Mira, the inventive creator

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Mira

Brief Profile

  • Mira from Zaragoza, Spain
  • Age 32, single
  • Independent industrial designer
  • Her friends call her “(pequeña) Ungenio”, in reference to the Spanish name of Gyro Gearloose from the Donald Duck comics
  • She always comes up with ideas which she wants to put into action. This drives her and whenever she comes up with a new idea she really has to talk about it and follow it up.


Demographics / Curriculum Vitae

Mira is the daughter of an Iranian engineer and a Spanish artist. Mira has a bachelor in mechanical engineering which she obtained in Barcelona. She also graduated in London as an industrial designer. After university she gathered some work experience working in the R&D department of an international OEM for white goods for the consumer market. One and a half years ago she decided to move back to her hometown, Zaragoza in order to join a design agency where she now works as an independent designer. Her work is appreciated because she knows both sides of the design activity (the creative and the engineering side) and so she can even mediate these roles. She is able to create new things and also ensure that things work. The job does not pay as much as she earned before, but the design agency makes a good job in acquiring clients. This allows her to decide her pace of work and gives her the opportunity of choosing which projects to undertake from those offered to her.

Mira lives in a flatshare with three friends. One of her flatmates was involved in a car accident as a teenager and has been in a wheelchair ever since. Doing everyday things has never been a problem for her as she is quite adept. However she is always muttering to Mira about the lack of good designs of affordable wheelchairs and accessories for office workers like herself. As a result of having talked to Mira, Mira started sketching up some concepts for a chair with a sophisticated, timeless design in which incremental functions are added as accessories. In the days that followed, her flourishing creativity just culminated in a whole stream of ideas which were based on her friend’s needs. Somehow one thing led to another and eventually they wanted the whole idea to really be developed further. They both invested their time and effort and started a real open-source project.

The flexibility of her job allows Mira to regularly spend time on her project. To be able to experiment on some ideas she became a member of a makerspace in Zaragoza. She has now even managed to develop a first prototype which incorporates some of the envisaged features. At this point, she is trying to promote and develop her project to the next level and is looking for a way to enrol other specialists to help with gearing the concept towards something more robust and industrial. She is the only person working intensively on the development, although she has already been able to gather a network of people helping her in this endeavour.

Making the project open source was some kind of natural decision she did not really think about at the beginning. Since the project is of general interest (for wheelchair users who are not satisfied by the current market offer), she just thought to herself: “Oh, I’m gonna post it on GitHub so it is easier to talk about the design with other people“.

A day in the life of Mira

Thanks to her flexible work schedule, Mira can manage spending a reasonable amount of time for the development of her project. This is particularly helpful when it comes to meeting people to get advice from. On average she aims to spend around 80% of her time working for the design agency so she is sure to have some time for the project. Her work time is irregularly distributed however. In other words, she doesn’t necessarily do all the different tasks in a given week. For example, one week she may not have time for the project at all, but then the following week she may spend half of her time on making designs and also sharing ideas with people.

Working for the project means sitting in a café re-designing a part, writing some documentation in GitHub, meeting or calling people she gets help from, getting advices from different experts, or being at the makerspace in order to build some parts of a prototype.

Leisure activities and interests

  • Watching crime thriller films with friends with a lot of popcorn.
  • Drawing: she uses charcoal a lot because it renders her pictures lively and spontaneous with just a few strokes. The walls of the flat share are full of her drawings.
  • Tinkering around, inventing things, i.e. creating crazy furniture with upcycled materials.

Personal goals & values

Motivation to create: Like any of the other things she creates, this project is fun above all. Also, everybody who knows about the project says it is “really cool”, something which makes her happy. In addition, it has really grown on her. She is thrilled by the fact that she is helping people in their daily lives. She considers the time spent on this project as a win-win. Because on the one hand she provides a service to people while on the other hand enhancing her own creativity, something which is crucial for a designer. In order to stay in the race, a designer has to constantly extend their portfolio, to prove their ability of coming up with constant creative and challenging designs.

Vision: She likes the feeling of having a positive social impact through this project.

Motivation for openness: Because of the usefulness of the product, she wants it to be widely available. To her, making it open source means it won’t be captured by companies practicing exaggerated price policies. It also means users have a chance to take part in the development. She also wants to have the documents online because it allows for her to get ideas from other people. As well sharing the documents removes an information barrier. The people she is telling about the project or she wants to work with see directly what she is talking about. Finally, publishing the project information in open source cares for visibility and publicity, and that is good for her portfolio.

Communication and Interaction

She tries to involve people from different fields like medicine, ergonomics, mechanics, and industrial production. For the moment however, the discussion are sporadic, but provide some kind of consultancy from those particular experts. She also has the advantage of the fact that people from all walks of life seem to be showing a high willingness to help when she tells them what she is trying to do. She sometimes gets free of charge services and consultancy from companies willing to contribute to the cause. She uses the documents she has online in order to support these conversations.

She sometimes goes to events like maker faires or hackathons where she tries to get tips from other makers/innovators. She has been invited a few times to give a presentation about her project.

She has uploaded her files on different known platforms of the maker scene in order to attract some publicity around her project (e.g. Wevolver, Wikifab, Instructables).