Industrial designer Simon Williamson gives workshop on computer-aided design

Cooper Josephs, Staff Writer

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Associate Professor from Wentworth Technology, Simon Williamson said that meticulous and methodological work is necessary for an industrial designer to generate a prototype.

            Simon Williamson’s creations are an intersection between art, design and engineering. His presentation showed his pieces that were made over the past twenty years.  Early slides included low-density foam prototypes constructed for Dora the Explorer, Blues Clues, and Elmo toys.

“I started working with models when they were mainly hand-made.  Today the models are usually constructed digitally” Williamson said.

Williamson talked about the significant changes in the field due to technological innovations. The slides transitioned from pictures of tangible prototypes to computer designs of probes, cars, and futuristic contraptions.  Williamson used software programs such CAD, Rhino, and Keyshot to generate these images.

“I am still a believer in using my hands than using technology.  However, I do love learning about the technology and where we can go with it” Williamson said.

Williamson has worked with major companies such as Hasbro, Atari, PlayStation, and Apple.  Williamson showed one of the prototypes he constructed for the toy “Flywheel”.

“I had no idea about Williamson’s process until he demonstrated it,” Alec Rogers ‘17 said.

The colloquium concluded coming full circle.  The first slide showed a sleek, futuristic looking red car he constructed for a customer.  In the last several minutes, Williamson explored the hard work under the hood of the car through hundreds of different combinations of colors, body shapes, and intricate designs. He tested resulted several times in order to get a polished final product.

“I don’t know if want to do exactly what he does for a job when I am older.  I guess I am more of a hands-on artist than a digital computer type of guy, but the designs he showed were pretty cool,” Rogers said.

“The creation of a model is an extremely intricate process.  Every little detail is tried.  Hundreds of different models are constructed… I went through 200 color versions to get to the final product” Williamson said.

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