Michael Tougher

About Me

I am a designer and inventor. I have recently graduated from Product Design Engineering at The University if Glasgow and Glasgow School of Art with a First Class.




2001: A Space Odyessy

The next lecture in our design and technology course consisted of the film 2001: A space odyssey. The journey of man through various stages of evolution and into the future is depicted through symbolic visuals. Ape becomes man when it picks up tools. Man evolves and the tools become the spaceship and the intelligent computer. Man uses this technology to chase the unknown and the higher extraterrestrial life. Man and his intelligence has created equally intelligent tools. As the tool (the computer) takes on man’s likeness, surpassing human intelligence becoming the ultimate tool it has to be destroyed. Man is then left alone in outer space and becomes a natural being again. He looks down on the Apes and is a free natural being. It questions our role in the universe. Will we be able to be natural beings again? What are our tools today and what will be the tools that will lead to the end of man?Ape-man-with-bone-from-Stanley-Kubricks-2001-A-Space-Odyssey


The different key stages of this journey are marked by the monolith. For its purpose in the film it has been designed with great detail. It could have easily taken the form of an alien spaceship but it did not. It was a tall black rectangle. The black colour creates mystery and intrigue and creates a modern day reference to “BlackBox” technology. The shape is key with the right angles showing it is not natural and has been created by an intelligent life force. The scale is also important as it is significantly bigger than a man, creating awe within its human viewers.


Essential to creating these symbols is music, it is important when presenting any idea. There were two key pieces.

The Blue Danube waltz by Johann Strauss II shows the playfulness and beauty of space and gravity. Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (widescreen)

The Also sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss creates a momentous awakening. Link Also Sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30 – Strauss

The film proposes a lot of questions about mans role and the future of man. Will these be answered in our lifetime?

Credit to my understanding rogerebert.com Picture credit - nathanbauman.com
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In our Design and Technology class this week we were reminded of the importance of basic calculations when designing. The lecture was taken by Ben Craven. Using even the most basic of calculations can we determine the practical feasibility of our idea.

An idea was proposed to harvest the energy of shutting a filing cabinet

filing Cabinet calculation1


This calculation was very optimistic and very rough (as it should be) but it was a very quick way to assess that the idea was not going to work.

Important definitions. Precision – decimal places. Accuracy – how close to the real answer. Can be easily mixed up .

By incorporating the use of numbers and basic calculations in the early stage it can avoid putting time and effort into a design that will not work. Some examples are shown here. Including  Gravia


Similar to this proposal current proposal.

Incorporating early basic calculations is something I will now incorporate more into my design work.

It is good to have an idea of values and to quantify them eg time mass and density. I plan to build up a list of common values to help with these calculations.

Minute = 60s

Hour    = 60m   = 3600 s

Day     = 24h    = 1440m = 86,400

Week  = 7d      = 168h = 10,080m = 604,800s

Month = 30d    = 720h = 43200m = 2,592,000s

Year   = 365d  = 8,760h = 525,600m = 31,536,000s


Human – 70 kg

Small car – 1000 kg

Bag of flour / 1 litre of water – 1kg

Density values here and here

Lots more material properties here

Picture credit – redbubble.com

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