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2.4.1. Shape


How To Invent (Almost) Anything > 2. Simple Science > 2.4. Science and Space > 2.4.1. Shape

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Think about the overall shape of your invention. Why is it that way? Nature, again, is a rich source of stimulation and ideas about shape, from the hooks on burrs to the hollow bones and feathers of birds.

Shape has several functions. Firstly, shape connects. The body of a car serves to hold together all of its parts. Shape also contains and separates, protecting what is inside or outside from one another’s adverse effects. A house is shaped to protect its contents from the weather, to contain the heat and with separate rooms, each with a different use. Shape interfaces with other shapes, like a nut and bolt fitting together or a bayonet shaped to impale the human body (not all shapes are good).

Shape may have aesthetic functions, too. What makes a Ferrari more attractive than a Ford? Much of this is to do with shape and the associations we have with it. Curves, especially in the right proportion, may remind us of the human form. Sharp angles and unusual shapes may catch our eye and appeal to our sense of novelty. 

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