Intel Design School Network Bridges the Gap Between Technology and Interaction Design Education

The intersection between technology and design is fascinating and full of promise, with innovators from each discipline bringing unique approaches to creating tomorrow’s solutions. In the blog post below, John Somoza, Higher Education Program Manager, Intel Higher Education Office, explores the Interaction Design Program, in which design students around the world have the opportunity to become comfortable working with and around technology and develop the chops to bring great ideas and solutions to multiple fields. ~ David McKinney


When young designers put their heads together and start thinking about tomorrow’s innovations—from autonomous cars to smart factories to wearables and beyond—unique and intriguing questions take center stage, such as “Would you trust your car enough to sleep in it while it drives you somewhere?” and “Could illuminated sidewalks reduce crime rates?” The inherently exciting nature of such questions, and the promise that the subsequent conversations, study, and expression of ideas can dramatically affect technology, inspired Intel to found the Interaction Design Program (IxD) more than two years ago.

The program’s overarching goal is to help create a new generation of design students who are comfortable and excited about working with and around technology. To begin the mission, we identified five design schools from the around the world that exemplify the sophisticated level of design that Intel values. These schools—Art Center College of Design, California College of the Arts, Carnegie Mellon University, Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, and the Royal College of Art—make up the Intel Design School Network.

Many of the schools have a rich history of connecting their students with industry collaborators, typically via industry sponsored programs and individual design studios. For IxD, though, Intel favored a more intimate approach, in which students from each school work closely with faculty and industry experts in specialized, forward-thinking curricula. By providing financial support and dedicated subject matter experts, Intel is helping—and challenging—the Network schools to innovate their programs and share best practices with one another. The ultimate goal is to create a new norm in how design schools prepare designers to make an impact in technology.

Recently, representatives from the five schools and Intel gathered for several days to talk about achievements from the past year, which you can read about below. We also talked about new and exciting collaborations in the transportation arena, in which several schools are beginning to work closely with major auto manufacturers and other industry leaders—including Jaguar Land Rover, Bosch RTC, General Motors, and Toyota—to explore and create innovations in technology and design.

Outstanding Achievements in the Intel Design School Network

Intel Design SchoolCalifornia College of the Arts

With the leadership of the Intel-funded technologist-in-residence Andrew Maxwell-Parish, the new Hybrid Lab—a shared interdisciplinary space for making, with technology that is built around the principles of being open, fast, and inspiring—has been so popular among CCA students that the need for additional resources was identified. Intel answered the call by funding four “technology carts” and part-time staff to support them. The carts allow the school to bring hands-on technology curriculum into more classrooms. Intel also funded a studio on the future of retail and, more recently, hosted sessions at CCA with the Make it Wearable and Intel Global Challenge finalists.

Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design (CIID)
Students in Denmark have had many terrific new opportunities to learn about technology through three Intel-funded initiatives: A prototyping lab, the creation of the NEST incubator, and Intel Fellow Sha Xin Wei, who presented his work on reinventing paper as a medium that incorporates touch and sound. Watch a short video about the CIID here.

Royal College of Art
Over the past year, about 150 design students have learned about technology—within the school and through interschool collaborations—thanks in part to a new Intel-funded technical lab and a Technologist-in-Residence program. The increased demand and excitement about the technology curriculum inspired the Royal College of Art to hire an additional staff member for the lab.

Art Center College of Design
Three extraordinary events led in part by Syuzi Pakhchyan, the school’s Intel-funded technologist-in-residence, helped make this past year a huge success. In March, the Connected Bodies symposium “explored issues surrounding the complex nature of autonomous digital transactions, the ability of wearables to adapt to different contexts, and how this new wave of interactions should behave both aesthetically and culturally.” (Learn more).  June brought the Extreme Wearables Designathon, a wearable technology design and making fest, and in August, Ms. Pakhchyan moderated Outliers: Wearables on the Periphery – a Wearable Tech LA Panel. Other highlights this year included an opportunity for students to meet international journalists participating in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair and show off projects, the chance for several student to share their projects with Intel in Hillsboro, Oregon, and the continuing development of NETLab, a toolkit ported to HTML and the Galileo platform that enables novices and experts to integrate hardware, media, and interactive behaviors for products, installations, and research.

Carnegie Mellon University
Intel funded a technical operations coordinator position and donated equipment to support the recently launched IDeATe, an interdisciplinary program in which students are exposed to a technology/design curriculum in one of several focus areas while still getting their degree in their main discipline of study. Two hundred students are enrolled, and the program will ramp up to 500 students plus 200 more who will take individual courses as electives. The program incorporates a dedicated maker space to include 3-D printing and laser cutters.


It’s been an amazing year, and there are some incredibly exciting plans for 2015—so stay tuned for more news about this truly impactful program.

David McKinney

About David McKinney

Social Media Manager, Internet of Things (IoT) Group INTEL CORPORATION David is a 16 year veteran at Intel and currently the Social Media Manager for Intel’s Internet of Things Group (IoTG). Prior to his current position, David led the content creation enthusiast notebook marketing efforts where he defined product strategies to solve content creation workflow problems and establish Intel leadership in the Digital Content Creation (DCC) segment. David has held business development manager and marketing leadership positions in multiple Intel business groups, including the Intel field sales organization. Outside of work, David enjoys a number of hobbies ranging from hiking to volunteer work at the Oregon Humane Society along with the discovery of new technologies related to music creation and photography. You can follow David on Twitter: @dmckinney and continue the conversation on Twitter by following @IntelIoT and friend us on

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