I am an Associate Professor and Director of Product Design at the University
of Minnesota Twin Cities. I received my Ph.D. at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology in the Mechanical Engineering department
studying creativity, humor and idea generation. I completed my Master's
work at MIT studying projectile toy design with Hasbro Inc. and
my Bachelor's at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. In
2006, I was a visiting researcher at TU Delft in the Netherlands
studying industrial design and surprise in products.
I co-designed the award winning Catsup
Crapper, an anthropomorphic roller skating ketchup bottle. A newer model, The
Automato was featured on The
Martha Stewart Show and Conan.
I co-designed the Nerf Atom Blaster which was on the market for 5 years.
I co-designed the Putt-Pong Mini Golf Hole that has been installed at the Walker Art Museum for the past four years.
I co-designed a game for the iphone called Word Bounce available at the iTunes store.
I co-designed an elevator
simulator for Operation Spy, an immersive adventure show at the International Spy Museum in Washington DC.
I worked with Professor David Wallace on recreating
the Archimedes Death Ray. The Death
Ray is an array of mirrors which we used to set a wooden
boat on fire. Our work can be seen on Discovery Channel's Mythbusters
Episode 46. I was also a consultant and guest on PBS DesignSquad.
I am the founder of the class Toy Product Design which is offered at MIT as 2.00b
and at the University of Minnesota as PDES 3711. In the class, students develop new toy concepts working closely with industry partners and children.
I also teach PDES 2701 Creative Design Methods and PDES 3715 Food and Design at the University of Minnesota.
I have written a number of semi-serious academic works such as a chapter in a book about Designing for Emerging Technologies. I wrote an article here about how sketch quality impacts perception of creativity. And here is another article about selecting good ideas. On the lighter side, I have also written two children’s novels. For more of the serious stuff, see the CV.
I probably shouldn't say I am an "artist" as that could be subjective, but I love to paint, draw, sculpt, and animate. Some of my work is posted
in the Art section.
I created a series of illustrations called CourseToons
which depict some of the majors at MIT. At one time I began making illustrations of everyone I know
in a series called Friends of Barry.
I played guitar and sang in a gypsy rock band called Supa
Dupa. Previously, I was in a band called Off White Noise. I
also had a leading role in the Music Theatre Guild Production of
I am a poet or “rap artist” if you can imagine. Some of
my work is posted in the Hip Hop section
of this website. In 2004, I held the title “Orlando Grand
Slam Master” and was ranked 25th Greatest Slam Poet in the
World at the World Poetry Competition of 2004. I was in
a hip hop group called the Capacitors
with Nathan Ball.