Innovation by Design

A Babson hub connecting students with courses, communities, and companies







CAD & Parts




This website contains many examples of poor designs that make the use of the corresponding devices unnecessarily difficult.
Biomimicry Design Portal
The people behind this website, which is run by the Biomimicry Institute, are developing a searchable database with nature's solutions for technical problems. Click on the link and scroll to the bottom of their page to visit the Biomimicry Portal prototype.
Institute for Human Centered Design
The Institute for Human Centered Design (IHCD), founded in Boston in 1978 as Adaptive Environments, is an international non-governmental educational organization (NGO) committed to advancing the role of design in expanding opportunity and enhancing experience for people of all ages and abilities through excellence in design. IHCD’s work balances expertise in legally required accessibility with promotion of best practices in human-centered or universal design.
Don Norman's website
Don Norman is a Professor of Cognitive Science and has written several books on the subject of human-centered design. His website contains links to his books as well as shorter essays on the subject.
  The Noun Project
This website's mission is "sharing, celebrating and enhancing the world's visual language."  It offers a vast collection of symbols. While the symbols are free, check the attribution requirement for the icon you intend to use.
This website features a blog and discussion on usability issues of a wide variety of products, from automotive to consumer electronics, and topics, ranging from packaging to public design.
On this website you can find many infographic examples for inspiration of how to present the data of your research.
This link to FastCompany connects to an array of 30 programs and tools for data visualization.
This company offers partnering with inventors to help them launch their products.
This company has applied the crowdsourcing model to funding.  Projects ranging from consumer products, to music, to documentaries, to social projects are vying to attract investments from the community.
Napkin Labs
Founded by a Babson Grad, this company provides a platform for clients to easily collaborate with its customers to, for example, test product concepts.
In summer 2010 the design company IDEO created this web-based collaboration platform. The aim is to bring a wide variety of people together to solve big social problems, e.g. healthy eating for kids.
P&G's Connect & Develop
Increasingly common are distributed efforts in product development. Various mechanisms have been proposed to organize these effort across firms and individuals. This link points to one of these initiatives, P&G's connect and develop.
With its motto 'making invention accessible' this company moderates a community where participants can submit and rate ideas, as well as shop for products.  Contributors receive a share of the revenue.
This is the website of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). It allows searching issued patents full text back to 1976, and full page images back to 1790. Published patent applications can be searched back to 2001.

Here are some useful direct links within the USPTO to the Office of Patent Classification and to a FAQ section of the USPTO's kids pages (a simple and quick primer on intellectual property).

And here is a link to patent tutorials (courtesy of the Library at the University of Texas).

Patent Search @ Google
This patent search tool has the typical simple Google interface, and is very easy to use.
Sourcemap describes itself as a "platform for researching, optimizing and sharing supply chains."
This is the website of an industry consortium founded by major industrial and retail companies. The consortium is administered by two academic institutions (University of Arkansas, and Arizona State University). Several workgroups, separated by industry, present thier recommendations on the site.
This company offers web-based life cycle assessment (LCA) software. They also provide weekly webcasts on the topic of designing greener products.
Artisan's Asylum
The Asylum is a company that provides work space, shop access as well as instruction on various processes.  They have tools for electronics woodworking, metalworking, welding, sewing, robotics, and bicycle work.  In summer/fall 2011 they moved to their new location in 10 Tyler Street in Somerville.
This company provides a range of interesting products and technologies for various detail problems, ranging from coatings, to electrical, to fastening products. They call themselves "the innovator's hardware store." In the romper  room at Babson's Olin Graduate school you can find product samples from Inventables to play around with. Go and check it out!
This company offers simple-to-use tools to quickly build prototypes of websites and mobile apps.  Basic versions are free!
Paramount is another prototyping company. Their the website provides lists and detailed information on materials for various rapid prototyping processes (e.g., SLA, SLS, Urethane Casting) as well as injection molding and machining-fabrication processes.
This is another custom part shop. They make parts using various rapid prototyping processes (e.g., SLA, SLS, FDM) as well as machined and sheet-metal prototypes. For the rapid prototyping processes they offer instant online quotes.
This is the website of a rapid prototyping company (Rapid Product Development Group). It provides information and short video clips on a number of rapid prototyping processes such as SLA, SLS, FDM, and Urethane Casting
This is a service that converts your 3D product designs from digital formats into physical objects, using various 3D-printing technologies (rapid prototyping). All interactions between user and company are via the web, and the service offers a range of pre-designed products that can be customized.
CAD & Supply
3d Content Central
On this website you can find a large selection of CAD models for various components and parts.
This website serves as a sourcing aggregator for a vast variety products, suppliers, and buyers.
This company both sells various components as well as provides CAD models for many of them.
This company sells materials, tools, fasteners, and electrical components. The material and mechanism samples in the entry hall way of the romper room are from Inventables.
Global Sources
This aggregator can help finding suppliers and manufacturers for a wide variety of products and technologies.
This recent start-up combines features of Innocentive, Thingiverse, and LinkedIn. It allows companies to post design challenges, and individuals to post their solutions.  In addition, the site provides a repository of design solutions and allows designers to present their work.
This company is a parts supplier with a vast collection; this is the link to their online catalog.
ThomasNet is a subsidiary of ThomasRegister, an extensive supplier directory.  This link helps finding CAD models for various components and the associated suppliers.
How everyday things are made
This website by the Product Realization Network at Stanford University provides a series of short videos on how everyday things - from airplanes to candy to clothes - are manufactured
Ultimate Factories
This website contains several short videoclips describing a variety of industrial processes, ranging from painting an automobile, to building an RV, to sorting packages at a UPS sorting facility.
Makers Row
This website strives to be a matchmaker between project owners and manufacturing resources, especially in the fashion/apparel and furniture/home decor space.
This website provides a fairly comprehensive cost estimation tools for a variety of manufacturing processes.
How stuff works
This website provides a variety of explanations on topics ranging from machines to food to Health.

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