Real Companies. Real Projects. Real Designs.
Students in ME310 take on real world design challenges brought forth by corporate partners. Unlike many other academic engineering projects, which require students to optimize one variable, students must design a complete system while being mindful of not only the primary function but also the usability, desirability, and societal implications. Throughout one academic year, student teams prototype and test many of their design concepts and in the end create a full proof-of-concept system that demonstrates their ideas.
See some of our previous projects at our Case Studies section.
Stanford Design Innovation Process.
Through the course of the project, students learn, apply, and experience the Stanford Design Innovation Process and many of its tool sets. Teams observe and interview users to better understand their needs, benchmark existing technologies and products to identify the design opportunities, extensively brainstorm to discover the obvious, crazy, and novel ideas, and iteratively prototype to quickly test their ideas and get a better understanding of their designs. The end result is a refined design concept backed with key insights.
On every project, student teams at Stanford collaborate with another team from a foreign university. The diversity not only adds various skill sets but also different cultural perspectives on the design challenge that increases the chances of breakthrough innovation. Diversity has been demonstrated to correlate highly with design team innovation, and it is one of the core variables that Stanford's Center for Design Research finds valuable. For students, the experience of working with different cultures is necessary in this globalized world as most designers, engineers, and projects managers operate in distributed work teams.
Check out the ME310 Global Network.
Extensive Support Crew.
The course is instructed by professors Mark Cutkosky (ME, Robotics) and Larry Leifer (BioEngr, Design Methodology) and aided by Consulting Professor George Toye (ME & IT) and three to four Masters and PhD students as teaching assistants. Furthermore, each team is assigned an engineering-culture coach - volunteers who typically have taken ME310 and have between five and thirty years of professional experience with vast networks in the Bay Area and the global technical community. Find out more about the people behind ME310.
Every team is provided a dedicated project space in the ME310 design loft, which also houses a rapid prototyping machine shop and a Polycom video conferencing system. The full Stanford Machine Shop, the Product Realization Laboratory, is also available to the students along with various other on-campus resources. Students at the foreign partner universities also have access to similar personnel and infrastructure resources.
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