ASU design students explore collaborative spaces for smart solutions


Students gather at the ASU Smart City Cloud Innovation Center Powered by AWS.

ASU design students explore projects at the CIC. Photo by Mike Sanchez/ASU

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Smart campus technology has long been a focus of ASU innovation. Key to advancing this work are strategic partnerships like those with the Cox Connected Environments Collaboratory and the Smart City Cloud Innovation Center Powered by AWS, known around campus as the CIC.

Housed at ASU’s Skysong campus in Scottsdale, these two partnerships are known by ASU faculty and researchers, as well as local industry and government leaders, as spaces for collaborating on smart solutions to better navigate the digital transformation — from the campus to the community. 

Last month, students from The Design School in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts toured both the Cox Collaboratory and the CIC, where they brought a new type of collaboration around their artwork and designs into these two spaces, as well as learned more about how ASU is fueling innovation for smart solutions. 

Students bring a new type of collaboration into the space

In early February 2022, Dosun Shin, ASU professor and head of industrial design faculty, invited his design class to the ASU Skysong campus to tour and engage in these two new spaces. 

Students gathered at the Cox Collaboratory, where growth manager Angela SauriniAngela Saurini is now the Portfolio Owner of Trust Technologies at UTO. gave a presentation about the collaboratory’s mission to accelerate new ideas that deliver on the promise of human-centered smart solutions for communities. Saurini also educated the students about the infrastructure and amenities of the laboratory and collaborative space, and welcomed the students to return to the collaboratory often, as a place to collaborate and work on future projects. 

The students then headed across the street to the Smart City Cloud Innovation Center, a space designed as part of a long-term collaboration between ASU and Amazon Web Service (AWS). The partnership works to improve digital experiences for smart city designers, expand technology alternatives, spur economic and workforce development, and facilitate sharing public sector solutions within the region. Ryan Hendrix, the general manager of the CIC, showed students around the building 

After the tour, class was back in session. Shin took over one of the collaborative workspaces in the CIC, where students presented design sketches they had been working on since the start of the semester. 

“The quiet room lit up with a palpable creative energy as the students broke off into groups to share their designs for peer review,” Hendrix said. Shin walked around the tables offering his feedback and critiques to each of the student’s designs. Students also offered peer-to-peer feedback on one of their first class projects of the spring semester. 

The class plans to reserve space at the CIC on a weekly basis for future projects.

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