I am a Design Engineer based in London and Zürich. Currently studying at Imperial College, I am developing the creativity, knowledge and efficiency needed in the product design and manufacturing industry. On this website you can find my online portfolio. Click 'More' to see work in progress on my Pinterest page. To download my CV, see below.
Paolo Falco Rüegg
96a Mysore Road
SW11 5SA London
I met Seyi (sosafresh.com) at the Queen Elisabeth Prize for Engineering awards, which Gravity Sketch was nominated for. One thing led to another and I joined the startup for a month before my next year at university. Gravity Sketch is the first mixed reality 3D creation tool designed from the ground up for touch and gesture input. They are striving to make digital 3D creation easier for designers, artists, and makers alike. I worked mainly on content creation for their upcoming Kickstarter campaign, creating animations, clips and (video) renders. Furthermore, I worked with and on their new VR version, which allows for an extremly immersive 3D creation experience.
Below, you can get an impression of what I was doing and working on. Part of the internship also included making this website a bit tidier and better looking.
19% of the UK population have some form of limitation or impairment, and a fifth of these individuals have trouble accessing current public transport. With that in mind, we designed the interior of a novel transport solution for the physically impaired, called AVII (Autonomous Vehicle for Increased Independence). The design specifically caters for wheelchair users, people with auditory and visual impairments, as well as the elderly population. At the heart of AVII is its narrow and compact form, allowing it to park perpendicularly. Due to its dual door design, (wheelchair) users are able to board from the back and exit to the front of the vehicle, without having to perform tricky turns. We started from scratch and did lots of background research, evaluated user needs and translated these into product specifications. Initial concepts were then evaluated and crystallised into the final design (as shown in the title image). The six members of our team then constructed a full-size buck according to a complete CAD model. Please note that this was a group project and not my sole work.
Sensorium is a cross-disciplinary project bridging art and science that creates collaborations across a variety of different faculties of Imperial College London. It is an immersive environment exploring the complexity of scientific pursuit that students of this institution face during their studies. The journey of an individual is conveyed in the mysterious and unfamiliar setting with the spectacular interactive piece at the end. Exploring the path through shadows of unknown to the final reveal, the visitor gains a unique insight of combined engineering, science and design.
I was thoroughly involved in the ideation phase and later on as a tech engineer, working on interactive LED panels. The project was accomplished over six weeks and culminated in the two-day exhibition for Imperial Festival. We had a lot of positive responses and were given a special award for our commitment. Below, you can see some of the impressions of the exhibition, as well as the making of video.
As part of an assignment, we were asked to combine a random brand and product. I was given the brand Hendrick’s Gin and had to design a grass trimmer. This is the result.
The example proves how even the most peculiar products can be made credible by integrating them into a brand image. Likewise, combining unusual brands and products can lead to interesting ideas. Please note that this is a mock-up and does not in any way represent views or interests of Hendrick’s Gin.
One switch, five LEDs and a bit of textual support. Finding out how drunk you are has never been easier. An MQ-2 gas sensor measures the alcohol in your breath. The signal is passed on to an Arduino UNO, which does some calculations with it and turns on the respective LEDs. When the blue one lights up, you smell like this fine bottle of rum.
Self-built guitar pedal inspired by Make’s optical tremolo. The disk in the middle of the picture has a black and a transparent part, with a motor underneath spinning it. Beneath the switch a photoresistor is mounted onto a Japanese coin (they have a hole in the middle so that came in handy). When light shines onto the photoresistor, the guitar signal is inhibited. When the resistor lies in the shadow, the signal passes through normally. Because the disk spins, it casts a spinning shadow onto the wood board and onto the photoresistor. The shadowplay produces a tremolo effect. Works best in shady bars, as the day light buffers the constrast between light and dark. Below you can see and hear a demo of the pedal.
This section is still under construction.
