Penn College Industrial Design Study Major in Japan – PCToday


A student at the Pennsylvania College of Technology was one of 20 academics from around the world participating in a Japan-based industrial design program.

Dwight D. Alexander, from Umatilla, Fla., Attended a four-day workshop at Kobe University International Innovation Design School in Kobe, Japan. Students from the United States, Poland and Japan participated in the program, which asked participants to design an innovative product and assess how the product will improve future society.

“It was an adventure. I wanted to go there to make more connections, to meet new people, ”said Alexander, who is expected to graduate in December with a bachelor’s degree in industrial design. “I can build on what I learned there and apply it here, where we learn techniques and technology to turn ideas into practical designs. “

At Kobe University, students used the “metaphor method,” forcing them to take into account attributes of existing objects, such as an animal, to solve their design problems. Alexander’s four-person group took inspiration from bats to create the Bat Survival Kit, a Swiss Army knife-like device, incorporating a water-purifying straw and a camera.

“The camera had propellers. You could throw it in the air and it would give you a 360 degree view of your surroundings as it slowly descends. You can control it through your smartphone, ”Alexander said.

Thomas E. Ask, professor of industrial design at Penn College, heard about the University of Kobe program while attending the Fourth International Conference on Creativity in Design in Atlanta. He presented the opportunity to his students and Alexander seized it.

“The program fits well with our interests, which is that it is international, interdisciplinary, creative and technical,” Ask said.

Alexander’s 12-hour days involved more than hands-on design work. Students attended lectures from industry experts on topics such as sketch-based interfaces for 3D modeling, foresight methodology, and the cognitive dimension in design.

They also visited the Mitsubishi Electric Corp. plant. in Kobe and visited the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science, home to the fastest K computer in Japan.

“It was amazing to see,” said Alexander, who is secretary and treasurer of both the Penn College student chapter of the Industrial Design Society of America and the college’s Society of Inventors and Mad Scientists.

In addition to the Japanese experience, Alexander’s training includes a one-semester remote internship at Nexeon MedSystems Inc., a global medical device company headquartered in Dallas. The search for a neurostimulator for people with atrial fibrillation reflected his career goal of “using industrial design to create a better future”.

Alexander designs a two-seater sports coupe for his main project. Her dream is to design cars for Tesla, known for its electric vehicles.

“Dwight is passionate about design,” Ask said. “He combines passion with good people skills to create compelling work. “

As he compares full-time employment to graduate school, Alexander is unequivocal that Penn College is the right school for him. It was the final stop on an 18th anniversary tour of northeastern colleges and universities.

“Right after the tour and after talking to Tom (Ask), I knew this was the place for me,” Alexander said. “He was so energetic and it was obvious he knew what he was doing. I felt really confident that he would lead me in the right direction. This has been proven with my recent trip to Japan.

For more information about the Penn College Industrial Design Degree and other programs offered by the School of Industrial, Computer and Engineering Technologies, dial 570-327-4520.

Penn College is a national leader in applied technology education and workforce development. Email the admissions office or call the toll-free number 800-367-9222.

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