3D Printing Requires a Whole Spectrum of Skills
Being an engineer is not just about being able to calculate and analyze. It's a whole spectrum of skills.
Hod Lipson is the co-author, with Melba Kurman, of Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing. Lipson and Kurman are leading experts on 3D printing, frequently speaking and advising on this technology to industry, academia, and government. Lipson's lab at Cornell University has pioneered interdisciplinary research in 3D printing, product design, artificial intelligence, and smart materials. Kurman is a technology analyst and business strategy consultant who writes about game-changing technologies in lucid, engaging language.
Product design is one of these very amorphous kinds of processes that involve anything from coming up with new concepts, from being able to have great insights into who customers are and what they need. That involves a lot of technical skills and being able to predict things and calculate. It involves paying attention to small details that matter. But it also involves marketing and being able to make people care about what you're making. So it’s a whole skill set.
So what we’re talking about is what people need and how we should educate our future engineers and future creative people. It’s not just about math, it’s not just about being able to calculate and analyze. It's the whole spectrum.
Since we can use 3D printing technologies together with computer-aided design technologies and all these different capabilities and allow students to go from A-Z, we can expose them to all of that. And students at any age can find their niche. They can say, “Okay, I really like to design, I really like the geometric design." Or, “I really like to do the market analysis. I really like to generate new concepts and I don't care about the details.” And you can see people identifying where their niche is rather than going to people and saying “Okay if you want to be an engineer you need to know math”. I think that’s a very narrow view of education. And that’s kind of what we’re saying to kids today. That’s a turnoff for many if not most people.
In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.
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