What is Design + Tech?

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What is Design + Tech?

This inaugural University-wide lecture series explores design research, technological innovation, scholarship, and collaboration across disciplinary boundaries in science, engineering, and design. The series is represented by a network of faculty from across AAP, CHE, ENG, CIS, A&S, as well as faculty at Cornell Tech. In an era where we are witnessing one of the biggest paradigm shifts in the conceptualization and creation of our environments, objects, and interfaces, the series will present research and projects on topics at the intersection of design and emerging technologies to understand and discuss their impact upon industry, practice, knowledge, and pedagogy in a changing world. 




Professor Itai Cohen
Physics (Arts & Sciences)

January 26
5:00 p.m.


Assistant Professor Timur Dogan
Architecture (AAP)

February 23
5:30 p.m.

Milstein Hall & Zoom

Professor Ulrich Wiesner
Materials Science & Engineering

March 30
5:00 p.m.

Statler Hall Room 165 & Zoom

Harald Haraldsson
Cornell Tech Faculty (Director, XR Collaboratory)

April 27
5:00 p.m.

Bloomberg 091 (Cornell Tech, NYC) & Zoom

Jointly organized by Cornell AAP, Cornell Tech, and cross-campus collaborators.

January 26 | Itai Cohen

Bringing Physics Into the Fold: How the Physics of Origami is Transforming Fields Ranging From Microscopic Robots to the World of Fashion

Professor Itai Cohen studies the physics of matter in motion. At Cornell, his research has focused on building microscopic robots, controlling the shear thickening behavior of microscopic and nanoscopic particles suspended in a fluid, exploring the mechanics of materials ranging from biological tissues to origami inspired metamaterials, discovering the aerodynamic and neuromuscular mechanisms used by insects during flapping flight, and determining how audiences at heavy metal concerts coordinate their movement. Understanding how emergent behaviors arise from the microscopic rules governing these systems remains one of the biggest challenges in physics.   

February 23 | Timur Dogan

Augmenting Design with Environmental Performance Analysis

Population growth, urbanization, and related space constraints will require new construction and densification of urban centers worldwide. Until 2050, the UN forecasts a construction demand equivalent to 250 times New York City. This is a worrisome development since roughly 30% of the global greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to buildings. On the flip side, the construction and renewal of urban centers can also be a unique opportunity to mitigate climate change through intelligent design solutions, energy efficiency improvements, and increased use of renewable energy. Planning this massive transformation requires new tools to quantify environmental performance and inform the design decision-making process. This lecture provides an overview of novel software tools that are developed at the Cornell Environmental Systems Lab and how to embed environmental modeling tools directly into the architectural design process. This presents a paradigm shift towards integrated and intelligent design processes. 

March 30 | Ulrich (Uli) Wiesner

Cornell dots: From Design to Technology of Theranostic Probes in Oncology

After decades of intense research, cancer is still a devastating diagnosis with substantial socio-economic effects on individuals, families, and society at large. Decades ago the emergence of the field of nanotechnology followed by applications to nanomedicine promised revolutionary ways to treat diseases like cancer. Indeed, recent developments of completely novel approaches to highly effective vaccines against COVID-19 have shown the potential of such nanoscience driven technologies. This talk will examine the role of the emerging field of molecular design and engineering applied to nanoscopic fluorescent materials referred to as Cornell dots or simply C dots, for diagnostic and therapeutic (i.e. theranostic) applications in oncology. Including discussions of results of past and ongoing human clinical trials, it will be demonstrated that their ultrasmall size in combination with their multifunctional design promises unusual efficacy and safety in the treatment of cancer. This includes crossing the blood-brain barrier (BBB) enabling the targeting and treatment of primary and metastatic lesions in the brain. The presentation will end with a short outlook into the future of C dot based design and technology development.

