Research & Innovation

Researchers Receive NSF Grant for Collective Design Through Remixing

Stevens Researchers Jeff Nickerson, Professor and Director of the Center for Decision Technologies and John Nastasi, Industry Professor and Director of Product-Architecture and Engineering Program, have received a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant award for a project titled “Collective Design through Remixing."

The project is centered on 3D online printing communities that allow makers, (designers characterized as expert amateurs), to share, modify, combine and print each other’s designs. These communities represent an opportunity to understand and improve collective design, a form of cumulative innovation.

Because collective design depends on the varied expertise of its participants, the project brings together makers with professional engineers, architects, and fabricators through an innovation contest. The makers bring energy, diversity, and experience with online collaborative design processes. The professionals bring detailed knowledge of practical problems, as well
 as an understanding of modeling and simulation technology in relation to materials used in additive manufacturing.

The contest is specified and juried by an advisory panel made up of makers and professionals and calls for the design of direct-print components to be 
used to rapidly deploy structures in emergencies.

One objective of the project is to translate an understanding of collective design into tools that will improve such design. In addition, the works seeks to catalyze innovation by bringing two distinct communities of makers and professionals together. Also, the value of the collaboration and the creativity support tools will be demonstrated on a problem of practical significance, the creation of deployable shelters in emergencies.

“We hope to build tools that encourage idea sharing,” says Nickerson.

“In the process, we will be drawing on the best talent from professional designs, design students, and manufacturers”, adds Nastasi.