Tradeshow to Present Student-Designed Products, Dec. 12

Creative new products, including interactive video games geared for airplane travel, will be on display at the annual tradeshow for Managing the New Product Development Process course.

The show will be held on Dec. 12 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Bank of America Forum.

This year’s exhibit promises to be an interesting one, says Senior Lecturer Sara Beckman, who teaches the course. The primary goal of the course, she explains, is to get the students to "learn what it is to really and deeply understand user needs."

They also learn about team dynamics. "The engineers work with the artists, and they all have to figure out what role they can play working with other people who have different skill sets," Beckman says.

A total of 20 projects will be on display for the entire Haas community. Most of the projects were created by Berkeley MBA students, UC Berkeley graduate engineering students, and design students from the California College of the Arts.

As in past years, students from the National University of Mexico in Mexico City will fly to California to display three projects. Leaders from companies such as Lunar, Frog Design and Jump Associates will judge the best products. In the past, some of these tradeshow ideas have launched real companies.

Dan Kirshman, MBA 11, plans to open a future business based on his "Language of Wines" project that he and his team will display at the tradeshow. The team’s idea is to offer a software program where wine lovers, and even wine amateurs, can enter their taste and price preferences into a search program. The computer will then spit out wine choices the customer will likely want to taste, and make recommendations for other similar wines while also tracking previous purchases. The project is modeled after purchasing programs used by Amazon and other shopping sites.

"We’re trying to simplify the wine buying experience," Kirshman says. "We’re using a technology platform to make wine buying intuitive, enjoyable, and fun."

Other products at the tradeshow will include "office fitness" equipment to prevent workplace injuries and "travelvision," which lets airline passengers play games and learn fun facts about the places that they are flying over.