2018-19 Road Map for the Shapiro Design Lab

We're excited to announce the themes and positions for the 2018-19 Academic Year, as well as a variety of updates to the spaces of the Shapiro Design Lab. If you'd like to request a consultation about a project, get a tour, or just say hi, stop by the first floor of the Shapiro Library or send us a note at shapirodesignlab@umich.edu


In the Open Accessibility theme, the Lab will explore open hardware and open software projects as they relate to accessibility. In conjunction with campus partners such as the Council for Disability Concerns, Services for Students with Disabilities, and the Knox Center, the Lab will explore a variety of projects throughout the year: 

  • Using Augmented/Virtual/Mixed Reality for alternative wayfinding in the Library
  • 3D-printing prosthetics 
  • Web accessibility checklists
  • Algorithmic audio transcription
  • 3D-printed tactile maps and other interactive projects (such as the Tactile Universe)

In the Community and Citizen Science theme, the Lab will undertake a variety of projects related to public participation in the scientific process. These include: 

  • Coordinating a Community of Practice and Project Incubator with the U-M Natural History Museum, bringing together interested students, staff, and faculty, as well as members of the wider Ann Arbor-Detroit community
  • Developing and running projects on the Zooniverse crowdsourcing platform, both within the Library and assisting with Faculty and Graduate student projects
  • Exploring the use of machine learning to identify specific species within image-based crowdsourcing projects like Michigan ZoomIN
  • Community science projects such as air quality monitoring and community mapping with groups in Dearborn and Detroit
  • Working with the Museum of Natural History to develop a Community and Citizen Science kiosk in the new Biological Sciences Building (opening in 2019)
  • Access and Preservation of Federal Climate Adaptation Information, in partnership with the Science to Action Community and the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative (EDGI)

Student Positions

We will hire multiple undergraduate and graduate students in three positions to work on projects related to the programs and spaces of the Shapiro Design Lab: 

Program Assistants are Masters-level graduate students that help with the day-to-day operation of the Lab and coordinate the work of Interns, Residents, and Student Developers working in the Lab. You can find out more information on the Program Assistant position and apply on this page.

Residents are graduate students who will focus on specific projects within one of the themes (Open Accessibility and Community + Citizen Science), as well as help develop communities of practice around that theme. You can find out more information on the Program Assistant position and apply on this page.

Student Developers will focus on specific technical development projects related to the themes as well as broader experiments in the Library. You can find out more information on the Program Assistant position and apply on this page.

We are not currently hiring interns for the Shapiro Design Lab.


Our PIE Space (Prototype-Inspire-Explore) is an open work area that features prototyping tools, whiteboard and other writable surfaces, a Design Library, large-screen collaboration hub, and the Design-o-Matic 4000, our repurposed vending machine that dispenses free art and information. It can be reserved for events by emailing shapirodesignlab@umich.edu

The Shapiro Design Lab Media Production Rooms offer high-quality media production and post-production software and equipment. The Winberg Media Production Room is designed for audio and video production, with a recording booth, professional microphones, lights, and tripod mounts for smartphones and tablets. The Perlstein Editing Room is designed for media post-production as well as game design, animation, and graphic design. Use of these rooms require an orientation and reservation, though you can now do orientations online at our Canvas course; after you complete it, you will receive reservation instructions. 

The Workshop is our hands-on learning and making space, featuring 3D printers, soldering stations, a 19th-century letterpress courtesy of Wolverine Press, vinyl cutter, sewing machine, and more. There is no material cost to use the equipment, but everyone using the equipment must share something about their project on our blog, Lab Notes. Use of the Workshop and its tools requires a reservation and you must first complete an orientation on policies and equipment via the Lab’s Canvas course; after completing the online modules, you will receive reservation instructions.