Year: 2017
Editor: Berg, Arild; Bohemia, Erik; Buck, Lyndon; Gulden, Tore; Kovacevic, Ahmed; Pavel, Nenad
Author: Brand, Andrew (1); Childs, Peter R.N. (2)
Series: E&PDE
Institution: 1: Imperial College, United Kingdom; 2: Imperial College, United Kingdom
Section: Design Education Practice
Page(s): 020-025
ISBN: 978-1-904670-84-1


Gadgets enthrall and delight. We are surrounded by the outcome of centuries of invention and associated refinements of machines enabling our lives. Many of these rely in their formation on prior technology and knowledge. It is this prior knowledge that provides a stepping point and foundation for design and realisation of a gadget.

This paper reports the long-standing ‘gizmo’ module that has been run on multiple occasions and in various formats each year at Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art. The module provides a foundation in mechatronics, coding and machine design to serve as building blocks for students’ self-generated ideas and prototypes for their gizmos. Exposure to a wide range of sample parts, coding sessions, practical build and integration of circuits and actuators has been found, in combination with a focus on key machine design concepts, a culture of adventure and the freedom from the constraints of a prescriptive brief, to result in meaningful and accelerated learning for undergraduate and postgraduate students of diverse backgrounds.

The module’s characteristics include a culture of adventure and ambitious builds, intensive activity, serendipity and celebration of failure and success.

Keywords: Machine Design, Mechatronics, Coding, Adventure

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