As it goes the department lecture series are mandatory for the first year and after that it falls to the student to decide whether to attend them. And as is often the case, students in their second plus year prioritize their own work over an hour or two listening to another review their respective work.
This is understandable, particularly if the speaker is seen as a source of dreamy inspiration rather than a real opportunity for growth of ideas or the development of other potentials. In this instance I am writing to discuss the notion of other potentials which present themselves in these lectures. In particular the lecture this night of November 1st, 2017 was given by Assistant Professor Robert Stuart Smith. Yes, per lecture format he covered the work he has done up to the present. The type of work, and it’s ongoing nature, relative to PennDesign students is the surprise other potential of the lecture.
Robert Stuart Smith works primarily with algorithmic design modeling which works towards increasing self autonomy, generative design, and combines this with robotic manufacturing principles. One example is of drones working with a set of coded rules to navigate and construct a balloon and string structure. The lecture presented students with a brief introduction to past work, his interests, and possible work to be carried out in the Penn ARI Lab soon to be completed.
Unlike visiting lecturers, this lecturer is here to work with students to develop the design culture of PennDesign. Now not every lecture will present these kinds of unique, at home, developable situations, however the ideas and students use of resources can begin to create these opportunities.
All in all, tonight’s lecture was a pleasant surprise with a sweet promise of applicability in research.
More about Robert Stuart Smith:
More on the ARI Lab: