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Art school grads use tech to tackle big issues

Engadget Engadget 17/05/2016 Kris Naudus
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Brooklyn's Pratt Institute might be well known for its engineering and arts courses, but for students in its industrial design program, it's about more than just making something pretty and earning a degree. The ethos of the curriculum includes "trying to solve problems of poverty, hunger, energy, health, and other troubling issues of the disadvantaged world population by design." Indeed, that philosophy was on full display at this year's graduate student showcase.

The assistant chairperson of industrial design at Pratt, Scott A. Lundberg, told me that while the first year in the Pratt program is about the instructors telling the students what was important in terms of process and skills, the third year is where the students get to show what's important to them. The projects on display certainly spanned a variety of interests and concerns, from eco-friendly packaging for food carts to a modular kitchen for wheelchair-bound cooks. And, while some thesis designs were a bit whimsical and outlandish -- like a dress with built-in fans to cool down women suffering from hot flashes -- others took more subdued approaches to solving issues. Check out our gallery to see a few of the projects looking to tackle health and transportation issues via thoughtful industrial design.

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