The BEST Lab has three major theme areas. (1) The Berkeley Expert Systems Technologies (BEST) Lab addresses cutting edge research in applied Artificial Intelligence, Expert Systems, Human-Computer Interaction and Design Informatics. (2) The Berkeley Energy and Sustainable Technologies (BEST) Lab focuses on sustainable communities, sustainable product design, alternate energy and appropriate technologies. (3)  The Berkeley Emergent Space Tensegrities (BEST) is a new collaboration on tensegrity soft robotics with NASA Ames.

The BEST Lab is located in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at University of California at Berkeley under the direction of Professor Alice Agogino. The BEST has moved to its new design loft in the Mezzanine of Hesse Hall.

Larson-Juhl Sponsors Innovation Design Challenge at UC Berkeley's Innovation Through Design Thinking

Photo of team with sponsor

Larson-Juhl sponsored a design tournament challenge in UC Berkeley's Innovation Through Design Thinking course in Fall 2013. The course is part of the MEng concentration in Product Design in Mechanical Engineering and the Fung Institute for Engineering Leadership.

The top two teams (Sports Fanatics and Mood Frames) had an opportunity to present their ideas to Larson-Juhl's executive management. Larson-Juhl is now moving forward with a modified version of the Sports Fanatics concept using NFC technology. They are sending out award certificates to each winning team member in June 2014. 

To identify new opportunities in the picture framing industry, Larson-Juhl recently sponsored “Framing Innovation,” a Design Thinking challenge for students at University of California, Berkeley. Doug Rozenboom, Larson-Juhl’s senior vice-president, Global Merchandising & Product Development, sponsored a tournament in a graduate class titled “Innovation Through Design Thinking,” taught by Alice Agogino (Mechanical Engineering) and Alan Van Pelt (Design Strategy Consultant). The class was instructed to identify new innovation opportunities in the framing industry by studying potential new consumers and creating concepts to best reach them. 

“At Larson-Juhl, we’re always looking to think outside of the frame, and working with the students of UC Berkeley was a great way for us to gain new innovative insights into our industry and the many possibilities of what is to come,” shares Rozenboom.

Six student teams researched specific customer segments, conducted interviews, built prototypes, and presented their ideas to Rozenboom and their professors. Judging the competition, Rozenboom selected the top two concepts. Those teams went on to present their innovative creations to Larson-Juhl’s executive team, which then selected the winning design team Sports Fanatics of Dizhou Lu, Toby Ricco, Logan Van Engelhoven, Chris Gotianun, and Hoseok Lee (photo above, left to right). The Runner-Up Mood Frames (Dian Dong, Katy Van Lieshout, Chen Zhuang and Theerapat Yangyuenthanasan) team's concept is also being considered for a new product.

Larson-Juhl will incorporate aspects of the winning team’s design concept into upcoming products. “We strive to find the next generation of products for customers. These students are tomorrow’s consumers, and collaborating with them gives us a great opportunity to accomplish our goal,” Rozenboom said.

Tensegrity Robotics Rapid Prototyping Team Filmed at NASA Ames by the Discovery Channel

At the end of May 2014, the Discovery Channel took footage and interviewed the tensegrity team for a feature on our Tensegrity Robotics Rapid Prototyping Kit.

Team at NASA Ames conducting research and preparing
for the filming.

Testing the tensegrity robot in NASA Ames' Mars
landscape mock-up site.

BEST Labber Ann McKenna Named Director of the Fulton Schools of College of Technology & Innovation at ASU's Polytechnic Campus

Photo of Ann McKenna
Ann McKenna has been named the director of the sixth school within the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.
 With the new reorganization Ann has gone from department chair to a director, overseeing multiple degree programs, faculty and staff (100 faculty, 4,0000 students and over 10 degree programs).

