For my undergraduate  product design course, my team member Soh and I designed a compressible trash can for college students. Although our final product was very different from what we envisioned, the designing process has been a great learning experience in order to understand the need for rapid prototyping and testing.

As college students, we realized some of the problems caused by inadequate trash disposal and wanted to create a trash can that will help alleviate the problems we identified.

We wanted to confirm that our insights were correct and surveyed 16 students in order to identify their needs. You can download the results here.
Based on our findings, we identified the key features that will fulfill the needs we identified and came up with the initial design. 

We also thought about different ways of how people can compress the trash. As you can see, we were really trying to impress the professor with our artistic skills.

We prototyped with Mr. Coffee cardboard box. Unfortunately, we got nothing from this product placement.

We soon realized that although this tiered design is quite elegant and provides a convenient way for people to separate their recyclable, it would tip over unless we have a very heavy base, which would be an undesirable feature for a trash can.

After few more iteration of trash can design, we finally settled on a final design that allowed us to fulfill all of the needs identified but also quickly prototype given the limited resources we had. Our final product prototype made out of wood, the real product would be  made with plastic.

We showcased our prototype during the product design fair. Many students really liked our idea and echoed the frustration with their current recycling options. Here is our product poster:

The students also enjoyed the compressing feature of our product. Here you can see a student testing our compression feature. Twist and compress!