A student uses a tablet to scan the classroom.

Distinction in Our Research

Distinction in Our Research

The School of Industrial Design's research is interdisciplinary in nature. By working to create and design for new needs, we actively work with professionals across industries and disciplines to deliver through a user-centered research approach.

Research Highlights

The School of Industrial Design focuses on design solutions based on research. We think that adds a fundamental element to the end user's experience of the objects we design. That's why we offer students and faculty the facilities in which to conduct this research.

We offer students the opportunity to participate in three different academic labs, access to College of Design and industrial design-led facilities, as well as assistantship possibilities in affiliated College of Design research centers and labs.

Learn more about the different ways our faculty and students engage in research.

Wayne Li

Conquering the Cube: Learning to Sketch Primitives in Perspective with an Intelligent Tutoring System

Stephen Sprigle

Use of a Low-Cost, Chest-Mounted Accelerometer to Evaluate Transfer Skills of Wheelchair Users During Everyday Activities

School-Run Labs

Our labs are run by School of Industrial Design professors and tied to both our undergraduate and graduate programs. Over the course of lab-related studios, students have access to the latest and emerging technologies to enable design discovery. Often they collaborate with peers in mechanical or biomechanical engineering in our labs. Additionally, students are often introduced to industry professionals as they take part in sponsored lab projects or present the results of their research.

A colorfully-lit, turntable-based student project.

Interactive Product Design Lab

This lab focuses on smart technologies and student collaboration (undergraduates through Ph.D.) between designers, engineers, and computer scientists. Wearable technology is a feature of this lab's work, with emphasis on the importance of product concept and audience. Half of the time in the lab is spent on storytelling and figuring out how to communicate the use, value, and meaning of a product to users of that product. The prototyping facilities of this lab come in handy when researchers incorporate models in their communications.

A student sits while being scanned by 3D equipment.

Body Scan Lab

The Body Scan Lab studies the body shape variations of individuals and global populations to create better-fitting products that improve the quality of human life. The research focuses on creating design tools for the human body using high resolution 3D scanning, free-form CAD software, and digital manufacturing methods. 

Experimental car chassis in the working area of the GM-HMI lab.


The GM Human-Machine Interaction (HMI) Lab is interested in the future of transportation. In this lab, students imagine what that future will look, sound, and feel like. The research figures out how will people interact with their vehicles, and what will they do while being driven around by the virtual chauffeurs of autonomous (self-driving) cars.

Have a Question for Us?

If you can't find the information you were looking for, we'll get you to the right place.