MAE Seminar: Designing Design Engineers: Complexity, Creativity, and Automation


Dr. Umesh Persad
Associate Professor
Department Head of the Mechanical Engineering, Manufacturing and Entrepreneurship Department
Lead: Design and Innovation Research Group
Co-director of the UTT Centre for Applied Artificial Intelligence Research (CAAIR).

The University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT), West Indies

MAE Faculty Host: Matt Traum

In-person Wertheim Faculty Commons (Room 450)

The field of Engineering Design is witnessing a paradigm shift in the nature of problems that designers address and the way that designers work. Real-world design problems have been described as “wicked” problems due to the complexity and uncertainty involved. This complexity has grown at a rapid rate with increased globalization and the advent of Industry 4.0. Though Engineering Design has been described by ASME (The American Society of Mechanical Engineers) as the top enduring field in Mechanical Engineering, there is a clear need to analyze and respond to these global challenges with an eye to preparing engineering designers to tackle such problems. How should we respond as design educators to this challenge? This seminar focuses on this question with problem analysis and proposed strategies for improving design education. In addition, a teaching lesson using a design creativity method will be demonstrated to illustrate how the proposed strategies can be put into practice.


Dr. Umesh Persad holds the position of Associate Professor and Head of the Department of the Mechanical Engineering, Manufacturing and Entrepreneurship Department at The University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT), West Indies. Dr. Persad leads the Design and Innovation Research Group, and he is the co-director of the UTT Centre for Applied Artificial Intelligence Research (CAAIR).

He obtained his BSc. In Mechanical Engineering (First Class) from The University of the West Indies, and his Ph.D. in Engineering Design from The University of Cambridge (Cambridge Engineering Design Centre), with a special focus on Inclusive Design, Healthcare Design, and Human-Machine Interaction.

Trained in multidisciplinary design thinking across technical areas as well as the social sciences, Dr. Persad works to apply strategic thinking and innovative solutions to complex problems. He is also a design consultant for a range of companies globally. His broad areas of interest include Design Thinking and Product Development, Educational Innovation and Technology, Applied Artificial Intelligence, and Academic Strategy and Leadership. His current research is focused on two areas:

1. AI-Driven Computational Design Automation of Affordable Biomedical Products: These include bone implants, 3D anatomical models for surgical planning, orthotics, and prosthetics in collaboration with both the private and public health sector.
2. Engineering Design Education: Training creative engineering designers and developing AI-driven software support tools for the teaching and learning of Engineering Design.

Dr. Persad’s greatest satisfaction comes from seeing students’ confidence grow in their own problem-solving abilities while developing the right attitudes to be successful, lifelong learners and contributors to society.


Hosted by

UF Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering