BEST Seminars 2011

Seminars:      2016     |     2015     |     2014     |     2013     |     2012     |     2011     |     2010

Dr. Andy Dong, Design Computing and Cognition, University of Sydney
“Why we design: ideas on the evolutionary origins of design thinking

12PM, Wed. August 24, 2011: Berkeley Institute of Design, 354 Hearst Memorial Mining Building

Abstract

Observations of animal innovations range from tool making by
chimpanzees to elaborately decorated nests made by bowerbirds. Such
behaviors raise fundamental questions about the evolutionary origins of
design thinking. While none of these behaviors constitute what we would
describe as design per se, specific cognitive mechanisms that make up
what we describe as design thinking may exist in other species, even if
they do not exist as a complete ‘package’ or to the same degree of skill
as in humans. Animal innovations thus provide a unique window into the
human faculty of design. In this talk, I will discuss three cognitive
characteristics, meta-representation, mental time travel, and curiosity,
which are necessary and sufficient to have design competence.

Biography

Andy Dong is an Associate Professor and Australian
Research Council Future Fellow at the University of Sydney, Australia.
His research program is about design competence (i.e., knowledge of
design), the universals and ‘first principles’ of knowledge about
designing. He is currently working on a book about the evolutionary
origins of design thinking and on an algorithm based on higher-order
singular value decomposition (i.e., matrix factorization of tensors) to
find meaning in the properties of a product based upon a set of
statistically mutually-reinforcing distributed relations between symbols
that encode the product.

Lora Oehlberg, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of California at Berkeley
“A Descriptive Study of Designers’ Tools for Sharing User Needs and Conceptual Design

12PM, Tues. August 23, 2011: Berkeley Institute of Design, 354 Hearst Memorial Mining Building

Ryan Shelby, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of California at Berkeley
“The
Assessment And Prioritization Of User Needs With The Pinoleville Pomo
Nation for the Development Of Sustainable And Renewable Energy Systems

12PM, Tues. August 23, 2011: Berkeley Institute of Design, 354 Hearst Memorial Mining Building

Rich Winslow, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of California at Berkeley
“From Memories to Emotion: How ForgetWeNot Develops User Experience through User Interaction

12PM, Wed. July 6, 2011: Berkeley Institute of Design, 354 Hearst Memorial Mining Building

Abstract

Current social networking applications simply display your photos,
videos and text-based posts in a grid, or leave it up to you to organize
them. There is no emotional tie and it’s up to you to create or
remember the context of events. ForgetWeNot takes a totally different
approach. We help users build more intimate, emotional, and private
experiences with the people closest to them to provide a contextual,
deeply satisfying experience that will last a lifetime. I will detail
the methods we’re using to focus, fabricate and test user experiences to
drive development, and how we’re eliciting emotional responses.

Yael Perez, School of Architecture, University of California at Berkeley
“Global Architects Meet the Place:   Bridging the Gap through Information and Communication Technology

12PM, Weds. June 15th, 2011: Berkeley Institute of Design, 354 Hearst Memorial Mining Building

Abstract

This research focuses on technologies that may help or hinder the
designer’s process of learning the place. This part of the design
process is becoming more significant as technology and globalization
allow architects to design in remote places. Remote design may reduce
the sensitivity of the design to the local place and its community
especially if a big cultural gap exists in addition to the geographical
one. This is often the case when architects design in developing regions
but also in cases when design is outsourced and architects in India may
find themselves designing details for buildings in the countries they
never visited. The first part of the research examines literature and
recommendations for designers about how to learn the place and the
people. Then, I broaden this view by interviewing designers who design
in developing regions and learning whether and how the gap is bridged in
practice, and what is the role of technology in this process. Finally,
in order to find out which technologies are most suitable for learning
the place and the local people, I am looking at a case-study of a
co-design process which includes international designers and a Native
American nation. In this talk I will present early results which suggest
that while technology can bridge some of the physical properties of the
place, it is limited in bridging social characteristics such as
conceptions of place. Nevertheless, I believe that new existing
technologies have the potential to support better understanding of the
place and the people if adjusted to the design needs. These technologies
will be presented and will hopefully provoke a multidisciplinary
discussion.

