Tangible x Design

Aug 16, 2018 @ 7 p.m. in San Francisco

In this session of Designers + Geeks, we'll look at the design of physical products, from big to small. Our speakers include folks from the industrial design and architecture industries, and they'll share experiences and best practices learned when working with real, tangible stuff.

Our lineup includes Jennifer Dickson, Co-founder & Chief Design Officer of Acre Designs and Greg Aper, Industrial Designer at Whipsaw. We'll be adding more speakers to the lineup soon!

A look at the talks:


Bringing Product Design To Homes

Presented by Jennifer Dickson, Acre Designs

Most new homes built in the U.S. today aren’t all that different from those built 30 years ago, despite rapid technological advances. Using a holistic approach to design, Acre has created beautiful, high-performance net-zero energy homes that produce all their own power, yet cost less than standard construction. Through careful research and engineering, Acre has integrated and refined a combination of systems that work together to achieve extreme levels of efficiency and user comfort. The company utilizes flatpack technology, design for manufacturing, and their patent-pending zeroBOX to deliver advanced housing for less.


Industrial Design in Context

Presented by Greg Aper, Whipsaw

How humans create art, products, and experiences is changing at a breakneck pace, and to be leaders within this evolving ecosystem creatives & technologists need to develop a fundamental understanding of themselves and the myriad of personalities required to produce revolutionary solutions. Greg will share real life examples of what it is like to work with demanding Fortune 50 companies and emerging startups: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Please join Greg for a roller coaster discussion about the importance of empathy set against a backdrop of pop culture and cult classic movie references.

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Jennifer Dickson
Chief Design Officer of Acre Designs

Jennifer Dickson is Co-Founder and Chief Design Officer of Acre Designs, a startup delivering zero-energy smart homes. Jennifer received a Bachelors in Architecture from the University of Kansas, and practiced in the Kansas City area for a decade designing commercial, retail and residential projects with a focus on sustainability. In 2014 she founded Acre with husband and industrial designer, Andrew, and builder Don Newman. In 2016 they moved to the Bay Area to participate in Y-Combinator and launch to the west coast. Jen is driven to find elegant design solutions, honest materials, and inspiration on hikes with their two young daughters.

Greg Aper, ISDA
Director of Business Development & Industrial Designer at Whipsaw

Greg Aper, IDSA, is an industrial designer and the director of business development for Whipsaw, an award-winning Silicon Valley product design firm. Greg has designed and consulted for some of the most highly recognized companies in the world, including Bosch, Philips, Samsung, Panasonic, Google, and Intel.

In his present role with Whipsaw, Greg specializes in the advancement of design through the application of experiential business strategies, empathy-centered problem solving techniques, and interdisciplinary communication. He is currently working with some of the most advanced startups & companies in the world to help humanize and productize revolutionary technologies.

Dave Merrill
CEO of Elroy Air

David Merrill is a technology executive and startup founder with a computer science and human computer interaction background. Alumnus of MIT, Stanford Computer Science and Symbolic Systems. TED speaker. Human-computer interaction expert. Drone builder. His work and companies have been featured by the Discovery Channel, Popular Science, Wired, Aviation Week and the New York Times.

Elroy Air is developing autonomous aircraft systems to deliver goods to the world’s most remote places. Building on the powertrain and perception technology enabling the hybrid-electric/autonomous vehicle revolution, their vertical-takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) cargo transport system can operate outside of airport infrastructure and carries 200+ lbs over 300 miles. Immediate aid and relief in disaster and firefighting situations, commercial cargo by air to expand delivery options, and rapid autonomous resupply for troops in the field. The team is currently 10 domain experts who were responsible for major products at industry-pioneering UAV firms (Airware, 3DR, Honeywell). They are completing the design of their full-scale aircraft while testing sub-scale aircraft and sub-system prototypes, and have strong customer interest from government and big commercial logistics.

Ryan Wickre
Senior Mechanical Engineer at frog design
Ryan is passionate about building great user experiences, and at frog he helps define a product vision from the inside out. His work includes products for startups like BSX, Heatworks, GuardHat, Towerview Health, and Voyo, as well as established brands like Bayer, Honeywell, Mars, and Polk Audio. His work has been awarded the Red Dot for the Heatworks Model 3, the BraunPrize for the Revolver personal wind turbine, along with awards from CES, SEMA, and others.