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Appears in:
Page: 645 (abstract only)
Publication year: 2010
ISBN: 978-84-613-5538-9
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-10 March, 2010
Location: Valencia, Spain

SYNERGISTIC BENEFITS OF ART AND MECHATRONIC ENGINEERING COLLABORATION

E. Bennett

School of the Art Institute of Chicago (UNITED STATES)
It is possible, perhaps routine, for mechatronics engineers to design objects and systems they will never see. An engineering education often parallels this aspect. In a typical undergraduate mechatronics program, a first physical, qualitative design experience usually comes in the third or fourth year project. This may be too late for a student to begin developing the intuitions which are characteristic of an experienced designer. While it may not be absolutely necessary for a designer to ever step outside the abstractions of a CAD system, anecdotal evidence suggests that a designer who can has another window on the problem set.
From the 18th century until the personal computer revolution, American students of engineering lived in a culture that celebrated making technical things, purely for pleasure, as an expression of personal aptitude in technology. During that time, the quantitative formalism of an engineering education, coupled with a qualitative intuition produced through informal contact at a young age with materials and processes of industry, encouraged technological innovation on a prodigious scale. These cultural values were largely lost in the United States in the 1980's.
Providing a valuable pedagogical context in which students can learn to develop physical intuition for physical systems may give a competitive advantage of one school's engineering program over another's. The grass roots movement of “making” appeared in about 2003. Making is a meta-term that can refer to any type of informal craft. Usually, however, making means an alloy of craft, technology, and improvisation. Making usually implies an informal connection with some discipline of engineering or physical science. It always refers to hand built objects and systems.
The craft component of making also crosses over into art, particularly kinetic and robotic art. Since the 1920's, artists have used electronics and mechanisms to activate art pieces. There is a long tradition of collaboration between kinetic artists and engineers, with the artist receiving the practical value.
My proposal is that through collaboration with artists working in the realm of making, engineering students could be exposed to real design problems. They can find out a bit about how the physical world really works, participate in non-linear thinking processes, and begin to recognize well formed solutions to abstract problems.
@InProceedings{BENNETT2010SYN,
author = {Bennett, E.},
title = {SYNERGISTIC BENEFITS OF ART AND MECHATRONIC ENGINEERING COLLABORATION},
series = {4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2010 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-613-5538-9},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {8-10 March, 2010},
year = {2010},
pages = {645}}
TY - CONF
AU - E. Bennett
TI - SYNERGISTIC BENEFITS OF ART AND MECHATRONIC ENGINEERING COLLABORATION
SN - 978-84-613-5538-9/2340-1079
PY - 2010
Y1 - 8-10 March, 2010
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2010 Proceedings
SP - 645
EP - 645
ER -
E. Bennett (2010) SYNERGISTIC BENEFITS OF ART AND MECHATRONIC ENGINEERING COLLABORATION, INTED2010 Proceedings, p. 645.
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