Course Profile

Goals of the Course

This course integrates form (Art) and function (Engineering) to create user-centered commercial products. Students will be introduced to fundamental principles and methods of design through reflective reading, practice exercises, and design projects. The course will highlight in particular user-centered research methods, design iteration and evaluation, and rapid prototyping. Students will work in interdisciplinary teams on two principal class projects. This is a studio-based course with topical lectures from faculty and invited guests.

Who is it designed for?

The course is available to anyone but focused on recruiting mechanical engineering and art students to work in collaborative teams.

Learning Objectives

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Maker skills it develops

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Skills, Tools and Technologies Used

Students from different backgrounds come in with different levels of 2D and 3D digital design skill sets and familiarity with different programs (Adobe Illustrator, Solidworks, etc.). Students are formally introduced to Sketchup as well as physical modeling tools and techniques from full machine and wood shop use to foam cutters, cardboard, and foam core modeling techniques.

Key Examples and Prior Work

Makers: The New Industrial Revolution, by Chris Anderson, is one of the required readings in the course.

Key Resources

Makers (Anderson), Design of Everyday Things (Norman), and Enchanted Objects (Rose)

Example Assignment

The first major assignment was to redesign the Design Studio, a 5,500 sq ft space in Spencer Laboratory mostly dedicated to mechanical engineering. The second major project will be to develop a commercially viable product in collaboration with a local industry partner.

Lessons Learned

Get students from different departments AND professors from different departments!