‘The Royal College of Art offers Intel a unique creative environment, fuelled by design-led interdisciplinarity, in which to explore new cultural possibilities for the electronics that underpin Intel’s core technologies.’ – John Somoza, Higher Education Program Manager, Intel Corporation
The Royal College of Art teamed up with technology company Intel to host a funded technologist-in-residence, to open up technology and make it accessible to non-technical specialists, and to build a networked community that will share ideas, projects and new social directions for electronics.
Based within the School of Design’s Mechatronic’s Lab, the Intel technologist-in-residence offers technical tutoring and – more importantly – develops a culture that frames electronics in strategic and social contexts, encouraging researchers and students to consider the implications of emerging technologies. Workshops and seminars by designers, technologists and scientists support learning by introducing current research themes in the field.
The Lab itself offers a range of services, including Arduino, traditional electronics soldering and circuit testing, for which Intel provide components, tools and processors, enabling access to equipment that is normally hard to reach.
The RCA’s Design Interactions programme has been working with Intel for more than five years. Having worked closely with engineering faculties, Intel is now embracing design approaches and methodologies, and has created the Intel Design School Network to engage with design schools around the world and re-examine the role of design in its own processes, where it has been typically perceived as a problem-solving service. The network will also enable Intel to ‘listen’ to students interacting with its own areas of research and development, such as ‘wearable’ technologies.
The network comprises the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, Carnegie Mellon University, Pasadena’s Art Centre College of Design, California College of the Arts and the Royal College of Art.
Initially a three-year pilot, the network will investigate how these institutions can work together and collaborate, as well as longer-term possibilities for research and knowledge exchange. Each partner brings its own personality and design expertise to the programme, and the RCA contributes both a strong culture of interdisciplinarity in a design context and a history of innovation.