A person wearing a virtual reality headset and holding controllers in their hands with a screen in front of them. About the Department of
Design Tech

The Department of Design Tech was launched in 2022 and is chaired by Arthur L. and Isabel B. Wiesenberger Professor in Architecture Jenny E. Sabin. Administered by Cornell AAP in partnership with Cornell Human Ecology (CHE), Cornell Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science (Bowers CIS), Cornell Engineering, and Cornell Tech in New York City, the department advances design education, fosters transdisciplinary research, and redefines design tech practice.

Recent advances in computation, visualization, material intelligence, and fabrication technologies have begun to fundamentally alter how we design, construct, and make, from nano to macro scales. In addition, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, advanced manufacturing, and robotics are transforming how we live, work, do business, and engage with our communities. The confluence of rapidly accelerating technologies — from AI and quantum computing to genomics and synthetic biology to digital manufacturing and simulated realities — creates new intersections of the digital, the physical, and the biological that are radically altering how we understand our world and humanity. As a result, design is becoming increasingly critical to actualizing technology as a means for advancing human progress.

In this rare moment of creative transformation, Cornell and Design Tech are uniquely positioned at the nexus between design and technology. Across the Ithaca campus and at Cornell Tech, the university provides transdisciplinary, studio-based teaching models that intersect with design tech research. The department leverages these strengths to bridge fields and faculty at Cornell in areas such as design, engineering, biology, computer science, medicine, arts and sciences, and the built environment and to fill gaps in high-demand areas, including product, interaction, and digital media design.

Design Tech students and faculty come from diverse disciplinary backgrounds to investigate intersections of design, emerging technologies, engineering, and science and apply insights and theories from the humanities, biology, mathematics, and beyond to the design, fabrication, and production of digital tools, products, and responsive materials. Specific subtopics within these broad categories include:

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