We would like to say thank you to Dr. Bess Williamson for kicking-off our spring 2021 speaker series, Design Conversations. This spring, we are continuing the theme: For Whom? By Whom? Designs for Belonging, a series that investigates design’s exclusions, and invites guests to discuss the ways their work examines ideas around inclusivity.


We are pleased to share the results of our COVID-19 Design Challenge, launched in early April as the second month of shelter-in-place orders began. Spear-headed by ME professor, Dr. Kosa Goucher-Lambert, the Design Challenge encouraged student teams to consider how design could address the current climate of the COVID-19 pandemic and the future challenges it would pose to our communities.

With PPE production well underway at the Jacobs Makerspace and CITRIS Invention Lab, the Design Challenge was created to give students the opportunity to leverage their cross-disciplinary skill sets in design and consider future-ranging issues as they relate to COVID-19…


With COVID-19 radically transforming teaching practices, colleges and universities across the country have made the leap to online instruction, often with little notice and time to prepare.

At UC Berkeley, our instructors had just 24 hours notice to figure out the best practices for transitioning to online learning. This has been particularly challenging for our design courses, where classes rely on student teamwork, in-person critique, open-ended projects, and the ability to prototype using materials and resources available in labs and makerspaces. …


Fridays at 12pm, Jacobs Studio 310

This fall, we continue our series For Whom? By Whom? Designs for Belonging launched in Spring 2019.

Inclusion, accessibility, and justice are unavoidable terms in debates on design and technology today. It has become clear that fostering belonging requires overcoming design’s perceived innocence — admitting historical and contemporary cases where design accidentally or purposefully excludes — to formulate more deliberate positions on designers’ role in shaping collective life. More than an effort to incorporate neglected populations within existing paradigms, today’s leaders work to reinvent design and technology to promote alternative methodologies, knowledges, and ways of life. From racist bots to #metoo, the urgency of this reinvention has only become more apparent. …


This Fall, distinguished lectures on design, justice, and inclusion and a new series at BAMPFA

Refik Anadol, Infinity Room. Courtesy the artist.

This Fall, the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation continues its investigation of inclusion and justice in design launched last Spring under the title For Whom? By Whom? Designs for Belonging. We’re also excited to launch a new series at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive in conjunction with Berkeley Arts + Design.

See complete series listings here:

Listings for past series can be found here:


Public lectures will explore Responsible Design from Bits to Buildings

This Fall, the Jacobs Institute’s Design Field Notes lecture series moves to the auditorium at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive in conjunction with Thinking Through Art and Design@Berkeley. An innovative offering supported by Berkeley’s Arts + Design initiative, the course pairs class sessions with visiting lectures open to the general public. The series will feature an array of practitioners, curators, and academics examining Responsible Design from Bits to Buildings, cotaught by Professor Björn Hartmann and Dr. Robert Kett of the Jacobs Institute and Professor Kyle Steinfeld of the College of Environmental Design. …


by Madalyn Miles

In the Visualization Lab in Jacobs Hall’s lowest level, Design Specialist Chris Parsell sets up his laptop, a chair, and a table before a white-wall backdrop — as if staging a photo booth — to show me one of Jacob’s newest design technologies. He places the subject (a water bottle) in the center of a round, low-lying table. I am seated, observing him. Next, he takes what looks like a small projector in his left hand that shines a bright, strobe-like beam of light on his water bottle. …


Team update, Global Product Development | By Lara Mcconnaughey for Team Lux: Chris Callahan-Dudley, Derek Pan, Lara McConnaughey, Aaron Ong, and Hannah Reher.

The average commuter spends about 45 minutes to an hour of his or her working day in traffic. This traffic is caused by an increasing number of automotive vehicles on the road, yet many of these vehicles are only occupied by a single passenger — the driver. Recognizing that most cars inefficiently transport a single occupant over short distances, we hope to create a weather-proof, comfortable alternative to traditional vehicles and increase adoption of environmentally friendly electric…


Team update, Global Product Development | By Samantha Yang for team GripStrong: Prakhar Agarwal, Samantha Yang, Lara Zlokapa

Every year, the US sees 100,000 new cases of Quadriplegia, or tetraplegia, a disability typically caused by a spinal injury resulting in lower limb and hand paralysis. It is usually accompanied by tetraparesis, muscle weakness that affects all four limbs. Quadriplegic patients also use wheelchairs, restricting their ability to reach objects, and most have reduced control over wrist movement, which restricts their ability to grasp objects. After some research, we discovered that only a few companies make gripper devices for quadriplegic patients.


by Robert J. Kett, PhD

This Spring, the Jacobs Institute hosts the inaugural installation of On View at Jacobs Hall, an exhibition program featuring designs engaging cultural life and emerging technology. Fabien Cappello: Sillas Callejeras/Street Chairs will be installed across Jacobs Hall from March 22-May 18.

The streets of Mexico City’s historic center near Fabien Cappello’s studio. Photo by author.

The Mexico City studio of Fabien Cappello is part workshop and part collection, an intimate, cloistered space that is nevertheless an immediate reflection of its surrounds. Located in the city’s historic center — a district where colonial buildings sit atop Aztec Tenochtitlan and often lean precariously toward their more modern neighbors, Cappello’s operation is…

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