The Midland XD two-way radio is a student concept focused on iterative improvements and design for manufacturing.
When I entered the Fall 2020 semester, I knew I needed to create a project demonstrating both my understanding of professional design process and an understanding of DFM. Most of my school work to date had been fairly blue sky, so I wanted to communicate some pragmatism throughout this concept.
I focused on creating several new software functions enabled by digital signal encoding that help mitigate user uncertainty. On the artifact side, I focused on exploring a diversity of aesthetic directions, as well as testing these through mockups and CAD modeling. I spent a considerable amount of time making sure the final model made sense from a manufacturing perspective.
Caleb Gess, Fall 2020
This is a student project and is in no way representative of any Midland Radio Corporation products.


After assessing the research and thinking back on my own experience using walkie-talkies, I decided to focus on creating a device that aims to inspire trust throughout the experience.

Understanding the Market

Researching the market category included tear downs, getting my hands on real products, and thinking about how the feature set of my proposed device might fit into the market space.

The diagram below shows a breakdown of common features and which ones would be included in the Midland XD. I think the device could be sold at $80-120.

Sketching + Mockups

Sketching was used early on to flush out first wave ideas, and to quickly assess aesthetic directions. Mockups helped clarify package requirements and foresee potential ergonomic issues.