I am an Assistant Professor of Product Design at the University
of Minnesota Twin Cities. I received my Ph.D. at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology in the Mechanical Engineering department
studying creativity, humor and idea generation. I completed my Master's
work at MIT studying projectile toy design with Hasbro Inc. and
my Bachelor's at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. In
2006, I was a visiting researcher at TU Delft in the Netherlands
studying industrial design and surprise in products.
I love to work on projects combining design, art and the entertainment
industry such as amusement park rides, toy product design, and design
television. I hold two patents and currently have a Nerf® toy
on the market.
Most recently I created a partnership called Popcorn Tuba LLP and we released a game for the iphone called Word Bounce available at the itunes store.
I design special effects and have worked on animatronics
and storyboarding for 5-Wits,
an interactive entertainment company. I helped design an elevator
simulator for Operation Spy an immersive adventure show at the
International Spy Museum
in Washington DC.
In 2005, I hosted and produced a design television
pilot called "Designerds!"
The show featured interdisciplinary teams of graduate students competing
in a product design showdown.
I worked with my former advisor David Wallace on recreating
the Archimedes Death Ray. The Death
Ray is actually an array of mirrors which we used to set a wooden
boat on fire. Our work can be seen on Discovery Channel's Mythbusters
Episode 46. I was also a consultant and guest client for DesignSquad,
a design television show for high school students currently airing
In 2005, I developed the award winning Catsup
Crapper® the first ketchup bottle to roller skate to your
plate and excrete a mound of ketchup. The
Automato is the new iteration featured on The
Martha Stewart Show and Conan. With a team of graduate students, I designed
and patented a new form of coring endoscopic biopsy needle which
preserves tissue histology. These needles will help oncologists
when determining the nature of a tissue sample.
Speaking of tissues, I also studied bathroom
I am the co-founder of MIT course 2.00b
Toy Product Design which will be offered at the University of Minnesota
in the College of Design in Spring 2011 as DES
3170. In the class, students work with children and local toy
companies to experience a product design process.
I was a lab instuctor for the undergraduate MIT Product Engineering
Processes course (2.009)
for many years and also the teaching assistant for an MIT graduate
level product design class (2.744)
I love to paint, draw, sculpt and animate. Some of my work is posted
in this very website in the Art section.
I created a series of illustrations called CourseToons
which depict some of the Courses (majors) at MIT in a fun fanciful
manner. At one time I began making illustrations of everyone I know
in a series called Friends of Barry
or FOB Toons.
I played guitar and sang in a gypsy rock band called Supa
Dupa. Previously, I was in a band called Off White Noise. I
also had a leading role in the Music Theatre Guild Production of
I love to write and I have written two children’s novels.
The first book is called “The Enchanted Poetry of Arnold Soft."
I am a poet or “rapper” if you can imagine. Some of
my work is posted in the Hip Hop section
of this website. In 2004, I held the title “Orlando Grand
Slam Master” and was ranked 25th Greatest Slam Poet in the
World at the World Poetry Competition of 2004. I am currently in
a hip hop group called the Capacitors
with Nathan Ball.