The aim of this project was to create an electromechanical machine that generates sound by integrating machine elements, sound design and technology. My group decided that our machine had to create harmonies, look contained, be sleek and provide nice visuals. The project evolved from these initial requirements to a fully formed idea of two instruments being played simultaneously. In the final design, chimes provide a melodic sound, while the cymbal generates a continuous background noise. The whole machine is controlled by a Raspberry Pi and can be played with through a user interface. Please download the project report here if you wish to know any more about Chymbal. I compiled a few interesting photos and videos to give you an impression of the build. Please note that this was a group project and not my sole work.
The supermarket food database is a Python-based software solution for shops and supermarkets with perishable goods. It facilitates bookkeeping of all the foods on sale at a given moment. Specifically, the software is designed to show expired and expiring goods so that they can be reduced in price or replaced. The user interface is powered by Qt and linked to the Python database via PyQt4. The entries are shown in both a list and on a dynamic map. This project was created for a computing module about linear data structures, algorithms and object-oriented programming. The database uses very low-level data structures such as binary search trees. The source code and user manual are available here.
I collaborated with the University of Zürich and conducted a study about music. More specifically, the study deals with how our brain behaves when we improvise on an instrument. I used electroencephalography to measure the brain waves whilst playing note-for-note and whilst improvising. Analysis of those signals showed that there is a massive increase in the theta frequency range when improvising. The inverse solution of these signals pointed to increased activity the anterior cingulate cortex. The whole paper can be downloaded here. The paper was awarded both within school and by the external organisation Impuls Mittelschule. I was able to present my findings to Zürich's commission on education and to the city board. Furthermore, the paper was displayed at the townhouse and at ETH Zürich.
This is my improved design of a Mini Wheg™. Whegs are a combination of a wheel and a leg and are used in robot locomotion. The main advantage is that the robot is able to climb obstacles greater than the radius of the wheel (which usually limits how high it can climb). This robot only measures 20cm in length and 8cm in width and is modelled mostly off stock parts, and the others can be 3D-printed. I performed full engineering analysis and calculations to determine RPM and torque of the motor required to achieve sufficient locomotion. From there I have designed a spur gear / planetary gearbox as well as the belt drive system. Furthermore, I proposed a novel grab and drag mechanism towards the rear of the robot, which allows the robot to transport other objects. Applications are wide-ranging, such as in cleanups after natural catastrophes. The model was made in Solidworks. Below are some more pictures.
My friend Sebastian and I bought this beautiful old bike out of a barn somewhere on the Swiss countryside for about £300. Over the course of almost two years we stripped the bike down to the frame, replaced what needed replacement and added lots of love. We gave the frame, tank and a lot of other parts a new powdercoat. This project took us ages, just because neither of us had any clue about motorcycles. In the end it turned out that reboring the engine would have probably sufficed to get it running. We realised that after we've taken the whole engine apart. Special thanks go out to almost every motorcycle mechanic in and around Zürich who has helped us get this beast to run. It passed MFK (MOT) and was driven around for about a year. Now a seal in the crankshaft, which in next to impossible to access, is broken. We're thinking to take out the infamous two-stroke engine out all together and replace it with a slightly more modern one.
The razor market is currently oversaturated with short-lived and over engineered products. The brief for this project was to design a sustainable razor within a circular product service system.
Air is a minimal and refillable razor that uses the least amount of material possible. It has an innovative cartridge change mechanism, which is engaged when the two sides are pressed together. The hinges separate and a new cartridge can be inserted, as shown in the picture below.
Other interesting features are summarised below in the annotated concept sketch.
The material choice was brass, as it has a high perceived value and fulfilled all technical requirements. It is also is widely recycled and could be sourced from industry offcuts. Environmentally, Air outperforms the benchmarked product (Shaveclub UK 'Handlebar'), having an 80% lower energy and CO2 footprint, as well as excellent end of life options. The Life Cycle Assessment of Air is shown below:
FEA was used in the design process to test the flexibility of the bent brass. It was found that neither fracture or fatigue failure is to be expected. The flattened surface was first lasercut and then bent to produce the prototype.
Finally, the product was also integrated into a proposed service system. In order to achieve circularity, users would collect and eventually give the used cartridges back for recycling. A rough UI and flowchart is shown below.