Karthik Subramaniam
4 min readMay 27, 2017

This entry is part of an ongoing series. Take a look at the previous entry here.

The sketches were only so much, and the true test for the project’s feasibility came during the computer concept art phase and the subsequent 3D modeling phase. The concept art, which was modeled using exact measurements and 360º views, was created in Keynote using as accurate rendering as possible. After the design was tweaked to meet the satisfaction of all group members, the actual modeling process was done in Google’s SketchUp program.

This took nearly a week to get not only the body, but all of the interior cutouts for the circuitry, in place with the proper dimensions. The entire device had to have adequate room for the panel, two leads that were soldered onto the panel by the group, a rectifier that would exchange alternating and direct current formats, a Lightning cable, and then finally the phone.

All of the mechanics (rectifier, leads, and Lightning cable) would be hidden in a detachable compartment that was part of the arc mentioned above. This 3D model was exported as an .stl file and then 3D printed. The printing process took nearly 36 hours from start to finished product in our hands, and was stunning to behold.

Over the course of the next week, the group assembled the entire device to make sure everything functioned properly. Many issues were found here, including problems from the printing process that didn’t allow for a tight enough fit; these issues ultimately added to the learning process we started as first-time 3D printer users.

I was also able to include my passion for directing with this project by directing a short video showcasing a situation that could call for the use of PowerDock. While not required for the project by any means, this “trailer” was a blast to film during a clear May morning, and gave the entire process the proverbial icing on the cake.

All of these efforts were culminated in a Keynote speech that was performed at the end of the year.

Keynotes have always been one of my favorite parts of watching any product being announced to the world. Many people see presentations as a simple page of bullets that are necessary for conveying information in a drawling manner. I see keynotes as a form of art, a means of visual spectacle meant to entertain while informing. I pour most of my effort into the presentation for every speech I give, and I knew that the way PowerDock was introduced to the audience needed to be special. The product itself was cloaked under a velvet-sheen sheet for nearly half of the presentation, only being unveiled at the perfect moment. Suspense and awe were absolutely necessary, and going through the speech again, I believe that the group was able to create these emotions and communicate all the scientific and design information seamlessly.

The Keynote presentation created for this project. Animations and transitions not included.

However, even as I look at this product now, I can see so much error and room for improvement. But, the things that the group was able to accomplish and the true design process I went through make me ever so thankful I was able to embark on the creation and presentation of this device.



Karthik Subramaniam

I’m an empathy-driven UI/UX designer who focuses on accessibility, well-being, and joy. Check out my work at www.karthiks.xyz