University of Pittsburgh
October 10, 2000


Contact:  412-624-4147

Pittsburgh, Oct. 11 -- Customers working directly with engineers to create specially designed products sounds like the stuff of science fiction, but 50 top design and manufacturing researchers from across the United States will explore those possibilities during a National Science Foundation workshop, Oct. 19 and 20, at the University of Pittsburgh's School of Engineering. There is no fee to attend the conference.

"E-Product Design and Realization—A Customer Oriented Designer System for Mechanically Engineered Products," will explore the possibilities and examine potential obstacles in creating a system in which customers directly participate in design and where their preferences can be accommodated automatically, according to Pitt professor Bart O. Nnaji, ALCOA Foundation Chair in Manufacturing Engineering and professor of industrial engineering.

"The primary objective of this workshop is to identify research issues and opportunities in a promising web-based research area of E-product design and realization, where a customer participates in the design and realization of mechanically engineered products," said Nnaji.

Special attention will be paid to the aerospace, automotive, and medical devices industries. Workshop participants also will tour the Pitt Engineering School's Product Incubator Labs and the McGowan Center for Artificial Organ Development.

Panelists and participants include experts from government, including the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Department of Defense; from private industry, including General Electric Aircraft, Pratt & Whitney, Cardiactelecom, Becton Dickinson & Company, Boeing, ANSYS, and ALCOA; and from academia, including Pitt, Carnegie Mellon University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Arizona State University, and Penn State University, among others.

For more information, call 412-624-9857, e-mail, or refer to the workshop web site,