Laura Harrison

Research Student (Full-time)

After studying a foundation year in Art and Design practice, I studied the Engineering Tripos at the University of Cambridge from 2002-2006, obtaining an MEng in Manufacturing Engineering and Management. Through this course I visited and studied numerous manufacturing environments in both the UK and Asia,  also undertaking a series of industrial placements with major British manufacturers, including Rolls Royce and the British Oxygen Company, and became fascinated by the potential of advanced manufacturing technologies for enabling new design possibilities.  I later obtained a Scholarship through the Royal Commission of 1851, to study Industrial Design Engineering at The Royal College of Art, and Imperial College London, leading to a joint MA an MSc.

From 2009-10 I spent a year as the Designer in Residence at Ravensborne College of Design and Communication, where I began researching new design opportunities for additive manufacturing, exploring the capabilities of the digital fabrication technologies within their new workshops. During this time I personally operated a broad spectrum of digital technologies, assisted in the management of the workshop facilities on a day-to-day basis, and contributed to undergraduate teaching in Product and Interaction Design, Architecture and Textiles. 

Laura is a final year PhD student in the Design Group. Her research is in the area of Design Computation.

Her current work examines design processes for creating objects, products and mechanisms with interconnected moving components, and considers how interactions with external representations of designs, realised through various media, enable design changes to be made, and object properties and behaviours to be examined, explored, and explained. 

This work uses physical model-making, digital fabrication technologies, and formal computation methods to explore how changing the shape and structure of a design affects the way it behaves or moves.  The nature and significance of interaction with physical models at different stages of the design process is explored, and the potential for formal, rule-based techniques to both generate and examine new designs is investigated. 

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