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Inventing the clockwork radio


FPT (Design specification): Write a list of specification points that the designers were probably required to work around when designing the radio.

FPT (Product analysis): Redraw the Freeplay 360 radio and identify the design features that you think could be improved. How could these improvements be made?

DMA: Identify a typical customer for the radio in its present form by carrying out some market research. Using the results, identify a target group to whom the product does not appeal and try to redesign the radio for the market you have identified. Using a standard radio circuit, build a prototype of your final radio design.

FPT: A number of electronics companies now make wind-up radios. Why do you think that they have decided to market a similar product to the Freeplay radio? What are the limitations placed on manufacturers who develop similar products to those currently on sale? How do designers and manufacturers overcome these problems?

FPT: Five different wind-up radios have been developed by the Freeplay organisation since 1995. Find out as much as you can about the different designs and describe how they changed over time. Why do you think these changes were made?

FPT (Product analysis): Identify and explain how the designers have reduced the cost of manufacturing the radio. Does this have a negative impact on the final product?

FPT: Using a range of different electric motors (as a generator) and a hand drill (or similar drive system), determine what factors affect the power output of an electricity generator.

FPT: Brainstorm other energy sources that could be used to generate electricity, for example wind and water power, or the potential energy of a suspended weight. Devise a series of experiments to test the suitability of each form of energy. Compare the results against the output of the coil spring used in the radio and produce a viability study for the tested sources.

FPT (Research): Investigate how a radio works and what advances have been made in radio design since its invention over 100 years ago.

FPT: Investigate how power for the wind-up radio could be stored, other than by using rechargeable batteries. How could you regulate an alternative energy source to produce a smooth, constant supply of electricity?

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Practical Action - Technology challenging povertyEuropean Commission - Department for International Development

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