Never has electrical engineering and audio engineering come together in quite an innovative way. Sony has announced a new iteration of their LED light bulb speakers. Yes, you read that right...lightbulb speakers. Sony Japan quietly launched the bulbs with Bluetooth speakers embedded into them last year in July.
The only two reviews from customers who bought it from Amazon.com, left unflattering responses as to how the light-speaker fared in quality. The one review by an anonymous Amazon user read: "Speaker is loud, but lack any trace of mod and bass. Decent light output. A Sengled light/speaker bulb is miles better. The remote control is a cool and nice feature." Another one by a user named Alowishus wrote: "Not a good product, sound is terrible." Then again, the product was only supposed to be sold in Japan.
The speaker clearly lacked in quality engineering and did not live up to any sort of hype Sony Japan had made to ensure that it was a good product. Bear in mind, the speaker back in July of 2015 cost $287.30, a hefty price tag for a product that wasn't widely bought and got negative reviews.
However, giving Sony the benefit of the doubt, a new and improved version seems to be making its way to the mass market.
The preview for the new and improved speaker makes it look like a product we would all want to buy. So why then did they initially launch something that lacked in quality? This is just one example of the thousand of products that are engineered that sometimes lack in the area of quality design. Anything from new lithium-ion battery units to the latest bridge that has been built can have poor engineering design quality. This is something that should be avoided at all costs. Although, companies that release consumer products sometimes rush the product to market and get the negative reviews that they do.
"Quality is obviously one of the driving forces for anything we do in engineering, it's a critical area," says Steve Mackay, the Dean of Engineering at the Engineering Institute of Technology. In the 35th episode of the Engineering News Network, the Dean's YouTube series, he speaks of a man that the Japanese utilized in the history of engineering called W. Edwards Deming who assisted in improving the quality of products that they manufactured. Mackay paraphrases Edwards Deming, saying: "If you try and focus on costs, you will find your costs tend to go up and your quality tends to go down. If you focus on improving the quality of the process you will tend to drive the quality up and eventually the cost will go come down."
Mackay gives engineers currently working on producing high-quality products some useful tips in ensuring premium quality throughout:
- Try and understand the process and the system really well. You will, therefore, avoid imperfections in a product.
- Where the variations in quality are coming from. What causes imperfections?
- Understand human psychology: What is the psychology of the guys working on the product that produce the final high high-quality?