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Exposing Students to Culturual Issues in Rice Cooker Design Through Product Archaeology

[+] Author Affiliations
Kang Kang, Timothy W. Simpson, Gül E. Okudan Kremer

The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA

Paper No. DETC2012-70539, pp. 285-296; 12 pages
  • ASME 2012 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 7: 9th International Conference on Design Education; 24th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology
  • Chicago, Illinois, USA, August 12–15, 2012
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4506-6
  • Copyright © 2012 by ASME


As more products compete in the global marketplace, it is increasingly important to bring cultural and societal issues into engineering education to help contextualize design decisions. When product dissection activities are used to contextualize these decisions, they focus primarily on function, form, and fabrication, failing to highlight the importance of cultural influences that can impact global product design. The paradigm of product archaeology has been developed to address the shortcomings of product dissection activities and create inductive learning activities that help students better contextualize their engineering design knowledge. Inspired by the findings in our own rice cooker dissection and analysis, an experiment is conducted to evaluate the incorporation of rice cookers into product archaeology activities in a product dissection course. The purpose of adding rice cookers to the consumer goods section of the course is to expose students to the cultural issues of rice cooker design (e.g., product functions and features based on cooking and dietary needs). Student responses were collected and analyzed, including the numbers of correct responses, sketches of mechanisms and components, suggestions for design improvements, and feedback on cultural needs. Future improvements to the exercise are also discussed.

Copyright © 2012 by ASME
Topics: Design , Students



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