Carla Diana is a designer, author and educator who explores the impact of future technologies through hands-on experiments in product design and tangible interaction. She has designed a range of products from robots to connected home appliances, and her robot designs have appeared on the covers of Popular Science, Technology Review and the New York Times Sunday Review.
Carla has had a long-standing working relationship with the product innovation firm Smart Design and has received the honor of being named the firm’s first Smart Fellow. In this role, she oversaw the Smart Interaction Lab, an initiative focused on design explorations in the form of tinkering and hands-on experimentation around topics such as expressive objects, digital making, and presence and awareness. She was also Advisor for the group Tomorrow-Lab, a young design firm that creates electro-mechanical solutions for smart devices.
In addition to her professional design work, Carla is Assistant Professor of Product and Industrial Design at Parsons the New School. Prior to Parsons, she created and taught some of the country’s first courses focused on designing smart objects for the University of Pennsylvania’s Integrated Product Design Program, the School of Visual Arts and Georgia Tech. She maintains strategic alliances with a number of academic research groups such as UT Austin’s Socially Intelligent Machines Lab, where advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning are manifest in expressive robots.
From 2002 to 2007 she was Professor of Interactive Design at the Savannah College of Art and Design, where she co-wrote the curriculum for the College’s first Interactive Design program and developed Physical Computing courses.
Carla writes and lectures frequently on the social impact of robotics and emerging technology. Her seminal article, “Talking, Walking Objects”, appeared on the cover of the New York Times Sunday Review in January 2013, and is a good representation of her view of our robotic future. She is the author of the first children’s book about the future of 3D printing and design, LEO the Maker Prince, published by Maker Media. She is the author of a forthcoming book on smart object design to be published by Harvard Business Review Press.
Carla holds an MFA in Design from Cranbrook Academy of Art and a Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from The Cooper Union.
I design robots and everyday objects that come to life through electronic behaviors. I work with companies of all sizes in addition to developing my own products and artwork, playing in the space where physical and digital meet.
I am the creator of interactive sound project Repercussion.org, industrial designer for the iconic humanoid robot, Simon, and developer of Directives Digital Furniture (downloadable, laser-cut, design on-demand pieces).
Smart Design and the Smart Interaction Lab
Tomorrow-Lab, where I am Advisor
Socially Intelligent Machines Lab at the University of Texas, Austin (formerly at Georgia Tech), where I collaborate on social robot design and was the shell designer for famous robots Simon and Curi.
Here’s a small collection
I speak at various types of conferences and events.
Recently: SONAR+D, TEDxBrussels, BuildingIoT, TEDYouth
I run workshops on creative design methods for professionals and students all over the globe.