Converting a CD CAD model into an easily-assembled cardboard toy



Human beings and machines are interacting in new and unique ways in the 21st century.  That’s why design is such a vital aspect of engineering research at Purdue, discovering the ideals for mechanical systems, computational models, and human ergonomics.

In one Purdue lab, researchers use toys and video games as a vehicle to study how humans utilize creativity in the smartphone era.  In another, faculty are studying materials at the nanoscopic level, to determine how best to manufacture the nanomaterials of the future.  Another lab compares traditional manufacturing techniques with open-source culture, mapping out new paradigms for social and technical systems.

Design also collaborates with and strengthens other areas of engineering, like biomechanics, robotics, manufacturing, and vehicles.  If you want to build it, first you’ve got to design it.

Eye-tracking determines how consumers perceive different car designs

Standards-based information exchange between closed-source and open-source


Students put their design skills to work by inventing new prototypes


Faculty in Design

  • Multi-scale robotic manipulation and assembly
  • Mobile micro/nano robotics
  • Micro/nano aerial vehicles
  • Micro-Bio robotics
  • Mechatronics
  • Automation for the life sciences
  • Mechanical systems design
  • Analysis and simulation
  • Computer aided engineering
  • Kinematics
  • Dynamics
  • Robotics and automation
  • Robotics
  • Marine Robotics
  • Unmanned Systems
  • Energy Autonomy
  • Systems Design
  • Coordination and Controls
  • Collective innovation
  • Open source product development
  • Complex networks
  • Agent-based modeling
  • Computational design
  • Robust design and uncertainty management
  • Integrated products and materials design
  • Kinematic synthesis and analysis
  • Robotics
  • Multi-degree-of-freedom mechanisms
  • Human Skill and Augmentation
  • Collaborative and Hybridized Intelligence
  • Deep Learning of Shapes and Computer Vision
  • Human-Robot-Machine Interactions
  • Making to Manufacturing (M2M)
  • Factory of the Future and Robotics
  • Manufacturing Productivity
  • Product design
  • Conceptual design
  • Decision-making and behavioral psychology
  • Integrating human judgments into the design process
  • Application areas of interest include (but are not limited to): sustainability, healthcare/medicine, and non-traditional applications of design research.
  • Contact mechanics
  • Stresses, fatigue and friction of rolling/sliding
  • Micro-mechanics of boundary and mixed lubrication regimes
  • Spall initiation and propagation
  • Surface science and damage
  • Dynamics of ball and rolling element bearings and rotating systems
  • Friction induced vibration and squeal in dry contacts
  • Friction and wear of dry and lubricated contacts
  • Virtual tribology
  • Dry and lubricated fretting wear
  • MEMS for in-situ monitoring of tribological contacts
  • Discrete element modeling
  • Design
  • Solid mechanics, multiscale and multiphysics modeling.
  • Design of engineering material systems.
  • Fracture and fatigue.
  • Microarchitectured materials.
  • Biomechanics of soft and hard tissues.
  • Computational solid mechanics
  • Computational geometry
  • Microelectronics reliability
  • Environment friendly design and life cycle engineering
  • Applications of bio-based materials in manufacturing
  • Fast and low-cost detection of pathogenic microorganisms
  • Biomass thermo-chemical upgrading for liquid and gaseous fuel

Research Areas