To say we all look at the world through different lenses might sound cliche, but over at MIT, students are taking that concept and giving it new life. In a pre-orientation program called Discover Product Design (DPD), students are asked to document their week-long experience through images, proving there is an intersection between engineering and design.
Run by members of the MIT Ideation Lab, a mechanical engineering research group studying early-stage design processes, DPD was created to expose incoming freshmen to design. While intended to teach the basics of photography, the program has also been used to show students how to document work for a design portfolio, as well as introduce them to all the facilities and tools the Institute has to offer.
“I loved the concept,” said Maria Yang, a mechanical engineering professor who runs the Ideation Lab. “I had no idea what design was when I was a freshman, and it took several years before I was exposed to it.”
What begun in August 2009 by Yang and alums Josh Velasquez and Justin Lai, has now introduced tons of new students to local design firms, galleries and MIT-related businesses, including Altitude Inc., Anderson Porter Design and Design Museum Boston. Throughout the week, students are given short design challenges, like creating laser cut products or posters they can use to decorate their dorm rooms. At the end, they get the beauty of seeing MIT with a fresh perspective and in a different light.
Here’s a look at the photos incoming freshmen took this past year —
For those who want to create their own photo essay, the Slice of MIT recommends “checking out Sensing Place: Photography as Inquiry on OpenCourseWare for instruction (including videos) and inspiration, especially the student image galleries that explore things like light, significant detail, and landscape poetics.”
First photo courtesy of Trang Dang