Inside ROBRADY: An Interview with Alexander Hussain
If you are working on a medical product design, what do you look at outside of medical products for inspiration? For example, maybe how cookware works and functions?
When working any new design, I start by learning as much as possible about the core functionality of the product and all of its competitors on the market. Then, after I have a good understanding of the basic requirements, I look for analogies in totally unrelated fields. I am also a big fan of Pinterest, and have a handful of boards where I gather my favorite examples of various products and mechanisms (hinges, valves, latches...yes, I have favorite hinges). I also like to head out of the office and take a stroll down the aisles @ the local Home Depot or Target to get my hands of some actual products that are fresh to the market. The level of engineering in your everyday kids toys or kitchen gadgets can be remarkable, and often leads to unexpected inspiration for medical devices.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
As an engineer, it is my job to develop a product that meets the needs of multiple stakeholders who all have very different, and often contradictory, perspectives – end users, manufacturers, sales teams, distributors, and outside vendors. Finding the unique combination of features resulting in a product that is beautiful, cost effective, reliable, and pleasure to use is the most challenging, and rewarding, aspect of my job.
What’s your favorite product you have worked on and why? Most fun? Most Challenging?
I don’t have a specific favorite project, rather a favorite type a project. I really enjoy projects that allow me to find simple mechanical solutions to seemingly complex problems. I have found that the most clever solutions tend to come from totally unexpected places (for example, I once found inspiration for a mechanism in a medical device used by neurosurgeons while reading about a mechanical control system used in Danish windmills since the 1500’s) – stumbling upon these simple solutions is half the fun!
Fun Fact: When I was in high school I started a novelty t-shirt business called “Optional Clothing” with my best friend. We sold t-shirts out of the trunk of my car (an old forest green Mercury Grand Marquis) to anyone who was willing to listen our pitch until we headed off to college.