Thesis (M.A., Interdisciplinary Studies) -- University of Idaho, 2015 | The interdisciplinary degree combining the fields of mechanical engineering and design addresses the concept of intersecting aesthetics and functionality, known also as industrial design. It demonstrates how both fields inter-relate to solve problems and improve overall product design.
The design field contributes to the desirability of a product. It encompasses the contextual nuances of social impact, future implications, alternative perspectives, and ephemeral qualities. The engineering arena is predominantly problem-solving, and contributes attributes such as the functionality, durability, reproducibility of a product.
For this study, engineering and design combine to influence aspects of three projects: a coffee shop, an adaptive device, and two building entrances. Key attributes include the overall design, usability, aesthetic look and feel, technical requirements, production, and installation. Each of these projects exemplifies how the combined disciplines of mechanical engineering and design can be applied to solve problems and create or improve a product, at various scales.