Intel and CMU work together on IDeATe

As he sat in his office on the lower level of Carnegie Mellon’s Margaret Morrison Hall, Daragh Byrne’s excitement over the IDeATe program was evident.

Byrne, currently a research scientist in the Visible Process Lab at the School of Design and former assistant research professor at Arizona State University’s School of Arts, Media, and Engineering, has been tabbed as the Intel integrative design fellow for the university. He will be coordinating with faculty and students on the program and leading research on optimal methods for integrative design education, as well as on ways in which Intel products can be utilized for innovative, collaborative efforts.

The Integrative Design, Arts, and Technology (IDeATe) program is about combining “technical expertise with design expertise to create a next-generation learning environment for students,” Byrne explained.

Carnegie Mellon, the fifth school to join the new Intel Design School Network, is the first to announce a program combining integrative design and technological skills for students from a diverse array of majors.

The IDeATe program is meant to support students looking at careers in media design, game design, and more. To Byrne, the partnership is about “exploring next-generation learning environments where students are supported by new and innovative technologies.”

As part of IDeATe, Intel is gifting hardware and materials to the university, including tablets, laptops, and Galileo development boards, which will be available to students, designers, and faculty who are participating in the curriculum.

“The idea is that we now have a large amount of hardware that will give us a new chance to explore,” Byrne said. “It’s a fantastic opportunity. With the support of the university and of Intel, we can explore how to enhance [students'] integrative design experiences on campus.”

Participation in the Intel Design School Network also connects students and faculty with Intel staff and individuals at other leading design schools for research projects and idea generation.

Byrne feels that the partnership with Intel is perfect at a school like Carnegie Mellon. “We are top 10 in technology, design, and the arts, so we bring a great perspective and a lot of expertise to the Design School Network. The combination of technology, arts, and design here positions us to be leaders of innovation in the network and in integrative design.”

IDeATe is meant for the “next generation of designers, of computer scientists,” Byrne said. “Intel is providing classroom and product resources and we’re trying to apply them to students. Our goal is to get this technology in the hands of students and see what they can do with it.”

Launching in Fall 2014, IDeATe will offer over 28 courses covering several different concentrations and minors in areas including animation and special effects, learning media, media design, sound design, physical computing, and entrepreneurship for creative industries. These will connect students from across Carnegie Mellon with faculty and staff from 25 different departments across Carnegie Mellon.

A university press release notes that the new IDeATe courses “will focus on cutting-edge themes such as human-machine virtuosity, physical computing, expanded theater, and mobile design.”

Additionally, Byrne feels students from across campus and across many intersecting disciplines will be able to “come together and bridge skills, and move towards new and innovative outcomes.”

Byrne believes the program fits in with the times. “We’ll be trying to observe the evolution of these courses and understand how various experiences can be enhanced. We’ll try to gather and enhance the quality of learning and experiences for students.”