarnation, the EMT is being designed as Duress Call Stations for various environments such as roadsides, railway stations, car parks, bridges, and pathways.
"These different applications rely on the ability to tailor the EMT to its specific purpose, for example, the ability to change the EMT height, colour, mounting configurations and labelling.”
Developed initially by Tess Murray of Design + Industry, as a University Honours year project, the concept behind THEO (Transport Help and Event Organiser) was to reduce private car travel and the negative effects of pollution, and to encourage greater public transport use.
Murray’s research has shown that Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) are capable of reducing complaints about public transport including irregularities, unreliability and inefficiency. Innovation is already taking place with the emergence of Smart Card systems in Europe and Asia and the introduction of reliable real time information. Now what is required is the infrastructure to support such innovations and make them accessible to the wider public.
According to Murray, the first real time displays are working their way into urban public transport in the form of large format LED displays. These displays are generally designed for train stations, where large numbers of patrons are gathered in one place for one service. But bus stops call for a different interface, requiring input from the user and a custom response from the product.
“THEO has been designed to compliment the proposed introduction of the smart card ticketing system throughout NSW from 2003 to 2005. Mounted to Smart Poles and bus shelters THEO would perform the service of an interactive information kiosk or outdoor ‘refresher point’ for smart cards.
"This product would provide public transport patrons with an interface for their smart card tickets, funds transfer, real time timetables and event co-ordination.”
By incorporating technology such as ‘contactless smart cards’ and proximity sensors THEO will ‘wake up’ when a patron approaches and display specific information for that user, Murray explained.
“The information displayed will be customised for each individual depending on the profile stored on the smart card. From language preference for tourists, to regular route information for commuters, personalised and reliable information will improve the level of service and in turn public transport use.
“While it is intended that the initial market would be the urban transport industry, THEO could be suitable for a wider range of markets including air travel terminals and outdoor events. Once a relationship has been initiated with an appropriate manufacturing partner, the product will enter the design development and engineering stage.”