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Integration of design education, research and practice at Carnegie Mellon University: a multi-disciplinary course in wearable computer design

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4 Author(s)
Amon, Cristina H. ; Mech. Eng. & Eng. Design Res. Center, Carnegie Mellon Univ., Pittsburgh, PA, USA ; Finger, S. ; Siewiorek, D.P. ; Smailagic, A.

The Engineering Design Research Center (EDRC) at Carnegie Mellon University has created a two-semester design course that integrates research and education though industrially sponsored design projects. Over each of the six semesters that the course has been taught, teams of undergraduate and graduate students have designed, fabricated, and delivered a new generation of wearable computers. The Wearable Computer Design course at the EDRC is cross-disciplinary and inter-departmental, drawing students from four colleges in nine disciplines including five engineering departments (chemical engineering, civil and environmental engineering, electrical and computer engineering, mechanical engineering, and engineering and public policy), architecture, computer science, industrial administration and industrial design, The students in this course learn about design theory and practice, participate in research, and successfully deliver products to sponsors. Furthermore, the students are exposed to the complete cycle of design from concept through initial theoretical modeling and design, multi-disciplinary design tradeoffs to manufacturing, and finally to customer satisfaction and user feedback. This class also serves as a testbed for learning about the needs of a multi-disciplinary design team, for anticipating the needs of geographically-distributed design teams, for reflecting on the interplay between product design and design process, and for evaluating the design tools and design methodologies that have been developed at the EDRC. The paper describes the evolution of the Wearable Computer Design course, the integration of design education, design research and design practice in an interdepartmental course. It also describes the interplay between disciplines, between theory, practice and education, and between designers and users

Published in:

Frontiers in Education Conference, 1995. Proceedings., 1995  (Volume:2 )

Date of Conference:

1-4 Nov 1995