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DSGN 495-21: Designing Product Interactions


Why does that particular button make me feel more confident? Why are microsurgeons who are gamers better surgeons? Why is it nearly impossible to type on a tablet? Designing Product Interactions is an experimental course exploring these questions and bridging engineering design and perceptual psychology.  This is where people and products come together. We will take a broad look at the “engineering of experiences,” combining a study of the physical properties and capabilities of objects, with a deeper understanding of how multiple human senses come together to create a human perception, or “experience.” We then use that knowledge to design new interactions that combine vision, hearing, and touch in compelling ways.

The class format includes guest lectures and instructor lectures, with a high degree of student involvement and discussion.  Assignments include research and writing, but are primarily “demo projects” in which small teams will build working prototypes which demonstrate various interactions, and present these in class.


This course is intended for graduate students in the MS Engineering Design Innovation (EDI) program, though other students will be considered if they have demonstrated sufficient experience in engineering (ME/EE/CS), and interest in human centered design and prototyping.  Enrollment is limited.  For consideration, please submit to the instructors a statement of interest, along with links to their portfolio/resume.  Applications should be submitted by 9/06/2017.  Students will be notified within the following two days.

Quarter Offered

DSGN 495-21 Designing Product Interactions, Section 21
Meets Thursdays, 9am-12pm in the Ford Mechatronics Lab
Instructor: Craig Sampson and Zack Woodruff

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