Excerpt: "She has served as professor and chair of the department of Engineering and Computing Systems at the College of Technology and Innovation since 2012.“We are excited to welcome Ann to the Fulton Schools as school director on ASU’s Polytechnic campus,” said Paul Johnson, dean of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. “After an extensive search, Ann’s experience, her vision for the school, and the support she received from her colleagues proved to be a perfect combination of credentials for the role of school director.”“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead the sixth school on ASU’s Polytechnic campus,” said McKenna. “The Fulton Schools are experiencing significant growth and our portfolio of program offerings is now one of the largest and most interdisciplinary in the country. I am excited to join the leadership team at the Fulton Schools as we continue to evolve and expand.”Beyond her role as school director, McKenna’s scholarly research includes the cognitive and social processes of design; the role of adaptive expertise in design thinking and innovation; and the mechanisms and policies that influence the impact and diffusion of educational innovations. She has twice been the recipient of the ASEE best overall paper award (1998 and 2011), as well as the recipient of the outstanding paper award from the IEEE/ASEE Frontiers in Education (FIE) conference (1997). Her work in the area of design education has been nationally recognized by being a best paper finalist for three consecutive years, 2009, 2010, and 2011 in the Design in Engineering Education Division of ASEE (winning the award in 2011). McKenna works across the disciplinary lines of engineering, education and design and has published in diverse disciplinary venues including Science, the Journal of Engineering Education, IEEE Computer, ASME Journal of Mechanical Design, and Teaching in Higher Education.Prior to joining ASU, McKenna served as a program officer for the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the Division of Undergraduate Education and was on the faculty in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Segal Design Institute at Northwestern University. She currently serves as a Senior Associate Editor for the Journal of Engineering Education, the leading research journal in the field of engineering education.McKenna earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s in mechanical engineering from Drexel University and a doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley."

Lionel Mohri Running Design Thinking Workshop at the White House

Photo of Lionel Mohri

Former BEST Labber Lionel Mohri and Hugh Molotsi at The White House running a Design Thinking workshop in the Indian Treaty Room in the East Wing. Note his stylish belt from Hummus Apparel.

Mind the Culture Gap: Bridging the divide between technology and cultural communities

Photo of demonstration home under construction

BEST Lab and PPN project in the Berkeley Science Review, April 2014. Excerpt: "Reaping the benefits of modern technology while maintaining a traditional culture produces tension that can leave the consumer compromised. The work of the Agogino group and the Pomo Nation shows that a growing field of culturally sensitive engineering can relieve this tension. Modern advances have the potential to benefit everyone when a little more time is taken to understand and cater to the end user’s unique culture."

UC Berkeley Design Fest: May 6-10, 2014

UC Berkeley UC Berkeley Design Fest Poster UC Berkeley Innovation Lab

Berkeley's Design Fest is an open house event where UC Berkeley students will show and tell their current design projects. This open house event will showcase the diversity and magnitude of the design activity occurring in departments throughout Campus. This year Design Fest will take place over several days:

Class/Project title

Professor/ Organization



IDEATE - Innovation ShowcaseIdeate is a student project showcase to celebrate the work of students across campus. This is an opportunity to get recognized and see what other fellow students are doing. There will be free catered top dog and cash prizes! 
Quinn Shen, ASUC Dwinelle and Wheeler Plaza Thursday, May 1, 3-6:00 pm

People and Environmental Design (ED1)

W.M. Martin Wurster 1st Floor Lobby Thursday, May 1, 3:30-5pm

Engineering Design Graphics
Sara McMains Etcheverry Hall, 2nd floor Thursday, May 1, 3:15-5:00 pm

Valuing Design: Design Innovation Seminar: Quality design is credited with providing a powerful competitive advantage to businesses and driving successful innovation. Metrics for measuring the value of design have included performance ratings (e.g., J.D. Power, Consumer Reports), financial metrics (e.g., stock performance, revenues, sales), expert evaluations (e.g., IDEA/Business Week, Consumer Electronics Society awards), creativity metrics (e.g., novelty, variety), process metrics (e.g., multidisciplinary teamwork, human-centered design), and societal impact (e.g., environmental, development in emerging regions). A survey of research in selected design metrics will be presented along with a discussion of what metrics might be used to differentiate UC Berkeley’s Design Innovation program. What skills do we hope our design graduates will have when they leave UC Berkeley? What role will our students play in creating a more meaningful and sustainable world? In this talk, design will be viewed broadly to include the design of physical products, software, services, experiences, new business models and policy.
College of Engineering, Alice M. Agogino B100 Blum Hall Friday, May 2, 2:30-3:3:30 pm