Lora Oehlberg, Berkeley Institute of Design, University of California at Berkeley
“Undergraduate Conceptions of the Engineering Design Process: Assessing the Impact of a Human-Centered Design Course

12PM, Tues. June 14th, 2011: Berkeley Institute of Design, 354 Hearst Memorial Mining Building

Abstract

Throughout their education, engineering design students not only learn
the design process, but also form and refine their conception of
engineering design. Building on the results from a study of practicing
engineers’ conceptions of design, we present survey results from
engineering students enrolled in Mechanical Engineering 110 (n=51), an
upper-division human-centered design course. We compare the students’
initial conceptions of design from before the course to those after the
course. In particular, we look at how the course affects their perceived
importance of specific design skills, and their level of agreement with
a series of statements on the nature of design. We also compare the
students’ conceptions of design after the course to those of practicing
engineers from a previous study. The upper division engineering students
showed a remarkable similarity to the results of the practicing
engineers with a few notable exceptions. Our results show that after the
class, more engineering students identified synthesis as among the more
important skills, and brainstorming as among the less important skills
than before the class. Although the upper division engineering students
before the course agreed with the practicing engineers in the idea that
design is solution-led, this perception changed after taking the
human-centered design course which emphasizes the importance of user
research in the design process.

Dr. Jessica Granderson, Environmental Energy Technologies Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
“Building Performance Monitoring, Control, and Information Systems

10AM, Fri. Apr. 29, 2011:  BEST Lab, 6102 Etcheverry Hall

Abstract

Information and monitoring systems are of critical importance in
achieving optimal low-energy building performance. Advanced monitoring
and control technologies with high energy saving potential are widely
available in the commercial market, yet are underutilized, resulting in
enormous missed opportunities. Two fundamental barriers are 1) little
understanding as to how the technologies actually perform once
installed, and 2) uncertainty in the reliability and magnitude of
savings attributable to monitoring tols and advanced controls.

This
presentation focuses on two such advanced technologies – energy
information systems (EIS), and continuously dimming lighting control
systems. In the first portion of the talk, research findings from an EIS
state of the technology assessment and business case studies are
presented; in the second portion, results from a field-measured
evaluation of a digital daylighting system are reviewed.

EIS are
broadly defined as performance monitoring software, data acquisition
hardware, and communication systems used to store, analyze, and display
building energy data. Depending on a number of factors, EIS can save up
to 30% in whole-building energy.

Continuously dimming lighting
control systems use a combination of occupancy and photosensors to
automatically control on/off status and dimming levels based on the
presence of users and the amount of available daylight. Similar to the
case of EIS, dimming controls can save 20-50% in lighting energy,
contingent upon design, use, and installation.

Key EIS findings
include advanced, common, and distinguishing capabilities, and
real-world instances of energy savings achieved from use of the
technology. Key lighting findings include a multi-parameter
field-assessment method, performance results, and recommendations to the
manufacturer to increase energy savings and user experience. To
conclude, critical R&D to accelerate adoption throughout the
commercial buildings sector is discussed.

Biography

Dr. Jessica Granderson is a Research Scientist in the
Environmental Energy Technologies Division at the Lawrence Berkeley
National Laboratory. Dr. Granderson holds an AB in Mechanical
Engineering from Harvard University, and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering
from UC Berkeley. Dr. Granderson is a member of the Commercial
Buildings and Lighting research groups. She has a background in
intelligent user-centered lighting controls, and whole-building energy
performance measurement and analysis.

Prof. Levent Burak Kara, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University
“Human-Centric Construction and Interaction with Geometric Content in Creative Design Environments

12PM, Weds. Apr. 20, 2011: Berkeley Institute of Design, HMMB 354

Abstract:
Today’s design environments
take advantage of advanced computational technology more than ever
before. However, as computers become more capable, they also become more
complicated to use resulting in a constantly increasing demand for
human specialization and expertise.

In the Visual Design and
Engineering Lab at Carnegie Mellon, we are developing techniques for
transforming rapidly generated geometric information into 2D and 3D
content that can be edited, simulated, and engineered through paper-like
interfaces. A significant portion of our research targets early design
and ideation stages where conceptual freedom and rapid form creation are
paramount. With advances in these directions, future CAD tools will
have the opportunity to assist and enhance designers’ creativity and
productivity.

