P17431: St. Joseph's House Shelter Improvements
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Systems Design

Table of Contents
MSD I & II MSD I MSD II

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Project Photos and Videos

Imagine RIT

Team Member Roles Definition

Meeting Minutes

Phase 1: Problem Definition

Phase 2: Systems Design

Phase 3: Preliminary Detailed Design

Phase 4: Detailed Design

Phase 1: Platform Lift Design

Phase 2: Systems Re-Design

Phase 3: Detailed Re-Design

Phase 4: Integrated System Build & Test

Phase 5: Customer Handoff & Final Project Documentation

Purpose

The purpose of the Systems Level design phase was to methodically work through an organized ideation and concept evaluation process. In the Systems Level design phase, we went through the following steps:
  1. Ideation (concept generation)
  2. Development of evaluation criteria
  3. Preliminary feasibility analysis
  4. Concept evaluation
  5. Selection of concepts for detailed feasibility analysis
  6. Risk assessment

Relevant Documentation

"Live" documents relevant to this phase of the project can be found in the Systems Level Design Documents directory. Images of these documents are embedded in this page, but in some cases the documents are quite extensive and are best viewed in their "live" form. Documents describing the systems-level design include:

Project-planning documents relevant to this phase of the project can be found in the Project Management directory. In particular, see the:

Team Vision for System-Level Design Phase

Summary of tasks scheduled to be completed in Phase II.

Summary of tasks scheduled to be completed in Phase II.

Functional Decomposition

The team brainstormed an exhaustive list of all the functions that St. Joseph's must perform in order to serve the homeless population of Rochester. From the "master" list of functions, a subset of functions were identified that correspond to the Customer Needs identified in Phase I. The functions were organized in a tree structure, which is shown in the image below. The "live" document (in the Microsoft Visio .vsdx format) can be found here.
Tree structure illustrating the functions that must be performed by St. Joseph's in order to serve their guests.

Tree structure illustrating the functions that must be performed by St. Joseph's in order to serve their guests.

The function tree of the functional decomposition was created with the holistic view of St. Joseph's House of Hospitality based on benchmarking research, engineering requirements, and project data/objectives. The overall function of St. Joseph's is to provide services to the guests of the shelter. The functions required for St. Joseph's to provide services were categorized into three areas: providing hospitality services, providing shelter services, and accepting donations. This was further broken down into subfunctions of services that St. Joseph's provides, which can be seen in the third level of the tree in the color yellow.

There was no need to investigate all the branches of the function tree as the scope of the project (defined by the Customer Needs) was specific to the shelter operations. The three main functions that were investigated include the "set up shelter" branch, the "clean up shelter" branch, and the "provide storage" branch (see functions outlined in red above). From the set up shelter branch, the main end function to analyze was accessing the sleeping materials from storage. From the clean up shelter branch, the main end function to analyze was returning sleeping material to storage. And from the provide storage branch, the main end function to analyze was storing units.

Benchmarking

There are many existing products designed to solve the general problems facing St. Joseph's: namely, storage and portable bedding. A review of relevant technologies is shown below. For each technology, a brief description is given, along with the target user, a summary of the advantages of each technology, and the approximate price range of each product.
A comparison of existing technologies designed to address the general issues of storage and sleeping. The top row shows technologies related to sleeping, while the bottom row shows technologies for storage.

A comparison of existing technologies designed to address the general issues of storage and sleeping. The top row shows technologies related to sleeping, while the bottom row shows technologies for storage.

Concept Development

Our first step in concept development was to create a mind map. The team laid forth their thoughts and ideas in a stream of consciousness, and the mind map was used to capture and organize the thoughts as they were voiced. The thoughts were organized according to which aspect of the project they pertained to: materials, storage, or bedding. The organization of the mind mapping was derived from the triple Venn diagram technique suggested by Dan Harel. However, the suggested categories of user, markets, and technologies were determined by the team to be a poor fit to this particular project. The "markets" category was a particularly poor fit to this project, and was therefore abandoned entirely. "Technologies" was split into two categories: technologies related to storage and technologies related to sleeping arrangements. Although the category "users" was not used in organizing the mind mapping, the mind mapping was conducted with the user in focus. Note in particular that materials were linked to the concepts of "soft" and "strong", providing for both user comfort and safety.

"Mind map," showing the thoughts of the team related to materials, storage technologies, and sleeping arrangements.

