New product design and development is a vital factor for the continued existence of almost every company or corporation. It is through research and development that improvements of an existing device or a new discovery can occur.
Being aware of other competitors, the ever-changing preferences of consumers and due to the incessant technological advancement and growth, it is a necessary tool. An R&D department enables the development of valuable and helpful new products.
Just take a look at James Dyson, founder of the company with the same name. Dyson developed thousands of prototypes before arriving at the perfect one. He is best known as the inventor of the Dual Cyclone bag-less vacuum cleaners.
It was in the late 1970s when Dyson had the idea of using cyclonic separation to create a vacuum cleaner that would not lose suction power as it picked up dirt. But his breakthrough came more than 10 years after the original design; his advertisement campaign was based on the fact that it did not require the constant purchase of replacement bags, unlike most his competitors. The catchphrase ‘say goodbye to the bag’ ended up being more appealing to the consumers than the previously used campaign, which was based on its suction effectiveness. Paradoxically, the preceding trend in domestic vacuum cleaner design had been the introduction of the disposable bag. It was the improvement achieved by Dyson’s R&D team at the time.
The Dyson Dual Cyclone turned out to be the best-selling vacuum cleaner ever manufactured in the UK, even outselling the products of some of the companies that discarded his idea as a possible winner. Nowadays it is one of the most popular brands in the UK. By 2005 Dyson’s vacuum cleaners were leading the market in the United States by value, although not by number of units sold.</p>
The same year Dyson integrated the wheel ball from his Ballbarrow concept into a vacuum cleaner, generating the Dyson Ball, claiming it makes it easier to manoeuvre.
The Ballbarrow, released in 1974, had a spherical plastic wheel with a moulded plastic hopper. Winning the Building Design Innovation Award just three years later, this concept stayed until 2005 and the release of the DC15 vacuum. Today, James Dyson tops the list of the richest people in the West, with a distinctive fortune of £1.45 billion.
Another interesting R&D team that seems to be non-stop in innovations and improvements is Microsoft’s. Its first incursion into the gaming console market was the Xbox. It was released on November 2001 in North America, and early 2002 in Japan, Australia and Europe as part of the sixth-generation of gaming, competing with Sony’s Playstation 2 and the Nintendo GameCube.
Later, in November 2002, the integrated Xbox Live service started, allowing players to play games online with a broadband connection. Approximately 250,000 subscribers signed up within the first two months of Xbox Live’s launch. It was this particular feature that made Xbox so trendy those days, since most critics affirmed that Xbox Live had a superior online experience than PlayStation 2’s.
Now Microsoft’s R&D department is working on a project designed to push the limits of the “immersive display experience”, patent the company applied for in 2011. It describes a system that gives a “peripheral image” from the television screen into the room occupied by the gamer. “IllumiRoom” is a proof-of-concept engineered to push the frontiers of entertainment beyond the TV, merging our virtual and physical worlds with projected visualisations.