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10.2 Scientific or technical curiosity

Some inventors understand a scientific phenomenon and set about inventing a technological device to exploit the phenomenon.

The invention of the laser grew from the interest of two researchers in studying the structure and characteristics of a variety of molecules. During the Second World War, Charles H. Townes worked on developing radar navigation bombing systems. After the war he had the idea of modifying the radar techniques and using microwaves to study molecular structure. Subseque
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5.1 Introduction to key concepts

Before I go any further I will establish the meaning of some of the key concepts that you will encounter throughout this unit.

The key concepts elaborated in this unit are:

  • inventor

  • invention

  • design

  • product champion

  • entrepreneur

  • improver

  • innovation

  • dominant design

  • robust design

  • lean design

  • radical
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Introduction

Pictures speak louder than words. But how can you use diagrams to help you? This unit looks at how diagrams can be used to represent information and ideas about complex situations. You will learn how to read, draw and present diagrams to help illustrate how ideas or processes are connected.

This unit is from our archive and is an adapted extract from Systems thinking and practice: diagramming (T552) which is no longer taught by The Open University. If you want to study formally with us
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12.1.1 Survey questionnaires

Questionnaires are lists of questions that enable information to be gathered efficiently from a relatively large number of respondents. Most questionnaires require a fixed type of response, such as a choice between available answers, or along a scale of response. For example, a product design questionnaire might suggest, ‘I found the product easy to use’ and provide a five-point scale of response from ‘agree strongly’ to ‘disagree strongly’. Or a question might be, ‘how often do
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10 User research techniques: observing users

This section introduces an alternative to basing user research on yourself. This is observation of experienced and inexperienced users either in experimental or natural situations.

One way around the difficulties of basing research on oneself is to observe other people acting as users and to choose naive or different kinds of experienced users, depending on what information you want to gather.

Begin by identifying those experienced users who will be able to provide you with releva
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9.1.1 Point of view

Decide first of all which user's point of view you are taking: consumer, operator, maintenance person, and so on. You may want to make several trips, from different user perspectives, or try special user perspectives, such as that of a disabled person. It is usually easiest to take a consumer's trip because you may need special permission, access, and perhaps skills, before you can take any other.


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8.1.1 Visibility

Recall that a key usability design feature identified by Donald Norman – from his analysis of using everyday objects such as doors – was visibility. An everyday object such as a door, or a control such as a button on a product should appear to be obvious about how it is used, and indeed it should perform that obvious function. For example, is it obvious how you insert a disc into a player? Is it obvious how you switch the machine on, adjust volume, and so on?


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8.1 Making usable products

This section reveals that many modern products need to usable by our minds as much as our bodies. Products need to be understandable, and present information and feedback in meaningful ways.

A lot of ergonomics research is aimed at establishing guidelines, standards or rules that can be applied by designers in a variety of situations. Where this applies to the physical use of products, much of it is based on standard body measurements. These body measurements are known as anthropomet
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4 Who are the users?

This section reveals that ‘users’ can include a wide variety of people – not just the final purchasers or consumers of a product. The section also makes the case for strong user representation in the design process.

Of course, it is not only me who uses the various products in my home; other people use them as well, both members of the family and visitors. Sometimes the range of users of a product, and their different needs, can be diverse. And in addition to the obvious or intend
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5.9 Membrane filtration

Membrane filtration is a process whereby particles smaller than about 10−2 mm (which can pass through sand filters) are removed using synthetic polymeric membranes and a high pressure. The membrane effectively acts as a sieve.

It is increasingly becoming popular as an advanced treatment process for water (especially for removal of Cryptosporidium) and wastewater (where water reuse takes place), and various possibilities are:

  • <
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5.7.1 Mixed oxidant gases system

This is a relatively new system of disinfection. It involves electrolysis of high-purity NaCl brine to produce a mixture of chlorine dioxide, ozone and hypochlorite. This mixture is separated within the electrochemical cell by a membrane, or by exploiting density difference, and is then metered into the water requiring disinfection. The mixed oxidant gases are generated on demand and this is a great safety advantage, compared with having storage tanks of chlorine on site. The source for the d
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3.4.1 Plant nutrients

Plant nutrients are necessary in varying amounts for the growth, reproduction and well-being of growing plants.

Of the major nutrients of plants, nitrogen and phosphorus are important growth-limiting factors in primary production (i.e. they are likely to run out before any other element needed by the plants). Both nitrogen and phosphorus enter watercourses from natural leaching by water of the soluble nitrates and phosphates found in soils and rocks, as well as from sewage effluent and
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Learning outcomes

After you have completed this unit you should be able to:

  • differentiate between and describe dissolution, degredation and corrosion as they affect the deterioration of structural materials;

  • predict electrochemical behaviour between dissimilar metals;

  • explain galvanic corrosion in terms of the electrochemical series;

  • distinguish between the hoop and longitudinal stresses in a pressure-vessel wall, and specify them in terms of the press
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References

Burroway, Janet (2003) Writing Fiction: a guide to narrative craft, 6th edition, Harlow: Longman.
Byatt, A.S. (2001) The Biographer's Tale, London: Vintage.
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1.1 Creating characters

Activity 1

Click on 'View document' below to read the first few paragraphs from Novakovich's chapter on ‘Character’.

8.4 Hinduism in eastern India: religion in Calcutta

The Hinduism of Bengal, as in other regions of India with their own languages and distinctive historical traditions, has absorbed and retained many local elements which make it peculiarly the Hinduism of Bengal. The city of Calcutta has exerted its own considerable influence upon the surrounding region. Calcutta, the capital of West Bengal, was founded in 1690 originally as a British trading post on the Hugli, a stretch of the Ganges (or Ganga), a river sacred to Hindus (see Author(s): The Open University

Learning outcomes

By the end of this unit you should be able to:

  • assess the specific problems concerning the health of a community;

  • describe how medical knowledge was a resource for, and was shaped by, broader cultural perceptions of the body.


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1.5 Further reading

Battersby, C. (1989) Gender and Genius: Towards a Feminist Aesthetics, London, Women's Press.

Kris, E. and Kurz, O. (1979) Legend, Myth, and Magic in the Image of the Artist: A Historical Experiment, New Haven and London, Yale University Press.

Soussloff, C.M. (1997) ‘The artist in nature: Renaissance biography’, The Absolute Artist: The Historiography of a Concept, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, pp. 43–72.

White, H. (1990) Content
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References

Ayer, A.J., 1954. ‘Freedom and necessity’, in Watson 1982, 15–23.
Butterfield, J., 1998. ‘Determinism’, in Craig 1998.
Craig, E., 1998. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, London and New York: Routledge.
Chisholm, R.M., 1964. ‘Human freedom and the self’, in Watson 1982, 24–35.
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2.1 Introduction

We use the words ‘conscious’ and ‘consciousness’ in a variety of ways. We talk of losing and regaining consciousness, of being conscious of one's appearance and of taking conscious decisions. We speak of self-consciousness and class-consciousness, of consciousness-raising activities and consciousness-enhancing drugs. Freudians contrast the conscious mind with the unconscious, gurus seek to promote world consciousness and mystics cultivate pure consciousness. These various uses reflect
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