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Design Brief

The goal of this design project was to reverse engineer a motorized household item in a way that makes it better based on actionable insights discovered through research and user interviews. Improving the sustainability factor as well as the user experience was also an important factor in this project. I chose to redesign a pedestal fan in a new, innovative, and sustainable way.



Innovate a new design based on actionable insights found through user experience research and survey data

Pedestal/standing fans are outdated, inefficient, take up storage space, and most likely end up in a land fill after a few years.


How does a pedestal fan work?

The fan has variable speeds and oscillates using a four bar mechanism

Power Cord

Electric Motor


Fan Blade


User Experience

Survey Data

Do you care about the aesthetic of your fan?

Has your fan ever broke/been replaced?

Which room is your fan most commonly used in?

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User Experience Storyboard

Exploded view

Actionable Insights

1. Aesthetic

Rather than evolve an outdated design, innovate a new form that is inspired by wind and nature and brings the essence of outdoors, inside.

2. Sustainability

Using biomimicry, design a new fan blade that moves air more efficiently so less energy is used when the fan is in motion.

3. Storability

Design the fan in a way that is compact and portable. This will not only reduce the storage space but also the amount of packaging needed.


I drew inspiration for my product design largely from nature, but more specifically the Lily Impeller (as pictured above). 

Jay Harman & the Lily Impeller

When I was researching biomimicry and trying to find a fan in nature that I could imitate for my design, I came across the Lily Impeller, designed by Jay Harman over the course of 20 years

Jay Harman designed the Lily Impeller for the purpose of a boat propeller, originally. This design at only 6 inches tall can circulate millions of gallons of water and is currently used in water tanks around the world. The nature of this design is much more efficient, so I decided to use it in my design to save energy with a low-power motor.


While the Lily Impeller was originally designed to circulate millions of gallons of water, the hydrodynamic properties are still applicable to aerodynamics.

At low speeds, such as a fan blade, many of the rules in both aerodynamics and hydrodynamics are similar. This is because of the compressibility effects. Air compressibility doesn't become a factor until Mach .9 - 1.2, which is where the rules change drastically. 

If a Lily Impeller form can move water more efficiently then there is no reason that it can not do the same with air.

¹ Barlow, J. B., Rae, W. H., & Pope, A. (1999). Low-speed wind tunnel testing (3rd ed.). Wiley.


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