Inventors Open House - ME102: Mechatronics Design, a project course that provides students with an opportunity to integrate mechanical and electrical systems, to create "smart devices". Over the course, students become familiar with the Arduino microcontroller, common machine elements, sensors, and actuators. 
Homayoon Kazerooni 2nd floor Etcheverry Hall Friday, May 2, 2-5:00 pm

Architectural Design Studio (Arch200B)

Danelle Guthrie, Rudabeh Pakravan, Andrew Atwood

Wurster Gallery

Monday May 5, 9am-6pm

Tuesday May 6, 9am-6pm>

Big Ideas Grand Prize Pitch Day: Providing funding, support, and encouragement to interdisciplinary teams of students who have 'Big Ideas.'

Big Ideas

Blum Hall

Monday May 5, 2-5:00 pm

Fundamentals of Architectural Design (Arch100B)

Kristen Smith, JP
Bourdier, Ling Fan, Roddy Creedon, William DiNapoli, Legg Yeung, Dominique
Price, Jay Atherton, Ajay Manthripragada, Michelle Chang


1st Floor Lobby, Room 104, Room 108, Room 172

Monday, May 5, 1-7pm

Tuesday May 6, 1-7pm

UC Berkeley Innovation Lab
Introduction to New Product Development: Upper division students form multidisciplinary teams for hands-on and real world experience in the development of innovative and realistic customer-driven engineered products. 
Alice M. Agogino Innovation Lab, Memorial Stadium, map Tuesday, May 6. 11:30-2:00 pm

Innovation Feast: Eat. Think. Design. Project Showcase. RSVP at http://innovationfeast.eventbrite.com
Jaspal SandhuNap HosangKris Madsen 105 North Gate Hall Wednesday, May 7, 2014, 4:-7:00 pm

Design Showcase: Students from design clubs from around campus are coming together to present their projects that they have been working on this semester. This is a great way to meet with future designers, discuss exciting ideas, and get inspired!
Berkeley Innovation, Design for America and more! Hearst Mining Wednesday, May 7, 5:00-7:00 pm

User Interface Design (CS160): Students learn to prototype, evaluate, and design a user interface. More detail at: hci.berkeley.edu/cs160

Bjoern Hartmann Banatao Auditorium and Kvamme Atrium, 3rd floor, Sutardja Dai Hall Wednesday, May 7,
2-3:30pm - Presentations in the CITRIS auditorium;
3:30-5pm - Posters and demos in the CITRIS atrium

Critical Making (NWMEDIA 290 / COMPSCI 294-85: Critical Making will operationalize and critique the practice of “making” through both foundational literature and hands on studio culture. As hybrid practitioners, students will develop fluency in readily collaging and incorporating a variety of physical materials and protocols into their practice. With design research as a lens, students will envision and create future computational experiences that critically explore social and culturally relevant technological themes such as community, privacy, environment, education, economics, energy, food, biology, democracy, activism, healthcare, social justice, etc. More at: make.berkeley.edu

Eric Paulos

Kvamme Atrium, 3rd floor, Sutardja Dai Hall Wednesday, May 7, 2:00-3:30 pm

Architectural Design IV (Arch100D)

Darell Fields, Lisa Iwamoto, Alan Tse, Rene Davids Wurster Gallery Wednesday, May 7, 1pm-9pm
Thursday May 8, 1pm-9pm
Architectural Design Studio (Arch202) Ron Rael, Elena Manferdini, Susan Ubbleohde, Kyle Steinfeld Wurster 1st Floor Lobby  Wednesday, May 7, 1pm-7pm
Thursday May 8, 1pm-7pm

Fung Institute Capstone Poster Session
Fung Institute for Engineering Leadership Hearst Mining Thursday, May 8, 4-6:00 pm

Studio I

M. Paz Gutierrez Wurster 

Friday, May 9, 9am-9pm

Saturday May 10, 9am-9pm

M.Arch Thesis Renee Chow, Revee Choksombatchai,
Mark Anderson

Friday, May 9, 9am-9pm

Saturday May 10, 9am-9pm

Architecture Capstone Project: "Architecture in Reverse" Jill Stoner Wurster

Friday, May 9, 9am-9pm

Saturday May 10, 9am-9pm

More Next week: MBA247 Designing Web/Mobile Products. Check out the prototype products and services developed by the class. While any active feedback is greatly appreciated, simply visiting individual sites provides valuable statistical information. Please note: AdBlock Plus and other ad or pop-up blockers may block the splash page ads for our different products and services. If you have trouble viewing this site, please turn off AdBlock Plus and other pop-up blockers for the site: calnpd.com.
Thomas Lee Innovation Lab, Haas School of Business/

Tue., May 13, 12-2:30 pm 

More Next week: Design for Sustainable Communities CE209: Spring Design Reception and Open House. This course provides conceptual and hands-on experience developing sustainable and scalable solutions to alleviate poverty and address basic human needs. Students form interdisciplinary teams and partner with real world clients working to achieve positive impact in a resource constrained community. Teams and clients collectively define a design challenge to meet within the scope of the semester. Hands-on work is complemented by mini-lectures, short workshops, and case studies. Students come from a variety of backgrounds, including engineering, business, public policy, ERG, and chemistry, among others.
More information about the class and projects can be found at http://sustainablecommunities.weebly.com
Susan Amrose Blum Hall Plaza, interactive map http://www.berkeley.edu/map/googlemap/

Friday, May 16, 6-9pm



For more info contact: Alice M. Agogino (Mechanical Engineering) or Yael Perez (Cal Design Lab, College of Environmental Design)

3 May 2014

Cal Design Lab Logo

BEST Lab and NASA Ames Participate in Robot Block Party

As part of National Robotics Week, Silicon Valley Robotics at WilmerHale in Palo Alto hosted a Robot Block Party with "the most advanced robotics research in Silicon Valley, the hottest robot startups, the coolest robot companies and all the just plain fun robots you can imagine".Robots fly, swim and mow lawns at 'block party' (article from Palo Alto online, April 10, 2014). We collaborated with the Intelligent Robotics Group (IRG) at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field and demonstrated our "prototype robot based on a dynamically-controlled "tensegrity structure" -- ­a collection of rods connected and suspended by tensioned cables -- called "Tensegrity Bot."

Congrats to Saddiq Nuru Selected as COE Commencement Student Speaker

Saddiq Nuru is a member of the Mercedes-Benz MEng Capstone team. He was this year’s student speaker for the graduate commencement ceremony. Originally from Botswana, Saddiq came to UC Berkeley for our Master of Engineering program at the Fung Institute.  He hopes to spend his career developing engineering solutions that alleviate poverty. 

Quote from the news article in Forefront:

Head shot photo A positive and determined person, Nuru owes a lot of his success to the Master of Engineering program at the Fung Institute of Engineering Leadership, as well as to his parents, Hauwa and Hameed Nuru, and friends and family who believed in him. He would like to see more African students at Berkeley. "Africa is ripe with opportunity and on the forefront of a major change. UC Berkeley should strive to be part of that," says Nuru.

Euiyoung Kim and Vivek Rao Receive 2013-14 Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Awards

Photo of Euiyoung Kim Photo of Vivek Rao with Fung Institute staff

Please congratuate BEST Labber Euiyoung Kim (photo left) and honorary BEST Labber Vivek Rao (photo right) for receiving the 2013-14 Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Awards, sponsored by the GSI Teaching and Resource Center, in recognition of his exceptional achievements as a teacher. The GSI Teaching and Resource Center hosted a ceremony and reception in awardees honor from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 6, 2014. Award recipients also received a monetary award sponsored by the Dean of the Graduate Division to applaud outstanding GSIs.

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