RP or not RP: That is the co-creation question
Authors: Koohgilani, M.
Start date: 9 September 2015
Rapid prototyping has been growing in complexity, capability and user-friendliness. 3D printers have been dropping in price as rapidly as modern mobile devices with touch screens. From schools to consultancies, local businesses to global manufacturers, everybody recognises the unique contribution of RP in the design development process and the savings in time and money it can deliver. This demand has been fuelling the phenomenal growth in investment in the technology and its uses. Many academic institutions like Bournemouth University are conducting research into the uses and developments of RP technology.
However, as the cost of the technology has dropped a whole new conversation about the effects of RP in design education has arisen. Just as most technological developments have both positive and negative implications, many questions have been raised, such as: • Can the technology handicap the development of other essential skills required in design and engineering (D&E) • Does RP encourage D&E students to think that simply being able to visualise a product digitally is enough? • Does RP give students unrealistic expectations of the real design and manufacturing environment? • How can RP be used to stimulate creativity without sacrificing design integrity • What view does the design industry take on these questions.
Drawing on the experiences of Bournemouth University’s BA/BSc Product Design students and industry professionals, this paper discusses how RP affects the traditional design education approach, and explores the concept of co-creation through the combination of both traditional physical fabrication and rapid prototyping.
Start date: 3 September 2015
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Journal: Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education: Great Expectations: Design Teaching, Research and Enterprise, E and PDE 2015
© 2015, The Design Society. All rights reserved. The growth of rapid prototyping (RP) appears to show no sign of slowing. Within industry, recent advances in material development have driven the increased adoption of RP technologies for manufacture. Businesses and hobbyists have embraced the availability of low-cost, desktop 3D printers. Schools and universities have enthusiastically integrated 3D printing into their teaching, particularly within the fields of design and engineering. However, there is evidence that the popularity of RP is driving a disconnection between the worlds of industry and education. Recent comments by Apple's head designer have highlighted a shortage in vital practical design skills among new graduates. These comments follow announcements of the closure of practical workshops within the design departments of several universities. Recent academic research has also been increasingly concerned about the educational benefits of utilising RP within design teaching. These developments raise a number of important questions for educators within design and engineering (D&E): • Can the use of RP technology affect the development of other essential skills required in D&E? • Is experience of RP technology an essential requirement for today's D&E graduates? • Is practical workshop experience an essential requirement for today's D&E graduates? • What view does the design industry take on these questions? Drawing on new research into the experiences of Bournemouth University's BA/BSc Product Design students and industry professionals, this paper explores whether universities are providing students with the correct skills for today's design industry; how RP affects the traditional design education approach; and whether the concept of co-creation through the combination of traditional physical fabrication and rapid prototyping is appropriate.