I’m not sure Carnegie Mellon’s master of tangible interaction design is news to me. I sort of recall hearing something about it last spring. But today was the first time I saw a curriculum for the program. Like several of my former peers, I am intrigued by this program. And as a master of interaction design, I am curious how this program relates to my own, given the only difference in name is the word “tangible.”

During my two years as an interaction design student, I took courses with several of this new program’s faculty. So I wonder what these students will get that I did not. What they will get, and what is a question for some of my peers, is a master of design distinction despite the program being part of the school of architecture and not the school of design.

From the program description…

The Master of Tangible Interaction Design program is a one-year program at Carnegie Mellon University centered around new computational technologies in making. The program serves two distinct groups: those with significant engineering and/or computer science knowledge who wish to master design or artistic skills, and those with significant design, art, or architecture experience who wish to master technological means of making. The scope of study in the mTID program is broad, including digital fabrication, analog and digital electronics, media and materials, and computer programming.

Some comments collected on Twitter:

Phil Robinson yeah we were discussing putting ‘extreme’ before our name, or making us interaction designers of everything

Kyle Vice is it just me, or does this feel thrown together? 

Jared Cole does the mTID fall under the realm of art or design? are we talking MFA or M.Des? Art, I can see… Design, I cannot

Jodi Forlizzi yes, just add water and prerequisites, you’ve got yourself a master’s program.

This sounds like a cool program. It’s new, so I can excuse its haphazard appearance. But I do consider my master of interaction of design to include all types of interaction, tangible and intangible. So is this a subset of what I studied? To a degree, with a lot less emphasis on design. And it does not seem like a focus within interaction design, but more experimental, particularly with its deference to art and computer science.

Certainly, it will only benefit humankind if more people that make products with embedded computing (which is how I interpret this program) have some exposure to design. But a master in design (albeit mTID, which is even more obscure than mDes) from the school of architecture? Curious.