Infant safety in ambulances: Learning from collaborative innovation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


In the winter of 2006, an industrial design team at a major university in the U.S. and a local enterprise began a joint project to design a safety device for children to be used in such emergency vehicles as ambulances and fire trucks. A faculty member in industrial design led the design team which included students, entrepreneurs, engineers and firefighters. This cross functional product development process enabled the team to take this project from a simple idea to a formidable product thereby revolutionizing safety for children in emergency transportation. Our goal was to ensure that all stakeholder needs were addressed through the design, making the product manufacturable, aesthetically appealing, and ergonomically comfortable. Students catalyzed the design process with fresh ideas and creative input, while the firefighters offered valuable insights regarding safety, regulation and real-life experience in this critical design project. Students gained valuable real world experience and had the opportunity to learn by doing, the entrepreneurial firm got a close look at the inner workings of new product development, and the firefighters were able to play an integral role by participating in the design of a product that they will use. As the entrepreneurs and firefighters were educated about the value of design through firsthand experience, they became eager to explore other product ideas through future collaboration. This paper illustrates the process of how an innovative life-saving product was developed by a multidisciplinary team and what design students learned about professional practice through their engagement in a real design project.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDS 46: Proceedings of E and PDE 2008, the 10th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education
StatePublished - 2008
Event10th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education, E and PDE 2008 - Barcelona, Spain
Duration: Sep 4 2008Sep 5 2008


Other10th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education, E and PDE 2008


  • Design collaboration
  • Design innovation
  • Emergency transportation product
  • Entrepreneurship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Education


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