Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Welcome to Smart Surfaces! Now, what is it?

Smartsurfaces offers a collaborative, project-based learning experience in which artists, designers, architects and engineers come together to build physical systems and structural surfaces that have the capability to adapt to information and environmental conditions. The course operates as a multidisciplinary, hands-on think-tank where participants pool their knowledge and skill sets to work together to produce environmentally sound and socially responsible projects. Public exhibition of these funded projects provides an opportunity for participants to present their work to a wider audience and to review their achievements. Projects make use of the resources available to all participating university units, such as: parametric modeling, digital fabrication, networked sensors, micro-controller programming, and energy harvesting using solar cells and nano-structured materials. This course is a collaborative endeavor led by three professors who will advise and contribute to all team projects. Teams will make use of visiting lecturers, specialists, site visits, and relevant stakeholder organizations. (From U of M Art & Design Fall 2009 elective courses)

I'm extremely proud to be in this course and I'm excited to be working with students from other disciplines. It will be quite interesting to work with engineers again specifically, I spent 3 years working on a B.S. in mechanical engineering here at Michigan before I realized that I absolutely hated engineering and was miserable. I then transferred over to Michigan art & Design to study product design. I realize now that I really disliked the engineering way of thinking about anything. A formulaic, only one answer way of thinking. Now this is perfect (and needed) on say, making sure a building stays up, or a plane doesn't fall apart. It just wasn't for me. Either way, it will be interesting collaborating with the other students.

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