In this talk, I will highlight of our research
efforts to realize this goal. This talk will illustrate the idea of
interactive 2D and 3D shape modeling interfaces with particular emphasis
on drafting, diagrammatic modeling, and industrial shape design
applications. I will also demonstrate how such tools can be customized
to individual users through an appropriate application of learning
algorithms. Other demonstrations will include methods for recording and
reusing designers’ shape preferences, tools for approximate surface
creation from point sets, and a new augmented reality design interface
for rapid surface creation and modification. Finally, based on my past
and current work, I will discuss some of my aspirations for the future.

Biography:
Levent
Burak Kara is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical
Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. His research interests
include intelligent design tools, pen computing, geometric modeling,
human–computer interaction, and artificial intelligence. At CMU, he
teaches the Mechanical Engineering Senior Capstone Design course and the
graduate level AI and Machine Learning for Engineering Design course.
Kara has a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the Middle East Technical
University, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from
Carnegie Mellon University. He received the NSF Career Award in 2008,
and was awarded the Professor of the Year by the MechE senior class of
2010.

Prof. Maria Yang, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Systems Division, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
“Understanding Early Stage Design Process through Behavior

11AM, Fri. Apr. 1, 2011: 3110 Etcheverry Hall

Abstract

Engineering and product design are concerned with
the creation of physical artifacts, from simple consumer products to
complex, large scale engineering systems. My work considers the
processes used in the early stages of design to bring these products and
systems into being. This early stage of design has been shown to be
impactful on design outcome, yet is ambiguous and rapidly evolving, and
is therefore difficult to assess and predict. My research seeks to
deepen our understanding of how designers make decisions during the
early stages of the design process. This work formulates metrics and
tools for analyzing design process through the extraction of formal
structures from rich, informal design representations such as sketches,
prototypes, and words. This approach provides a novel means to
understand both design process and the behavior of the designer in
innovative ways.

This talk will describe work in the extraction
of design preference information from design team discussion. Designers
may have various preferences for alternatives within a set of possible
design choices. Quantitative preferences are useful for supporting a
range of formal design processes, but in practice, design teams express
their preferences informally. Thus, the problem of eliciting preference
and choice information is one of the ongoing problems in engineering
design research. This work involves a probabilistic strategy based on
word frequency to assess the likelihood that a team will prefer one
design alternative over other choices. The talk will conclude with
future work in early stage design, along with thoughts on design
curriculum.

For additional information on the work presented in this talk, interested readers are directed to the following publications:

Preference information extracted from design team discussion
T.
Honda, M. C. Yang, A. Dong, and H. Ji. (2010) “A Comparison of Formal
Methods for Evaluating the Language of Preference in Engineering
Design.” DETC2010- 29045. Proceedings of the 2010 ASME Intl Design
Engineering Technical Conferences, Aug 15 – 18, Montreal, Canada.
http://web.mit.edu/~mcyang/www/papers/2010-hondaEtal-DETC-ling.pdf

M.
C. Yang and H. Ji (2007) “A Text-Based Analysis Approach to
Representing the Design Selection Process.” International Conference on
Engineering Design, ICED07, August 28-31, 2007, Paris, France.
http://web.mit.edu/ideation/papers/2007-ICED.pdf

Estimating design uncertainty
T.
Honda, H. Chen, K. Chan, and M. C. Yang (2011). “Propagating
Uncertainty in Solar Panel Performance for Life Cycle Modeling in Early
Stage Design.” AAAI Spring Symposia: Artificial Intelligence and
Sustainable Design. March 21-23, 2011, Stanford, CA.
http://web.mit.edu/~mcyang/www/papers/2011-hondaEtal-aaai.pdf

Biography

Maria Yang is the Robert N. Noyce Career Development
Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Systems
(dual) at MIT. Her research interest is in the process of designing
products and systems, particularly in the early phases of the design
cycle. She earned her SB in Mechanical Engineering from MIT, and her MS
and PhD from Stanford University’s Mechanical Engineering Department,
Design Division under an NSF Graduate Fellowship. She was an Assistant
Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of
Southern California, and before that a postdoctoral instructor of design
in the mechanical engineering department of Caltech. She has also been a
lecturer in design at Stanford University. She is the recipient of an
NSF CAREER award. Dr. Yang’s industrial experience includes serving as
Director of Design at Reactivity, a Silicon Valley software company now a
part of Cisco Systems. She has done research into collaborative design
tools at Apple Computer’s Advanced Technology Group and Lockheed
Artificial Intelligence Center. In addition, she has explored the user
interaction issues for software design, as well as ergonomics issues of
force-feedback devices for Immersion Corporation.

