EDN (Electronic Design Notebook)

Larry Leifer, Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, Design Division, Stanford Director, Center for Design Research, Stanford University

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University January 15, 1991


No abstract was submitted but, based on conversations I've had with Dr. Leifer, I believe he will discuss a software development project (that began at Stanford and is now being made into a product) called EDN (Electronic Design Notebook). You may have also heard it referred to as VMACS. EDN is a computer-based tool for keeping a design notebook. There has been considerable thought and effort put into its design and implementation and Dr. Leifer's talk should be quite interesting.


Professor Leifer's formal academic training was obtained at Stanford University. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering (1962) and a Master of Science degree in Product Design (1963). His Biomedical Engineering doctoral thesis (1969) dealt with the electrophysiology and control of voluntary human movement. From 1969 to 1972 he worked on human information processing at the NASA Ames Research Center. This work continued through 1973 as a NASA research exchange fellow to the MIT Man-Vehicle Laboratory. From 1973 to 1976 Dr. Leifer was an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Systems Analysis at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. His work dealt with the neuromuscular control of posture, funtional electrical stimulation of hearing, and measurement of motor axon conduction velocity distributions. A member of the Stanford faculty since 1976, he now teaches the industrial project based Graduate Automation and Machine Design course series, directs the Industrial Design Affiliates Program and manages the Joint Design Research Seminar. He developed, and taught for ten years, the laboratory and curriculum for programmable electromechanical systems design (Smart Product Design) as an extension of the Design Division's Product Design Program. His research is based in the Center for Design Research (CDR). As CDR's founding Director (1984) he endeavors to develop basic design theory and methodology through the application of knowledge based engineering technology to a wide reange of industrial machine design problems. Special interest projects include: a), development of an electronic design notebook for "design knowledge capture"; b), development of telerobotic assistants for medical, rehabilitation, industrial and space applications; c), development of concurrent product and process design software for machine and injection mold design; and d), development of conceptual design analysis tools. In an effort to disseminate his earlier work in rehabilitation technology, he is co-founder (1989) of Tolfa Internation Corporation. Tolfa seeks to promote personal independence for disabled persons through assistive technology that supports communication, mobility and manipulation.

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