Tag Archives: Therbligs

smart sink

Clever Sink Design Saves Water and Time when Doing the Dishes : TreeHugger

Much like the investigations I competed into Therbligs and Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, this sink looks at streamlining the process of washing dishes. In doing so, the user is encouraged to use the sink in a practical way and requires less water to complete the process. It would also be nice to see the water that drains of the dishes to be re-used in some way like many other sink conepts I have found.

Sink Design that Saves Water and Energy by Juan Howard Image

Sink Design that Saves Water and Energy by Juan Howard Image
Sink Design that Saves Water and Energy by Juan Howard Image


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‘M.E’ Filming Methodology

This is a first draft of the M.E filming methodology. For my research of Micro Events (M.E) i decided to take videos. Here I have begun to establish a method for the videoing. The method will ensure that all of the filming sits on even ground and can be viewed and analysed in a similar fashion.


Capturing micro events will form a large proportion of my research for semester one. I began with trying Visual Sociology in the form of photography and participant observer studies. Quickly I discovered that this method, whilst useful for capturing still shots, could not capture a whole event. Micro events can occur in any amount of time, from 10 seconds to 10 minutes, and I needed to find and establish a method for capturing their randomness. Through videoing I found that I had a more successful medium for capturing the micro events of interest. I think it will also be useful to establish a M.E (micro event) videoing methodology- ‘M.E methodology’ to be followed through all videoing completed. This way, I can analyse the information I gather in context of each other, and establish some formality within my research.

  1. Video

The video should act as an eye to a situation that can be returned to and used for continuous research and inspiration.


  1. Analyse the location of filming. Ensure that there is clear access for videoing and that any objects vital to the film are present
  2. Brief the participant. Explain the action that you are wanting to film and what you will be doing whilst the task is being completed. The participant should have no prior knowledge of other participants results and should be encouraged to play out a normal course of events
  3. Turn camera on and motion for the participant to begin.
  4. Follow participant throughout entire event. Event can be shot over 2 shots if required.
  5. Motion for the end of filming and turn of camera.


  • The researcher should play no role in the film, and be careful to avoid prompting any action or result.
  • The filming itself should be of 1 or 2 shots, clearly showing the event of interest.
  • The film should capture the event, as well as general surrounds and a person’s body.
  • The film should also clearly capture the lead up to the event and the finish, not just the actions of interest. Be sure to capture an entire event, not just snippets.

The film should capture any noise relevant to the situation, including talking from the participant

2. Editing

    Once all footage has been shot, its needs to be viewed and edited for optimal use.


    1. Download all footage to a suitable viewing and editing platform
    2. View all footage
    3. Group footage into tasks
    4. View footage in task groups
    5. Remove footage that is unnecessary and will not be useful to the enquiry
    6. Place selected footage into a video/movie making package (windows movie maker or similar)
    7. Save as movie file


    • Unnecessary footage could include instances of no action- finding a shot, motioning to the participant that filming has begun etc.
    • Footage can be sped up. When the video sequence has been established certain clips can be sped up to make viewing easier. Examples could include walking from one location to another, or running a tap. To be decided at researchers discretion.
    • The film should be a simple research tool. The use of special effects/creative editing is not required.

    • 3. Analysis

    The analysis stage lets the researcher decide upon what he/she will take from the task. This stage transforms the films into the research tools that they are.


    1. View each movie as a separate piece
    2. When viewing take rough notes on key events
    3. Record the events in detail. In writing, discuss their importance and why they are being highlighted.
    4. Watch the video in reference to the idea of time and motion studies (Frank and Lillian Gilbreth). Highlight Therbligs and discuss (specific motions involved in the task) how they could be altered to improve efficiency.
    5. Record ideas or innovations that result from viewing the film. These can be done first in writing and then explored with simple and quick sketching.


    • The notes/discussions/ideas/sketches should be contained within one document that sits beside the film for viewing

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    Micro events

    I have compiled a list of initial micro events from around my house. I plan to now take these to other houses and study the differences with the use of participant observer studies, visual sociology studies, task analysis, time and motion studies and with the use of Therbligs.

    1. Rinsing objects in a colander – can also include rinsing in a sieve/strainer

    2. Quick Hand rinsing/cleaning – Cleaning an item under a running tap. – A quick wash to avoid having to make a pile of washing to do later – Usually done with hands only- sometimes with a dish cloth – Commonly washed items: coffee cups, drinking glass, small plate, knife

    3. Washing dishes – Hand washing – Dish washer washing- pre rinse?

    4. Feeling the water when waiting for hot water to arrive – Holding a finger under the running water

    5. Brushing teeth – Water to initially wet brush? – Rinse brush

    6. Washing hands

    7. Boiling water/steaming (cooking) in a pot – water into pot – water used for boiling

    8. Washing face in basin – with a face washer

    9. Washing pet

    10. Having a quick drink of water – in glass… usually discard some – From tap? – Bedside glass of water.

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    Research revisions

    I began to conduct research at home as a way of testing my methods. Turn out that my methods needed tweaking to get the best results. I am studying micro events. The key word being ‘events’. Define event: ‘something that happens at a given place and time’ (http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=event). The events that I am looking at occur at specific times. With my current method this would see me living within peoples houses for days, weeks even, to capture what I am after. I know what evens I am wanting to study- there are only so many that can occur in a house. On top of my Visual Sociology, I am planning to define a number of events and conduct Task Analysis with the use of Time and Motion studies. Task Analysis is an analysis of how a task is completed. I will define a task- say washing the dishes, and then go to my subjects and get them to complete the task. Time and Motion studies involve studying every action a person takes to complete a task. The goal of time and motion studies, as defined by Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, is to reduce the number of motions it takes to complete a task- make the action of doing more efficient. ‘Therbligs’ or ‘Gilbreth’ spelt backwards, is a word to describe the fundamental motions of a task. Like Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, I plan to describe the fundamental motions of each task and use them when analysing my defined micro events. The use of Therbligs, could help me to discover way in which to use water more efficiently and uncover some design opportunities to concentrate on.

    And another good point from Soumitri; I am studying the face to face users of water- it may be time to also study the producers. Who supplies water? Who sells water related products?

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