Invention & Design:

  • The Invention & Design Project
  • On Invention and Design
  • Educational Applications
  • Teacher/Student Resources
  • Possible Futures
  • The Research Team and Other Credits
  • Comments and Questions

  • The Invention and Design Project

    The Invention and Design (I&D) project is the result of extensive research into the mental and practical aspects involved in the development of new ideas and/or products. The goal of the project is to facilitate a better understanding of the processes involved in invention and design through extended case-studies.

    We are is dedicated to the development of the best possible materials, however, we realize the need to meet the requirements of users. In this spirit, we request that you contact us with questions, information requests, and/or comments.

    Development of materials in this project was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.

    Principle development of the I&D resources has been accomplished by the I&D Research Team, Division of Technology, Culture and Communication, at the University of Virginia.

    On Invention and Design

    Instead of defining Invention and Design at the outset, we prefer to rely on cases to illustrate how difficult it is to bound these activities by formal definitions. In our view, invention and design are on a continuum; at one extreme are acts of invention that are so novel they seem like a major leap, and on the other are incremental changes in designs that are tightly constrained by specs. In between is a large gray area where design gradually shades into invention. Our materials also include references to, and research on, scientific discovery because invention often involves discovery, and to discover, scientists have to invent new procedures and technology.

    Educational Applications

    The Invention and Design project is intended to be used by anyone interested in the topics involved--we have tried to make the materials as accessible as possible to a wide audience, including teachers, students, managers, inventors and designers. But clearly our emphasis is on potential educational applications. Specifically, we have developed several modules which are intended to be used in coordination with classroom curricula. For example, the Telephone Module is idealy suited for use in a science/physics class; incorporting concepts such as electricity, communication, light, etc., as well as introducing the Invention and Design concepts. More information on educational applications of the individual modules is available on the module pages.

    Teacher/Student Resources

    Resources on the Invention and Design pages, in certain sections, are split into those for students and those for instructors. This is being done to facilitate the use of I&D resources in classroom environments. Separate instructor sections include teaching notes, suggestions for projects, and various other resources. To gain access to the instructor resources it will be necessary to contact Dr. Michael Gorman, at the University of Virginia. We also have a special page for secondary educators.

    Present progressive...future perfect.

    The Research Team and Other Credits

    The Team

    Dr. Michael Gorman - meg3c@virginia.edu
    Jonathan Plucker - jp5m@curry.edschool.virginia.edu
    Gautam Jagannathan - gj5s@watt.seas.virginia.edu
    Matthew Mehalik - mmm2f@watt.seas.virginia.edu
    J. Kirby Robinson - jkrobin@virginia.edu

    Other Credits

    The Repo Team
    Top illustration on I&D home page by Christine Ciesiel after M.C. Escher

    Comments and Questions (Help)

    We would welcome and appreciate any comments or suggestions you may make. Our goal is to provide a wealth of resources and examples for your use. You may get in touch with us through the on-line form, or through the Research Team credits listed above. Thank you.