EC.720J | Spring 2010 | Undergraduate

D-Lab II: Design


Design Packet: Introduction

The design process is both an art and a science. The following steps may help get you on the road; they can be used as a way to track and document the design process and can give you ideas for how to proceed. “Brute force” engineering options often meet the criteria but somewhere there is a profound solution, which is simple, cheap, and beautiful. Hold out for this as long as possible. The design process is generally considered to be a combination of the following stages:

  • Information gathering
  • Problem definition
  • Design specifications
  • Idea generation
  • Analysis & experimentation
  • Concept evaluation
  • Detail design
  • Fabrication
  • Testing & evaluation

The process is not a linear one, however, as it is often necessary to go back to revisit earlier stages in light of information which you discover as you proceed. Experience has shown that the more time spent on the initial stages of the design, the easier the later stages become. In this class you will learn the design process by applying it to a real technological challenge. This packet describes the design assignments for the semester.

We will move through the design process over the course of the semester, and you will report your progress in a series of design review sessions. While each project will proceed at different rates, we expect that you will have achieved the following milestones for each design review session.

11 Phase 1: project background, problem definition and design specifications (aka Homeworks 10 and 11)
13 Phase 2: idea generation, experimental results, concept evaluation and final concept (aka Homework 14)
17 Phase 3, part 1: detail design, analysis and experimental results (aka Homework 15)
20 Phase 3, part 2: Prototypes
24 Practice presentations for MIT Museum D-Lab showcase

After each review session, each team should meet to discuss the feedback they received and write a one to two-page document summarizing comments and criticisms on your project. The document should contain all comments made by reviewers and should outline what your team believes to be the most pertinent criticisms and how you plan to incorporate them as you move forward. These feedback summaries should be kept on the wiki and referred to often throughout the design process.

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2010
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Notes
Projects with Examples
Design Assignments
Written Assignments
Activity Assignments with Examples