Designing the future, 1 chair at a time

UC Berkeley’s 3D Modeling Club’s Facebook post about its annual design-a-thon could not have been more perfect — “No experience? This is a great way to jump into one of the biggest parts of the maker and design communities.”


“No experience” is all I need to hear, but any notion that this was an event for novices quickly dissipated once I read, “We’ll provide Arduinos, bluetooth chips and other materials for you to use.” I have no clue how bluetooth chips work, and I don’t even know what an Arduino is, much less how to use it. But the prize for the winning team was a 3-D printer for each team member, so I gathered up my team, which consisted of a business major, a cognitive science major and myself, and showed up only 30 minutes late.

Between my two teammates, they had a little more than two hours of experience with 3-D modeling. I actually took the 3-D modeling DeCal last semester, but there are two reasons people take DeCals — a genuine interest in the subject matter or a desperate need for credits. It’s safe to say I fell into the latter category, as my final project was a crude model of a human arm.

The people seated around us at the design-a-thon made it pretty clear that we were the least experienced. There was one guy sporting a jacket that read, “Amazon Alexa Developer.” I don’t know if he really helped develop Alexa, but as an intimidation tactic, it was working.

After introductions and a welcome slideshow, we were given our theme: health and fitness. Starting at 12 p.m….

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