Dr. Sherry Hsi, Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California Berkeley
“HOWTOSMILE.org: Building a Cyberinfrastructure for Making Math and Science Learning Fun

12PM, Weds. Mar. 30, 2011: Berkeley Institute of Design, HMMB 354

Abstract

Museums and science centers produce vast numbers
of engaging science, art, and math activities as part of their
educational mission, but few activities are discovered by teachers,
afterschool educators, parents, and volunteers who teach school-aged
children in out-of-school settings and youth-serving educational
programs. To support out-of-school educators in finding high-quality
STEM activities, the Lawrence Hall of Science created a national
partnership of private and public organizations to form HOWTOSMILE.org, a
searchable online collection of high quality, hands-on interactive
science and math activities developed by formal and informal education
institutions dedicated to making STEM learning fun, hands-on, and
engaging.

In this talk and demonstration, I share the team’s user
experience design process informed by front-end evaluation, usability
testing, and on-going formative evaluations. HOWTOSMILE.org’s user
interface is built using Drupal and the cataloging system uses an open
source digital library platform customized in partnership with the
National Science Digital Library. The results have yielded a need for
better informal learning metadata, and well-designed community tools to
allow annotations, lists, community-earned points and badges, and
user-contributed videos for sharing teaching tips.

Biography

Dr. Sherry Hsi is a researcher, designer, and
learning technologist with the Lawrence Hall of Science at the
University of California Berkeley.  Working at the intersection of
research and practice, Dr. Hsi has created and evaluated new media,
handhelds, science websites, digital libraries, and other learning
technologies and science education programs.  Dr. Hsi co-leads
HOWTOSMILE.org, a National Science Foundation-funded digital library of
inquiry-based science and math activities for informal educators that
draws the best materials from across many museums and science centers.
She is also a co-investigator on an educational data mining research
project that investigates online visitors to museum websites. Before
joining the Lawrence Hall of Science, Dr. Hsi conducted design and
evaluation studies at the Exploratorium. Dr. Hsi is on the editorial
board for the International Journal of Science Education, and reviews
for the Journal of the Learning Sciences. Dr. Hsi is a graduate of the
SESAME program in science education at the University of California
Berkeley and completed post-doctoral work with The Concord Consortium.

Jim Slotta, OISE – University of Toronto
Sail Smart Space
10AM, Fri. Mar. 11, 2011: Berkeley Institute of Design, 354 Hearst Memorial Mining Building

Abstract

Our session will introduce a “smart classroom” construct that
employs a range of emerging technologies (e.g.,  laptops, tablets,
smartphones, interactive tabletops, and large format displays) to
investigate a new model of collaborative inquiry within a knowledge
community.  Our research employs a powerful, flexible open source
platform called SAIL Smart Space (S3), which in turn builds on the rich
framework of SAIL (Scalable Architecture for Interactive Learning – see
Slotta and Aleahmad, 2009).   S3 allows these devices and displays to be
integrated into the environment through a set of core underlying
technologies: a portal that allows students to register, log in, and
track their individual interactions and contributions; an intelligent
agent framework that allows tracking of student interactions in real
time (i.e., to react to the conditions that emerge within the class); a
central database that houses the designed curriculums and the products
of student interactions; and a visualization layer that controls how
students see the information presented to them depending on the device
(ie. laptop vs. handheld), and types of activity (ie. working in a group
vs. working alone).  This work has led to a new model for secondary
science curriculum called “Knowledge COmmunity and Inquiry” (KCI).Our
presentation will highlight 3 elements of our research: 1) The current
interation of this smart classroom infrastructure that is being used in a
high school and a college setting; 2) Two examples of KCI curriculum
already implemented using the S3 architecture; and 3) Two examples of
innovative projects that are currently under development..
 

Prof. Maria Yang, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Systems Division, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
“Understanding behavior in early stage design decision-making

10AM, Fri. Mar. 4, 2011: BEST Lab, 6102 Etcheverry Hall*

*Note: This talk will be streamed live from the Center for Design
Research at Stanford University through the following link:
http://stickam.com/designx

Abstract

Engineering and product design are concerned with
the creation of physical artifacts, from simple consumer products to
complex, large scale engineering systems. My work considers the
processes used in the early stages of design to bring these products and
systems into being. This early stage of design has been shown to be
impactful on design outcome, yet is ambiguous and rapidly evolving, and
is therefore difficult to assess and predict. My research seeks to
deepen our understanding of how designers make decisions during the
early stages of the design process. This work formulates metrics and
tools for analyzing design process through the extraction of formal
structures from rich, informal design representations such as sketches,
prototypes, and words. This approach provides a novel means to
understand both design process and the behavior of the designer in
innovative ways.

This talk will describe work in the extraction
of design preference information from design team discussion. Designers
may have various preferences for alternatives within a set of possible
design choices. Quantitative preferences are useful for supporting a
range of formal design processes, but in practice, design teams express
their preferences informally. Thus, the problem of eliciting preference
and choice information is one of the ongoing problems in engineering
design research. This work involves a probabilistic strategy based on
word frequency to assess the likelihood that a team will prefer one
design alternative over other choices. The talk will conclude with
future work in early stage design, along with thoughts on design
curriculum.

Biography

Maria Yang is the Robert N. Noyce Career
Development Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and
Engineering Systems (dual) at MIT. Her research interest is in the
process of designing products and systems, particularly in the early
phases of the design cycle. She earned her SB in Mechanical Engineering
from MIT, and her MS and PhD from Stanford University’s Mechanical
Engineering Department, Design Division under an NSF Graduate
Fellowship. She was an Assistant Professor of Industrial and Systems
Engineering at the University of Southern California, and before that a
postdoctoral instructor of design in the mechanical engineering
department of Caltech. She has also been a lecturer in design at
Stanford University. She is the recipient of an NSF CAREER award. Dr.
Yang’s industrial experience includes serving as Director of Design at
Reactivity, a Silicon Valley software company now a part of Cisco
Systems. She has done research into collaborative design tools at Apple
Computer’s Advanced Technology Group and Lockheed Artificial
Intelligence Center. In addition, she has explored the user interaction
issues for software design, as well as ergonomics issues of
force-feedback devices for Immersion Corporation.

Katie Ackerly, University of California – Berkeley
“Occupant Response to Window Control Signaling Systems

10AM, Fri. Feb. 25, 2011: BEST Lab, 6102 Etcheverry Hall

Designs for low-energy office buildings
increasingly incorporate operable windows alongside a mechanical system
for the benefits of personal control, environmental quality, and
architectural value. But designing building controls to achieve these
benefits is an unresolved energy-efficiency challenge. Signaling systems
that inform occupants about when to open and close their windows has
become a popular, low-cost solution that strikes a balance between
manual control and building intelligence, but there has been little
feedback about whether occupants use them. This project reviews 16
existing applications of window signaling controls across the country.
Results from occupant surveys, design team interviews and site
observations compare design objectives and programming strategies,
compare occupant responses in each building, and present a list of key
considerations for future applications.

Hao Wang, Global Center of Excellence for Mechanical Systems Innovation, University of Tokyo
“Web-based Innovation Supporting System for Advanced Market Innovation

10AM, Fri. Feb. 11, 2011: BEST Lab, 6102 Etcheverry Hall

Traditional data mining and statistics methods are
usually applied to market research and analysis for new products or
services development by companies, in hope of achieving sustainable
competitive advantages in the dynamic market. However, product designers
are always suffering from fewer creative ideas mining. In fact, ideas
are usually stored by low frequency or zero frequency information in the
dataset. Therefore, in this research, a novel Web-based Innovation
Supporting System (ISS) is proposed for aiding humans to create creative
ideas for new product or services concept design. The Web-based ISS is a
human-centric system to improve human’s value cognition and go by the
following process: (1) scenario graph generation, and (2)
customer-centric innovators market game (C2IMG), where includes human
value cognition, value co-creation as emerging creative ideas, and
creative ideas evaluation. A case study shows humans who applied this
system created more creative ideas than those who did not. Some other
interesting patterns are discovered as well. The ISS system approach can
be regarded as an extension of traditional data mining and machine
learning for sustainable products or services design especially under
the turbulently changing business environment.