Harald Haraldsson | April 27

Designing and Prototyping 3D Interactions for Augmented and Virtual Reality

Whether it's placing virtual furniture in the real world using augmented reality (AR), or playing the latest rhythm game in virtual reality (VR), interacting with virtual environments through AR/VR devices has become more accessible in recent years. Designing these experiences and products remains challenging. Compared to 2D user interfaces, the design process for 3D UIs must overcome a lack of standardization, ergonomic constraints, human perception issues, and overall technical complexity. At the same time, the availability of specialized input devices and complementary sensor data opens up exciting possibilities for novel interactions. This talk will give an overview of the unique design challenges encountered when building high-fidelity 3D interaction prototypes for head-mounted displays.


Itai Cohen

Professor Cohen received his B.S. in physics from the University of California at Los Angeles, and his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Chicago. Following his graduate studies, he was a post-doctoral fellow in physics and the Division of Engineering and Applied Science at Harvard University. In 2005 he joined Cornell and is currently a professor of physics. Professor Cohen is an NSF Career grant recipient, he is a fellow of the American Physical Society, and has served as a Feinberg and Braginsky fellow (2012) and the Rosi and Max Varon Visiting Professor (2021) at the Weizmann Institute. He is also slated to be the van der Waals Visiting Professor at the University of Amsterdam (2022). He has published over 110 research articles, given nearly 300 invited seminars, colloquia, and conference presentations, and coauthored the book Finding Your Research Voice: Story Telling and Theater Skills for Bringing Your Presentation to Life. His work has been covered by various news outlets ranging from the BBC to NPR, and the New York Times.

Timur Dogan

Timur Dogan is an assistant professor at Cornell AAP. Dogan holds a Ph.D. from MIT, a master's in design studies from Harvard GSD, and a Dipl. Ing. in architecture with distinction from the Technical University Darmstadt. Dogan's mission with Cornell and the Environmental Systems Lab is to enhance the knowledge of sustainable building technologies, through innovative educational programming and strategic research at the intersection of design, computer science, and building performance simulation as well as urban geospatial analysis. The outcomes of the Environmental Systems Lab's research are sustainable design analysis methods, workflows, teaching concepts, computer-based design tools, and facade components.

Ulrich (Uli) Wiesner

Ulrich (Uli) Wisener studied Chemistry at the University of Mainz, Germany, and UC Irvine, CA. He gained his Ph.D. in 1991 in Physical Chemistry with work at the Max-Planck-Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P), Mainz, on holographic information storage in polymer liquid crystals. After a two-year postdoc at E.S.P.C.I. in Paris, France, on local dynamics-mechanical property correlations in polyesters, he returned to the MPI-P in 1993 where he finished his Habilitation in 1998 with work on block copolymers under oscillatory shear and block copolymer ionomers. He joined the Cornell University, NY, Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) faculty in 1999 as a tenured Associate Professor, became a Full Professor in 2005, and since 2008 is the Spencer T. Olin Professor of Engineering. At Cornell, he holds secondary appointments (field membership) in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (CBE), Biomedical Engineering (BME), and Chemistry and Chemical Biology (CCB). Since his arrival at Cornell he has worked at the interface between polymer science and inorganic/solid-state chemistry with the goal to generate multifunctional nanomaterials for applications including energy conversion and storage, clean water, and nanomedicine. Between 2015 and 2016 he was the co-director of the MSKCC-Cornell Center for Translation of Cancer Nanomedicine (MC2TCN), one of six Centers for Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence (CCNE) funded by the NCI (https://www.cancer.gov/sites/ocnr/research/alliance/ccne).

Harald Haraldsson

Harald Haraldsson is the Director of the XR Collaboratory at Cornell Tech, and lecturer on augmented and virtual reality. At the XR Collaboratory, Harald works with Cornell faculty, researchers, and students from a variety of disciplines on AR/VR-related projects. Harald holds a master's degree in computer engineering from Tokyo Institute of Technology.


Bringing Physics Into the Fold: How the Physics of Origami is Transforming Fields Ranging From Microscopic Robots to the World of Fashion

Augmenting Design with Environmental Performance Analysis

Cornell dots: From Design to Technology of Theranostic Probes in Oncology

Designing and Prototyping 3D Interactions for Augmented and Virtual Reality

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