Hybrid Design Lab
Led by – Professor Steve Boyer, Director
Perhaps the largest impact of technology on human experience over the past two decades has been the increasing reliance on video screens as our primary means of engaging with the world. The Covid-19 lockdowns accelerated our dependence upon screen-based media and while it allowed us to maintain some degree of normal activity during this global crisis it also resulted in social and cultural disruptions the consequences of which are still unfolding. The HYBRID DESIGN LAB is dedicated to providing a space for exploring ideas and technologies that re-engage us with the world such that our lives are enhanced by digital technologies without being consumed by them. Hybrid Digital/Physical products, spaces and experiences aim to integrate mind, body and information, serving as an essential counter-balance to increasingly immersive experiences. As such we refer to the hybrid design model as EMERSIVE in that it draws media into the space of the viewer rather than drawing the viewer into the space of the media.
To serve these ends the lab is equipped with a variety of prototyping tools for creating hybrid digital/physical experiences including microcontrollers, sensors, short throw projectors, 3D printers and electronic components. The lab is a resource for students across all of our design programs to bring digital projects to life. The lab is supported in the Design Department curriculum with DESN454/554 Technologies for Hybrid Design which provides both the technical skills and conceptual frameworks for working in this continually evolving area at the forefront of contemporary design practice.