"America's schools and universities must move up to the next level in math and science. And far more people should be graduating in the "soft" sciences of anthropology, sociology, and psychology. Whether it's redesigning hospitals to improve patient stays (and lower costs) or building stores to increase the experience of shopping (and raise profits), the best jobs in the future will be found in the sweet spot where design, customer understanding, and emerging technologies come together for business."
-Business Week (March 21, 2005)
The design of artifacts is addressed from a multidisciplinary perspective that includes
engineering, art, psychology, marketing, and economics. Using a decision-making
framework, emphasis is placed on understanding basic quantitative methods employed by
the different disciplines for making design decisions, building mathematical models, and
accounting for interdisciplinary interactions throughout the design development process.
Students work in teams to apply the methods on a design project from concept generation
to prototyping and design verification. The course is open to all seniors and graduate
students (3 or 4 credits).
Topics addressed in the course will include the design development process, the decision-making paradigm in design, product design in complex organizations, design in complex organizations, and design and society. Design will be studied from the viewpoints of users, producers, and designers. Students will work in teams on a design project proposed by the team or by a sponsor.
Project work will include:
Early prototyping for concept exploration;
Development of mathematical models for design decisions from engineering, economic, and marketing (user) perspectives
Use of engineering analysis tools and software
Excel-based economic analysis, and conjoint analysis via statistical packages
Conduct of scientific surveys to support user preference modeling
Prototype construction to test design concept prior to finalizing the design
ME seniors can take ME 499 either to satisfy the ME 450 requirement (4 credits) or as a tech elective (3 credits). Prerequisites are ME 250, 350, and 395.
Non-ME students with senior or graduate standing can take the course as an elective. Familiarity with sophomore-level mathematics knowledge typical in engineering programs is required. Consult the instructor if in doubt.
Graduate students must register under ME 599 (3 credits). For additional requirements for graduate students, consult the instructor.