What is one feature of your lab you would not do without? One of the primary strengths of designers is their
ability to communicate visually, and this lab is all about sharing ideas. Two full walls of the lab are covered
with pin-up boards, each approximately 25 feet long and seven feet high. The pin-up space facilitates interaction and discussion of everything from ideas to specific details of how a device might work, how it might be
manufactured, and how it should look.
We are particularly interested in encouraging everyone to pin up work to bring the focus of the lab back
to the ideas—it’s not just about the technology. Perhaps one the most important aspects of the design process is developing the ability to communicate an idea: building the storyboard for the concept, modeling and
prototyping a proof of concept, and then testing to discover how well it really works and how it might be
improved—and then being able to use your visual skills to effectively communicate the value of the concept.
The pin-up space underscores this objective.
What is one feature of your lab that you want and don’t have? We could always do more with more space. The
original design concept for the lab was to build an integrated workshop/lab that included additional space
for prototyping, plus layout and sewing facilities to support initiatives in wearable technologies and a video-
editing facility to support the importance of time-based documentation for both research and evaluation of
product tests. We did manage to incorporate some limited layout space and machining capabilities into the lab, including a scroll saw, a small drill press, and a narrow belt sander, all connected to a dust-extraction sys- tem installed on a multipurpose workbench across the back of the lab. The other major shortfall is the limited availability of storage space.
How would you describe how people interact in your lab? The goal was to create a highly visible dynamic
space to foster the interaction of students and faculty in support of both learning and research. So far this is
all working well, and the lab has begun to draw interest from across the campus.
What is the one thing you see as most important about what you do here? The addition of this lab has begun
to change the perception of the role of industrial design at Georgia Tech. The work we are fostering in the lab
has created opportunities to work collaboratively with other faculty and students from the key technical units
across the campus in the areas of health and well-being, interactive computing, and engineering. And as a
result, we’re also beginning to see a lot more interest from our industry partners.