May 1st, 2016

THE BRIEF is the weekly IDSA Oregon publication about design, and cultural events in the Portland region.

[because designers need a life too]


Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller

Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller, Generation 2, uses Wi-Fi and local weather data so you never water when it rains, and so much more. Rachio makes running your sprinklers easy and convenient while saving you water and money.


Generation 2 builds on Generation 1’s benefits by making the device easier to install and test, easier to connect to the user’s network, and more convenient by providing manual controls and an outside mounting kit – all based on customer feedback. The wall-mounted controller works with any existing home irrigation system, and can be easily installed in under 30 minutes with no special tools.




With some custom-designed software and an initial round of funding, Rachio had already put a revolutionary product on the market: a small, wall-mounted controller that works with existing electronic irrigation systems to make watering smarter and more efficient.


As its product gained popularity, Rachio realized they needed a redesign to scale up and head off potential competitors. Their founders approached Bresslergroup to help design a Generation 2 product with technical upgrades and a lower price point that is also easier to manufacture, install, and use.


Bresslergroup, a research-driven product innovation lab headquartered in Philadelphia with an office in Portland, Oregon, assembled a project team combining industrial design expertise with mechanical and electrical engineering to ensure that each of these goals got full consideration. A thoughtful redesign turned a great concept into a flexible, scalable product, while reinforcing the brand behind it.


The second-generation Rachio uses half as many parts as the original, eliminates screws and external fasteners, and condenses three PCBs worth of electronics onto one. By reducing assembly costs, Rachio was able to keep all of its production in the U.S., and by consolidating connectors into a single array, the device makes multiple watering zones easier to setup, and easier to reconfigure.



An improved visual display lets users see at a glance that everything’s working — indicator LEDs integrated into the Rachio logo on the unit’s face are a sleek way of letting users know which zones are running. The front cover incorporates subtle texture variations to convey the concept of “digital rain.”


Bresslergroup’s electrical engineers added sensor inputs to support rain and freeze sensors as well as flow sensors to collect accurate data on water consumption. Swapping out the original chipset for the more cost-effective Marvell module makes Wi-Fi setup easier. It also creates compatibility with Apple HomeKit, positioning Rachio for system integration with Apple devices and other IoT hardware.


Released in early 2016, the second-generation Rachio system offers dramatic improvements in function, and looks the part as well – while holding to a lower retail price as before ($249 as opposed to Gen 1’s $299), with no upper limit on production volume. The device will soon be available on Apple’s online store.


To learn more, contact Mark Clark at Bresslergroup, 220 NW 8th Ave, Portland, OR 97209, 503-317-4560.



  From the editor

It was good to see everybody Friday night at the April 3x10. A big thank you to each of the speakers! Scott Peterson spoke about the influence of the industrial designer. PHLLP STWRT talked about Symbiosis and the common language of graphic and industrial design, and Katherine Tucker spoke about Collaboration; from species to design.


Michael Aubry from the Autodesk Fusion team sponsored the event with a delicious selection of cheeses and some fancy beer.


We were pleased to hold the event at the beautiful Design Within Reach store in Portland’s pearl district.


I am looking forward to the next IDSA Oregon 3x10 on Friday, June 24 at 6p.




Jonathan Spencer Levy

Chair, IDSA Oregon


  Events around Portland



Struktur Event


May 4 – 6

9:00a - 9:00p


Portland, OR

Struktur is the first creative conference for the active outdoor design industry. Join us for three days of bold visionary presentations and events advancing the design of active outdoor apparel and equipment.

Struktur is a cross-disciplinary event, exploring the intersection of user experience, trend research, materials science, and their influence on design. Struktur isn’t a fashion show or a trade show – it’s a chance to experience the breakthrough ideas of a new age of design.



Plastic Part Design Seminar for Injection Molding


Wednesday, May 11

8:00a - 12:00p


R&D Plastics

7275 NW Evergreen Pkwy

#200 Hillsboro, OR

R&D Plastics is offering a half-day seminar on plastic part design for plastic injection molding.  The seminar relates material selection, part design and part quality. With a focus on designing for manufacturability, part pricing and how it relates to material selection and part design is also discussed.


Admission is free and space is limited.

Call to RSVP (503) 693-7993




Design+Strategy No. 17


Thursday, May 12

5:30p - 8:30p


Connective DX

2030 NW Pettygrove Street

Portland, OR


Planning Sessions & Workshops

We're kicking off our 2016 event schedule with a workshop to help you design better workshops and sessions (how meta of us). Bridging the gap between knowing what you need out of a session and deciding on what exercises and activities you should design into the agenda (and in what order!) benefits from practice. We'll have seasoned and experienced practitioners in the room to help you learn how to build that capability into your own work, discuss and explore best practices, and even share a war story or two about times when it went wrong so we can all learn from other's experiences. 



Maker: Film Screening


Thursday, May 26

6:30p - 8:30p


Portland Development Commission

222 NW 5th Ave

Portland, OR

The Film •Maker” is a feature-length documentary that looks into the current Maker Movement in America – a new wave of Do-It-Yourself and Do-It-Together culture fueled by passion and powered by the advent of new technologies. The film is a feature-length documentary on the Maker Movement and its impact on society, culture, and economy in the U.S.





Leveraging Analytics

with Leslie To


Tuesday, June 7

5:00p - 7:00p


BridgePort BrewPub

1313 NW Marshall Street Portland, OR

Cutting Through the Clutter:

Leveraging Analytics to Drive Your SEO Strategy & Optimizations


Best practices aside, nothing should drive on-site strategy more than your own data. As a robust Analytics platform, Google Analytics can often create more problems than it solves. Learning how to leverage the platforms strengths can mean the difference between clutter & clarity. 


Using Analytics, we'll seek to identify specific strategies that simply don't work, high value customer segments, ways in which other channels can be leveraged to make the overall business grow, and if/how to address expectation gaps on your site.


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THE BRIEF is published by the Office of Newsletter Affairs. We are constantly on the beat for local designers, firms, and projects to feature in this humble, weekly publication. Just updated your portfolio? Finished a sweet project? Just landed a hot account? Don't be afraid to toot your own horn! Especially if you happened to have designed that horn.

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