Investigative Studios are required studios within the Industrial Design Program that are also open to students in other majors. Investigative studios are taken in any order. Content, structure, and focus of these studios varies from semester to semester. Students can sign up for the studios that best fit their schedules and interests.

This is a hands-on design studio based on the concept of biologically inspired design, or using nature as a guide to problem-solving. Students will be given the opportunity to explore several biological themes in building an individual portfolio of design work. By the end of the course students should be able to do a basic biological literature search, use abstract biological concepts within the framework of traditional industrial design methodology, and be able to employ a bio-inspired design process as an additional technique for innovation in their work. A typical problem set will include an introduction to a natural form, process or system, an explanation of design and biological concepts, and a design exercise that demonstrates or employs an abstract concept in a tangible product or service. Coursework will be based on themes such as self-organization, scale hierarchy, modular construction, environmental stimuli, and optimization. All design work will be individual; there will be no team projects in this course. The course will include field trips, guest speakers and at least one project in conjunction with a professional organization.