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MME Seminar Series: Prototyping in the design of complex systems presented by Dr. Bradley Camburn, assistant professor, Oregon State University

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About the event

Prototyping is one of the most critical and yet often overlooked aspects of the design process. When I began studying this topic, many papers were limited to the assessment of a single case study or the primitive alpha-beta distinction of prototypes. There was little in the way of an integrated science of prototyping. This is because traditional design processes typically assume that the key application point for prototypes comes well after establishing the design concept and requirements. Prototyping was historically seen as a precursor to manufacturing. However, the use of physical artifacts to inform design planning at a concept level is equally critical, yet underexplored, relative to sketching or CAD modeling in design. A core thrust of my research to date is cataloging the state-of-the-art tools, methods, and technologies for prototyping. I evaluated correlations between factors such as iterative testing versus parallel testing and their impact on performance outcome versus techniques such as scaling and subsystem isolation that reduce overall cost. I explored this research thrust through theoretical study, work in design education, and in industrial design engineering practice.

Bradley Camburn received his Ph.D. from the University of Texas in 2015 and his Bachelor’s degree from Carnegie Mellon University in 2008, both are in Mechanical Engineering. He then joined former Citibank executive Adam Gilmour as Chief Engineer, then later Head of R&D at Gilmour Space Technologies. He led the Research and Development team at Gilmour to produce the world’s largest hydrogen peroxide oxidised hybrid rocket engine at 70kN of thrust. This engine is believed to have set a record for shortest orbital class engine development program duration and lowest cost threshold. Dr. Camburn completed the engine qualification at Gilmour through Series B venture Capital funding, to receive in total $13.7 million. Before joining MIME at Oregon State, he also worked as a Research Scientist at the Singapore University of Technology and Design and Massachusetts Institute of Technology International Design Centre (IDC). He has been at Oregon State since 2019.