jacob.rader@ac4d.com

Alumni

Jacob Rader

My name is Jacob Rader and I’m a design engineer currently living in Austin, TX.

Four years ago I followed a girl to Austin from Tucson where I had gotten my formal education in mechanical engineering and mathematics. While in Austin I’ve spent my time working a wide range of jobs, being exposed to a variety of engineers, craftsmen, artists, and designers.

About a year and a half ago I became dissatisfied with my current job arc, mainly the prospect of spending the next fifty years buried in a cubicle. This started me on an exploration of design topics, from biomimicry to traditional manufacturing techniques – I became especially focused on the processes of ideation and prototyping, methodologies that speak to both engineering and design. This journey has led me to Austin Center for Design. While attending the school I’m hoping to explore the space between design and engineering and find a balance between my two passions.

 

Recent blog posts

Sketching

  Sketching as a conversation with our ideas. In the cartoon world, a ponderous character’s thought is depicted by a cloud over their head linked to them with a series of disconnected bubbles.  The idea is floating there, precariously tethered; it’s almost as if a strong breeze could just blow it away.  In many ways…

The Special Nature of Ordinary

Ordinary gets a bad wrap.  Rarely do we celebrate ordinary.  Ordinary is the B student, the 3rd place finisher, ordinary is the domestic beer.  But within the ordinary there is something special, especially when we talk about design.  Ordinary is the nature of how we see the world; it is our default state. Ordinary is…

Simplicity Through Understanding

Here at AC4D our focus is on understanding and designing solutions for Wicked Problems.  These are social problems that are intertwined and woven into the complexity of our human systems and interactions.  Part of what we’re learning here are methods for cutting though the complexity around these problems.  Ultimately we can’t influence and change a…

IxDA 2014

Yesterday, Scott and I submitted our application to the 2014 IxDA Student Competition taking place next February in Amsterdam. You can find our application documents linked below. The competition is focused on health records in developing nations. We see the completion as an opportunity to explore the work we’re doing around health records through the…

Thermostat V4: Microinteractions

I’m now into the fifth week of my thermostat design and it’s starting enter the next level of maturity.  The design began just as a rough outline of functionality; it entered the world as a rough wireframe; that design changed and simplified; last week it took on a new form; this week and in the…

Thermostat V3: Form and Function

I am now into the fourth week of my thermostat design.  In previous weeks, I modeled and analyzed an existing system, I crafted a new system, and I removed complexity from that system.  This week I really wanted to take a look at the form and how that relates to the functionality of the device.…

Health Records: Research and Immersion

After outlining our interest in delving into health records, our design team (Bhavini Patel, Jacob Rader, and Scott Gerlach) has been immersed in research the last two weeks.  As designers, we approach research with the intent of building a rich mental model of a problem space by exposing ourselves to as many contexts and relevant viewpoints as possible.…

Thermostat Iteration 2: Less, But Better

As I’ve introduced previously (Part 1, Part 2), I have been using the skills and tools learned here at AC4D to re-design the household thermostat. Last week I introduced my first design concept through the form of wireframes.  To reiterate, wireframes are a basic way to visually represent the functionality of a design, to focus…

Thermostat Iteration 1: Back to Basics

As I introduced last week, I have been using the problem solving skills I’ve been learning here at AC4D to tackle the deceptively straight-forward task of designing a thermostat. This week I took the concept model I developed last week and built what’s referred to as a wireframe model.  Wireframes are a basic visual representation…

Delving Into Health Records

When you hear the term health records, what do you think of?  What are the different families of documentation that are abstracted under that term and what functions do they serve?  To what extent are we (as users of the health care system) able to access, understand, and articulate our own health histories? Recently our…

Designing Away From Complexity

Here at AC4D we are learning a process of creative problem solving we know as design.  The problems we use this process on can be large and incredibly complex, such as the design of medical records.  These problems can also be those we face everyday, such as the design of household appliances. Over the course…

The Confines of Heuristics

I’ve been reading a number of different perspectives related to problem solving, including topics on the mechanics and tactics our brains use to simplify problems (Herb Simon, Philip Johnson-Laird). I’ve examined the pitfalls people naturally encounter (Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman) and the way design thinking can lead us out of these traps (Chris Pacione).…

Firestarter #2 – CareWell

CareWell Debrief Last Thursday, October 3rd, our team held our second Firestarter session with Eric Boggs, founder of CareWell. CareWell is a management system and application that Eric is developing to help caregivers and their loved ones by providing practical and emotional relief during a time that can be stressful and hectic. We had a…

Technology Bipartition

Here at Austin Center for Design we have been continuing on our two week reading cycle; this cycle focusing on the role of technology in society. As part of our analysis of the various readings we were asked to analyze the readings and plot them on a 2-axis chart of our own design. My methodology…

Firestarter

Kung Fu and Fire It’s the morning of our first Firestarter and Bhavini and I are about to head over to the Kung Fu studio.  The goal of our Firestarter is to help out the Austin Kung Fu Academy.  When we approached Austin Kung Fu and started talking to them to identify issues that we…

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