Working as a product manager in a bike company, product testing was definitely one of the most fun parts of the job. Taking an extended afternoon ride to log some miles on a new bike frame, saddle, wheels, tires, etc was a great perk, unless it was winter in Connecticut and it's raining and 35 degrees F which was typically the time when new products were developed! Weather aside, I came to love the process of developing and testing a new product and found that it is extremely exciting and rewarding.
Being a good product tester takes a lot of attention to detail as you can imagine but also a lot of compassion and understanding of who the end user is. After every bit of information or detail that you notice, you have to put it in perspective of the user - would they notice this? Is it important to them? Would they think this was a good thing or bad thing? How would it make them feel? You can't assume that you are the ideal user and that everyone will think and feel exactly the way you do - so not having an inflated ego is a good quality to have as a product tester!!
After I received my first 3D printed samples of the Living Coaster, I spent a lot of time and care in testing. For weeks I didn't plant anything in the plant pots and simply used it like a regular coaster. I did this so I could see exactly how much water would pool in the plant pot. Using different glasses, mugs, cans, I could compare how much condensation would form and make its way into the pot. Watching to see where water would get stuck and how well it would transfer from the glass to the coaster. After throughly exploring the water side, I added a small variety of plants to the coasters.
The plants were planted on Nov. 26, 2016 and six months later, they are doing well and are starting to outgrow their pots! I even had a few blooms along the way! I've been leaving them out on my window sill for days at a time and the 3D print material isn't holding up so well. The real version will have a UV protectant mixed in with the plastic.
I would say that most of the time these plants were watered as intended - using them like a coaster with a cold drink. But other times, I was either too busy to make a cold drink or I would forget to use them and would water them once a week with about a tablespoon of water from my water bottle. So this is good news if you're not a fan of ice-cold drinks or live in a cold dry place, you can simply water them like a house plant and enjoy the cute aesthetic of a tiny plant in your coaster.
Next time: finding an engineer and taking this to the next level...