Thursday, January 15, 2009

eMotive: Out of Gas

RISD design students and engineering majors from Brown University combined their problem-solving resources in fall 2008 to tackle a growing global problem: the need for affordable, flexible transportation powered by renewable fuel sources. An outgrowth of the eMotive project – an ongoing collaboration between Industrial Design faculty Khipra Nichols BID ’78 and Michael Lye ’96 ID and Brown Engineering faculty Chris Bull – the Out of Gas! studio focused on the needs of urban commuters, using Providence as a test case.

Lye and Bull team-taught the studio, which brought together roughly 12 students from RISD and 12 from Brown to explore “where and how industrial design and engineering intersect” in the context of a real-world problem, Bull explains. In addition to reaping the benefits of complementary expertise, the students took full advantage of both institutions’ specialized facilities: the metal, wood and model shops at RISD, and the Prince Engineering Lab at Brown, which offers access to CNC and rapid prototyping technology.

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