Who: Todd Kauranen, IDSA is an industrial designer for DISHER and the Chair of IDSA's Michigan chapter. Based in Ann Arbor, MI, Kauranen has over 33 years of product development experience.
Ann Arbor-based startup Refraction AI came to DISHER seeking an exterior shell to go around their autonomous delivery robot platform. Kauranen was the industrial designer on the project, which included working on the robot's shell and food cavity.
Kauranen supplied the design intent, then designed and built the clay model, working alongside project manager Matt Kramer and mechical engineer Chad Barnes.
After optically scanning the clay model, Refraction took the 3D data to Roush, a Livonia, MI-based engineering and prototyping company, to fabricate and assemble the shell.
The finished robot, called REV-1, debuted on July 10, 2019 at TechCrunch Mobility. It's being tested on the streets of Ann Arbor this summer, with regular delivery service planned for later this year.
"Refraction hired DISHER because of my previous work in my personal portfolio that was similar to their project," Kauranen said. Indeed, his futuristic style (think Bladerunner-meets-Back to the Future) is equal parts cool and accessible—perfect for a robot meant to hold space on a roadway and appeal to people who are supposed to meet and exchange with it on a daily basis.
Visit Kauranen's online portfolio to see his design intent through launch.
As a bonus, check out his vlog recap of the International Design Conference 2019: