Michael McAllister is an industrial designer and associate professor of Industrial Design in the College of Art, Media & Design at the University of the Arts. He received his B.S. in Physics from Drexel University in 1978 and worked in the industry for over 20 years doing product development, engineering and project management. Working with a variety of manufacturers and consulting firms, Michael developed many products ranging from toys, skylights, aircraft equipment, quality-control equipment and office furniture. For several years, he also ran his own business manufacturing and distributing residential skylights to the construction industry. From 1987 to 2002, Michael worked at Knoll partnering with many renowned designers to develop award-winning office furniture. Following Knoll, he earned his master's degree in Industrial Design at the University of the Arts, graduating in 2002. Subsequently Michael has consulted, run independent projects and taught. At Syracuse University, he helped launch COLAB, a center for interdisciplinary design explorations, and served as director of Design & Innovation. At Syracuse ,Michael was also given a "Special Recognition Award for Teaching Excellence" for expanding disability awareness through design education. Michael's current research centers on design with and for people with disabilities. This research can be viewed at arduinofordisabilities.wordpress.com.
Awards and Patents
Michael's design work has received multiple awards, including an ID Magazine Design Distinction Award, 1st prize from the International Design Resource Consortium, and after winning an international competition for a "Telematic Table," his team was awarded National Endowment for the Arts funding. This work with gesture-based interfaces is now permanently exhibited at two major museums: the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and the Newseum in Washington, D.C. While working in industry, Michael was awarded 10 utility patents.
In collaboration with Kinecity LLC, Michael designed and built a series of interactive tables that work with direct human gestures and use no keyboard or a mouse. Michael designed, built and installed the first of these tables at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Additional tables with their own custom interfaces followed for the Newseum in Washington, D.C.; the Mattatuck Museum, Waterbury, Conn.; and the University of Michigan Museum of Art. This work has also been shown in Europe at ICHIM 2004, the DIS2004 conference at MIT (winning Best in Show by Popular Vote), and at the "Strangely Familiar: Design and Everyday Life" show at the Walker Art Center in 2003.