I’ve mentioned a few times that I don’t really get GoldieBlox CEO Debbie Sterling’s motivation in allowing herself and her brand to become the face of what may be a years-long copyright battle with the Beastie Boys, but these are strange and volatile times. Still, the controversial story has brought the subject of women in engineering and technology design into the foreground, and it occurred to me that I know a really cool woman engineer/designer, who has smart things to say on that subject as well as the future of technology itself — especially robotics. This is one of my favorite conversations I’ve had to date.
In Part I, we talk about design, smart objects, and the responsibility of designers to consider the social implications of their products. In Part II, we talk a bit about GoldieBlox and about 3D printing.
Carla Diana originally studied mechanical engineering, but early in her career, she shifted her focus to industrial design, which demands a broad set of disciplines that sound more sociological than technological. In January of 2013, Diana wrote an article for The New York Times about how we interact with robotic machines, how that interaction is anticipated by designers in the early stages of development. Most recently, Diana published a book called LEO the Maker Prince, a children’s story meant to spark interest in the possibilities of 3D printing and that works in conjunction with projects kids can do using a consumer-grade 3D printer. Diana also teaches at the University of Pennsylvania and School of Visual Arts in New York City. She spoke to me via Skype from her home in Manhattan. (Apologies for the couple of Skype dropouts, but the context is still clear).
To learn more about Carla Diana or LEO the Maker Prince, go to: www.leothemakerprince.com