Sunday, November 7, 2010

Engineering and the arts

One of the subjects I want to write about on this blog are other engineering students, and the cool things they are doing in and out of school. So, I can think of no better person to start off with than one of my closest friends (heavy bias here, but she totally earns it too). Everyone, meet Adri:

Adri is a number of awesome things: the resident techie/mechie of my household (she fixes refrigerators and wireless internet routers), crew director for the Mac Eng Musical, part of the first graduating class of Engineering & International Studies, and a mechanical engineering student (see 'Fascination with Engine,' above).

What I find particularly cool is her final year design project, a collaboration between mechanical engineering and fine arts students to design and construct an art installation that will be located on campus. We had a mini-interview to talk about her course:

Robin: How would you describe what you do in your course?
Adri: It's a collaboration between mechanical and fine arts students on final year design project. The original idea was an "art jukebox," but after discussion we wanted to create something more permanent, dynamic, and something that you can interact with. We need to design around the spaces that we have in mind for the project, and some ideas were too big but there are two that we think could work. We also need to obtain the funding and look at contacting some companies for materials and maybe reach out to alumni.

How often do you meet to work on the project?
Adri: We meet about once or twice a week. Right now we're working on 3D models of our concepts - not working prototypes but models first to help explain how the design could work.

Where is the art going to be installed?
Adri: There are two spaces in the Engineering Technology Building that we're looking at. Our next step will be meeting with the Dean to present our detailed design - that's the report we're working on right now - and hopefully get approval and take it from there.

I really like the interdisciplinary aspect of her project, and the visibility and tangible-ness it has as a final project. To see the result of the collaboration from two years ago, have a look at the website for the Chronos Clock project (also installed in the new engineering building). Make sure to check out "What is it?" to learn how to read the somewhat different clockface.

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