Product Solutions for Power Grid Infrastructure

2018 Conceptual Product Solutions

10-week term project with Umeå Energi



The objective of this design study was to explore and understand the opportunities for visionary solutions for the next generation of smart products for creating, providing and maintaining an energy infrastructure in the field. The design opportunities ranged from the planning, the implementation and the maintenance phases, which include activities either below, on or above ground level. An additional layer that had to be considered, was the multiple competences of people working within a company like Umeå Energi, both simultaneously and at different times and intensity levels, both on- and off-site, in the different project phases when providing a power grid infrastructure.

Work method

The first phase of the project included several days of on-site research and participatory observations and in-context interviews, in order to search for and identifypotential areas where new product solutions could have a positive and meaningful impact for the men and women working at Umeå Energi. 

After the students had identified a number of relevant design opportunities, they started working in smaller groups on a topic and direction of their own choice.  The group work included additional research, ideation and the conceptualization and design of new visionary product solutionsin parallel with multiple touchpoints with the intended users both scheduled and initiated by themselves.

Result and videos
The study resulted in a number of diverse concepts addressing different opportunity areas like: The physical and digital design of a complete system for transformer maintenance for quality assurance of the grid and power distribution. A concept for a small two-wheeled ground vehicle for GPS tracking of ground cable management before and after implementation. New pole climbing equipment for easier and safer work procedures when working above ground. The utilization of car batteries in ground-based modules to level-out energy peaks and the creation of memorable touchpoints for the public through street level tiles.

CHROMA - Power Grid Management System
Alexander Abele and Maximilian Brück (Germany)


AKIRA - Ground Cable Management
Lu Zheng (China) and Patrick Krassnitzer (Austria)


Pole Climbing Equipment
Anton Ingvaldson, Pontus Edman and Ruben Eriksson (Sweden)


Energy Tile 
Melissa Mahmutovic (Germany), Kristjan Juks and Simon Linge (Sweden)


External tutors:

Robert Lange, Designit (Germany).
Anton Hoffman,  Christian Högstedt and  Adam Sjöberg, FLIR.

Internal tutors:

Brendon Clark, Lars Johansson, Christoffel Kuenen, Jonas Sandström and Oscar Björk.

Course responsible:

Thomas Degn, Programme Director for the APD programme.