Timetable information in the Course Catalogue may be subject to change.

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Design

Undergraduate Course: Product Design 2A: Object Autopsy (DESI08081)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course explores the diverse materials and manufacturing processes that are involved in bringing products into the world.
Course description Through a series of talks, activities, and projects, students will investigate the provenance of contemporary artefacts through an object autopsy to better understand how components are manufactured and assembled into the objects we know. Autopsy describes the inspection and investigation of objects through disassembly to determine how the product functioned, what materials are used and how the components were manufactured and assembled. Traditional, established and future methods of production will be explored across additive and subtractive methods of manufacture, in addition to advanced and distributed processes. Students will engage with the principles of the course through both the deconstruction of existing products as well as the design of the new through an iterative design sketching and modelling process.

Course Aims:

1. Introduce students to the primary principles of historical, contemporary and future manufacturing
2. Introduce students to the complex network of processes, materials and systems that is required to bring an artefact in to the world.
3. Develop student skills in understanding the properties and behaviour of materials and how manufacturing processes transform them toward their use in designed products.
4. Through talks and practical projects engage students in an understanding of manufacturing through the design and development of a product of their own.
5. Apply 3D software skills to the process of design and manufacture.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements If this course is Core to your programme, you will automatically be enrolled. For all other students, including Design students, the course is open on a first come, first served basis until the course is full. This course may have limited availability for non-Design students. Please contact the Course Organiser if you wish to enrol.
Additional Costs Cost of materials will vary depending on the student's individual method of production.
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  24
Course Start Semester 1
Course Start Date 18/09/2023
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 10, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 6, Formative Assessment Hours 0.5, Summative Assessment Hours 0.5, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 157 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Students are expected to produce a design solution informed through an iterative sketching, modelling, and researching process that is supported by a combination of talks, reflective discussions and workshops.

The semester long combination of review, reflect and design will result in three summative outputs to be submitted at the end of the semester:

1. A research portfolio of manufacturing techniques and material production processes including at least two Object Autopsies exploring provenance, a bill of materials and how components are manufactured and assembled (PDF; approx. 20 pages)

2. The design and development of an artefact that demonstrates an understanding of materials and manufacturing processes (PDF; approx. 20 page).

3. Final digital presentation which clearly communicate the research, development, manufacture and use of the designed object (A3 PDF; 4 pages)

The students will engage in regular oral presentations, supported by digital documentation, exploring weekly process and material research; these will form the basis of the assignment 1 as a developing portfolio of work.

Further information on both the presentation and portfolio (content, format and dates) are available via Learn /Course handbook).

Relationship between Assessment and Learning Outcomes:

Learning Outcomes will be assessed as follows;
Research Portfolio, including Object Autopsies, will be assessed against LO1 and form 40% of your overall grade.
The designed artefact (and supporting documentation) will be assessed against LO2 and form 40% of your overall grade.
The final digital presentation will be assessed against LO3 and form 20% of your overall grade.

Feedback Formative feedback will be provided at the mid-semester point following a verbal and digital presentation of work to date.

Summative feedback will be provided in writing following assessment in accordance with the university regulations.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate understanding though inquisitive exploration of how designed products are assembled and components are manufactured.
  2. Demonstrate skill in developing design solutions, with multiple components, that evidence consideration of appropriate material specification, manufacturing methods, suitable for specific uses.
  3. Demonstrate skill in deploying a variety of appropriate techniques to realise design outcomes that are communicated in a professional and clear manner.
Reading List
Braungart, W., and McDonough, M. (2002) Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, New York: North Point Press
Charney, D. (Ed.) (2011). The Power of Making. London: V&A Publishing
Groover, M, P. (2011) Introduction to Manufacturing Processes, Wiley.
Thompson, R. (2007) Manufacturing Processes for Design Professionals, London: Thames & Hudson.
Thwaites, T. (2011) The Toaster Project: Or A Heroic Attempt to Build a Simple Electric Appliance from Scratch. Princeton Architectural Press.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Be open to new ideas, methods and ways of thinking.
Be able to respond effectively to unfamiliar problems in unfamiliar contexts.
Be able to use communication as a tool for collaborating and relating to others
Be able to use effective communication to articulate their skills as identified through self-reflection.
Course organiserMiss Isla Munro
Course secretaryMiss Barbara Bianchi
Tel: (0131 6)51 5736
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information