Reflections: A 3D printed spring and summer

After quite a hiatus from posting anything, here's another for ya! Ironically, it's not that I haven't been dabbling in 3D printing, but rather that it's been taking me through all sorts of adventures over the past few months. I should preface this by mentioning that my love for 3D printing goes hand-in-hand with a love for design, and I am fortunate to have had multiple opportunities to leverage both of these at once. Work trips aside, here are some highlights from my spring and summer:

Rice University: The Big D

After attending SxSW in Austin, I had the opportunity to speak at "The Big D," held at Rice University and hosted by their local Design for America studio. As one of three panelists, I recounted my personal journey into my current work and also spoke on my own insights on design in general--particularly how my perspective towards design has changed over time, influenced by forays in product design, 3D printing, and the social sciences. 

The event itself was geared toward Rice students, and so I was able to express how those with technical backgrounds might do meaningful work (within and without their undergrad careers) that could leverage both their booksmarts and creativity.

Check out DFA!

Check out DFA Rice!

See some of the things they had written about the event!

Texas Medical Center: Biodesign Hackathon

In May, I had the privilege of participating in the Texas Medical Center's (TMC) very first Biodesign Hackathon. This involved teaming up with some incredibly talented folks from Houston and beyond, and tackling one of several pre-scoped issues within medical institutions over the span of the weekend. Considering each participant's breadth and depth of knowledge and skills, I was decidedly amazed at the solutions each team put forward. Lacking the technical experience others had (seriously, we were up against throngs of MDs and PhDs), I instead helped to leverage a deliberate and flexible design process to bring forward a well thought out concept. Oh, and I may have 3D printed some things along the way. If you'd like to read up on the event itself, check out the writeups below! 

Biodesign hackers tackle health needs over the weekend

Working Together

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: 3D printing as humanistic inquiry

By far, this workshop at my alma mater was the most intellectually taxing. Participating as a sort of "3D printing facilitator," I used my knowledge thereof and the different contexts in which it may reside in order to help attending humanities scholars to frame and prototype their own future research. Since the workshop was hosted by my former undergrad design/humanities professors, I at least had a loose grasp on the main ideas for the 3 day workshop. I can say,  however, that having been away from any sort of high-level humanistic or social scientific discourse definitely did not make it any easier! 

The highlight here was that I had the opportunity to lead a humanistically-charged open discussion around 3D printing. Aside from talking about its typical software/hardware aspects, I enjoyed engaging with a diverse group of academics and getting their minds going on the conceptual "ins, outs, nuances, and foibles" of the increasingly accessible technology.

The workshop was well-documented -- I will share links to the content as it becomes available!

Northwestern University: 3D printing crash course at DFA Leadership Studio 2016

In this most recent trip, I returned once again to my DFA roots and led a quick and messy crash course on digital fabrication for prototyping. As a generalized exposure to using 3D tools to rapidly iterate on ideas, I offered the most high-level tips and tricks that I could. That is to say that I did not so much focus on how to actually use any software or machines, or any details on each, but gave helpful tidbits on how students should approach the use of digital fabrication tools. In the context of their 5 day workshop, the most helpful things I could give were high-level concepts on 3D modeling and printing and situations in which they should or shouldn't be used, as opposed to a deep-dive on any one topic.

As a recent alumnus of the organization, I also took opportunities to candidly share my experiences out of school, how I continue to engage in design outside of an educational setting, and how I stay inspired in everyday life. Overall, it was encouraging, re-energizing, and a really, really great weekend. Check out some of the coverage below!

Using design to improve the voting experience

See what people shared under the #DFALS16 hashtag!

Thanks for reading! If you'd like to discuss the above content, 3D printing & HCD, or just say hi, don't hesitate to click "Get in touch" at the top of this page and send me an email.