Barry Kudrowitz is a PhD candidate in the Mechanical Engineering Department at MIT, studying the relationships between humor and creativity to develop better idea generation tools for designers. Barry designs playful tools and opportunities that spark the imagination. Some tools are physical items that inspire creativity, such as a whiteboard table for collaborative brainstorming and a guitar that untrained musicians can play. Others are less tangible idea generation tools and games intended for use by students and designers. In addition to designing playful tools, he also designs playful products. Barry co-designed a Nerf® toy that is currently on the market, an elevator simulator that is in operation at the International Spy Museum in Washington DC, and a ketchup dispensing robot that was featured on the Martha Stewart Show.
Barry’s greatest passion is teaching design. He is course instructor and creator of a project-based class at MIT, Toy Product Design (2.00b), where he uses play as a means of getting students excited about engineering and product design. In the class, teams of students take their own toy ideas from concept to alpha prototype with the help of interdisciplinary mentors and industry representatives. This class is currently the highest enrolled non-required course in the MIT Mechanical Engineering department. Several of the student projects have continued on after the class to the point of filing for patents and starting ventures. The toy prototypes from the past two years are currently on display at the MIT Museum. For more information on Toy Product Design, please visit the course website.