After the mind map had been created, the team began an ideation process both individually and as a team, sketching out their ideas in order to more clearly formulate them. The better examples of sketches are shown here.

Three concepts for storing the beds upon which the shelter guests sleep: a

Three concepts for storing the beds upon which the shelter guests sleep: a "jungle gym" with tiers of beds, a kitchen table that doubles as a bed frame, and wall-mounting mattresses.

Cabinets for storage: the half-height cabinets store folding mattress when the mattress are not in use, and double as seating for hospitality guests. The tall cabinets are for storage of personal belongings.

Cabinets for storage: the half-height cabinets store folding mattress when the mattress are not in use, and double as seating for hospitality guests. The tall cabinets are for storage of personal belongings.

A collection of several design concepts. Clockwise from top left: stackable

A collection of several design concepts. Clockwise from top left: stackable "jungle gym" beds with integrated cubbies for storage of personal belongings; hanging beds suspended from ceiling; hollow kitchen tables which store folding mattresses; another concept for cabinet/bench storage; benches for sleeping and storage.

Morphological Chart

From the functional decomposition, concepts were generated for each of the functions through the use of a morphological chart. This method allows for creative brainstorming to generate ideas without limits to imagination. Each of the functions were individually considered in order to ensure that there were no limits restricting team members from coming up with ideas. The "live" document (in Microsoft Word .docx format) can be found here, and contains all concepts generated for all of the functions in the function tree.

Although the morphological chart was completed for all the functions from the function tree, the scope of the project (based on the customer requirements) only includes the shelter operations. After going over the morphological table, the main functions of set up for the shelter, clean up for the shelter, and storage were further brainstormed with a holistic view in order to merge ideas to redesign concepts.

Subset of the morphological table showing concepts for the functions contained within the project scope.

Subset of the morphological table showing concepts for the functions contained within the project scope.

The concepts outlined in the table above were used as inputs to the concept selection process.

Preliminary Feasibility: Brief Analysis

A brief, high-level feasibility analysis was conducted to support the concept evaluation and selection process. First, the team recognized that some concepts in the morphological table were obviously infeasible, if not impossible. For pertinent examples, note the storage carousel proposed for the "Store Units" morph key, and the anti-gravity system proposed for the "Return Sleeping Materials" morph key. These concepts were automatically excluded from inclusion in the concept selection process, to avoid wasted effort.

In order to assess the concepts that were generated, selection criteria were created based off the customer needs in order to ensure that the concepts would meet the customer requirements. Below is the updated list of the selection criteria.

Selection Criteria Customer Needs
Low Cost SA4/SA5
Low effort to install St1
Durable SA4
Lower effort to clean up/ set up SA6
User (guest/staff) safety SA6/S4/S6
Ease of use SA6/S6
Space (Floor footprint) efficiency SA2
Comfort/ergonomics SA7
Ease of access S6
Security (for storage only) S4
Cleanliness SA8/SA10
Amount of Storage S2

The team discussed all the concepts in the morphological chart, brainstorming use scenarios of each concept and identifying shortcomings and strengths of each design. From this, some concepts were removed from consideration as the ideas did not meet the basic requirements. The remaining concepts were used for the Pugh's Selection Method.

Concept Selection

To determine which concepts the team would further research and pursue, a Pugh's Method table was created. Pugh's Method works by first listing all of the proposed concepts across the top of the table. In our table, each concept is a combination of one "storage" concept and one "bedding" concept, and all possible combinations are listed. Along the left side of the table are the selection criteria, which were determined by the team based on the customer requirements. A single concept to which all of the other concepts will the compared, the "datum", is then selected. All concepts are graded based on the selection criteria, and given a + (better), - (worse), or S (same), compared to the datum. A +1 is given for every '+', -1 is given for every '-', and a 0 is given for every 's'. The total is computed for each concept column, and totals are compared across all concepts. The Pugh's Method table is shown below.
The Pugh's Method table created to evaluate the concepts generated by the team. Higher total scores, indicated by green cell formatting, indicate more promising concepts. The five highest-scoring concepts are highlighted in yellow.

The Pugh's Method table created to evaluate the concepts generated by the team. Higher total scores, indicated by green cell formatting, indicate more promising concepts. The five highest-scoring concepts are highlighted in yellow.

For our table, the combination of aerial storage and cabinet benches was used as the datum. The Pugh's method identified one top-scoring concept, with four other concepts tied for the second-best score. Our highest scoring concept utilized a cabinet system along the interior building step and a cart to efficiently store items in the storage closet. Other high scoring concepts included moving cabinet benches, wall mounted beds, and staircase-style cabinetry. The team will take the highest scoring concepts to further pursue and try to utilize the positives of the other concepts.

Detailed Feasibility: Prototyping, Analysis, Simulation

Space Efficiency

The most critical aspect of system feasibility is the issue of space: can the proposed solution sleep at least 20 guests in the given floor plan, yet still be packed away to allow for hospitality operations? Therefore, a space efficiency study was conducted on each of the top concepts, to ensure they can at least conceivably meet the customer requirements. The question to be answered by the space efficiency analysis was: How much space/floor footprint will our concept utilize?

Assumptions

Analysis and Results

The approximate floor plan of the shelter was overlaid with shaded areas representing the approximate space utilization of each concept, in both the "sleeping" and the "stored" configurations. The results of this analysis are shown in the detailed feasibility analysis document. This analysis was performed for each of the top five concepts. Shown below is the analysis results for concept 3, which consists of rolling benches with internal mattress storage, and wheeled carts for storage of personal belongings. The areas shaded in gray show the space usage of the system when the beds are all set up, ready for shelter guests. The areas shaded in black show the space usage when the beds have been stored, ready for hospitality guests.
Estimate of the space usage of a system consisting of rolling benches with internal mattress storage, and carts for storage of personal belongings.

Estimate of the space usage of a system consisting of rolling benches with internal mattress storage, and carts for storage of personal belongings.

Set-up/Clean-up Time

Further feasibilty analysis is planned to answer the question: How much time will it take for the concept selected to set-up/ clean up the shelter? This analysis will involve prototyping and simulation:

Visual Appeal

A third analysis will focus on the aesthetics, visual appeal and comfort of the proposed system. This analysis will answer the question: What type of design is going to be the most appealing to the guests of St. Joseph's House? This analysis will be based on prototyping and benchmarking:

Systems Architecture

The systems architecture (shown below) describes how materials and people will interact with the system. Each rectangle represents a function that the shelter must perform in order to provide shelter to its guests. The white arrows with blue outlines describe the inputs and outputs to each process. The yellow arrows trace the flow of material through the system as guests arrive at the shelter, spend the night and leave in the morning. The blue arrows trace the interactions of shelter staff and guests with the system. Note that the systems architecture is solution-independent at this time, because multiple system concepts are still being considered.
The systems architecture, illustrating the interactions of people and materials with the system.

The systems architecture, illustrating the interactions of people and materials with the system.

Designs and Flowcharts

Rough CAD mockups were created of the top five concepts, to assist in visualizing the shelter room during sleeping operations. Shown below is one of these concepts. Images of each of the concepts can be found in the CAD folder in the Systems Level Design Documents > Concept Sketches directory.
CAD rendering of the highest-scoring concept from the Pugh Matrix, rolling benches with internal mattress storage and carts for storage of personal belongings.

CAD rendering of the highest-scoring concept from the Pugh Matrix, rolling benches with internal mattress storage and carts for storage of personal belongings.

Risk Assessment

The risks associated with the project that were defined in the Problem Definition phase were re-evaluated at the end of this phase. The severity scores of the risks previously identified were updated based on the team's improved understanding of the problem and the ideas that were put forth for mitigation. In addition, new risks were added that had not been previously identified. The risks added during this phase of the project are denoted by numbers highlighted in yellow.
Risks assessment, updated to reflect research, brainstorming, and conversations with the customer conducted during the systems design phase. New risks were identified, which are denoted by a yellow highlight behind their ID number.

Risks assessment, updated to reflect research, brainstorming, and conversations with the customer conducted during the systems design phase. New risks were identified, which are denoted by a yellow highlight behind their ID number.

Plans for next phase

The image below shows the tasks to be completed during the Preliminary Detailed Design phase of the projects, the due dates, and the responsible person(s) for each task.
Summary of tasks for the Preliminary Detailed Design phase of the project.

Summary of tasks for the Preliminary Detailed Design phase of the project.

As before, each team member developed an individual team vision outlining the specific tasks they will complete to help the team reach its shared vision. The individual visions can be found in the Phase III Individual Visions document (Microsoft Word docx format).