Christopher Robert Saulnier

PhD Candidate, Product Design and Engineering Education
MIT-SUTD Collaboration Office
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

77 Mass. Ave, Building 3-339L, Cambridge, MA, 02139. 
saulnier at mit dot edu


Design Based Wilderness Education

From 2014 to 2017 I taught a wilderness engineering class as part of the MIT-SUTD Global Leadership Program. Over four years 120 students went on fourteen expeditions. Wilderness engineering allows students to authentically design and use artifacts engineered for and/or in a wilderness environment while developing design-thinking, an engineering science worldview, and leadership skill.

Designing products for this unfamiliar environment forces students to think about and engage with the design process in a new and exciting way. Feedback from the natural world allows students to interact with their products at an emotional level, helping establish a deeper connection to the design process.

Living and designing in the wilderness encourages students to interpret the natural world through a scientific lens, developing an engineering science worldview. The challenges faced by each team in this environment also creates opportunities for leadership development.

Side Projects

Adventure Education High School Physics Outreach

I teamed up with Outward Bound Thompson Island and the MIT Outing Club to develop a high school outreach program using low-rope and high-rope challenge course elements to discuss physics topics in a fun way. The project received funding from the National Forest Service and Outdoor Nation. The initial curriculum was prototyped with a group of Grade 9 students from the (Boston) Urban Science Academy. We presented results from this program at the 2017 Association of Experiential Education (AEE) Northeast Regional Conference.

Design Portfolios

How to Make (Almost) Anything Portfolio

I was a student in the 2015 MAS.863 class at MIT - better known as How to Make (Almost) Anything. The class covers a full range of fabrication skills including 3d printing, 2d and 3d CNC machining, electronics design and production, application programming, molding and casting, composites, and machine design. My class portfolio has a weekly record of each of the projects, and my final project that integrates the various techniques learned over the semester.

Mystery Mansion Product Design

2.744 (Product Design) is a graduate-level product design class taught by professor David Wallace. The class covers the design of products that are well-matched to user needs, with an emphasis on user experience, product form, human factors, and marketplace realities. 2015's theme was to design a gag for a mystery mansion being developed by 5-witts production. My team developed a gag that would secretly take pictures of people and transform them into an old fashioned looking painting. Other assignments for the class included a human-use experience analysis.

Toys To Think With

Toys To Think With was offered as a companion class to professor Mitch Resnick's Learning Creative Learning. While I took a residential version of the class it is offered online in a different form. I developed a mobile website to explore navigation across the physical and digital world. When visiting the site from your phone (MIT Certificates required) you can leave behind a record of your path. You can see the messages and drawings that other people have left behind. A rather boring video demo of the final product (with a now fixed bug) exists.

Other Things

The Springtide Collective

I was a founding Board Member and former Corporate Secretary of the Springtide Collective for Democracy, a non-partisan and non-profit organization dedicated to reconnecting Nova Scotians with the democratic process, and imagining ways of doing politics differently. Projects to date include 10 videos explaining democracy in Canada, performing the first political surveys of young people in Nova Scotia, and OpenHouseNS a tool that makes the debates of the House of Assembly easier to search and browse.

Pundit on

After retiring from student government I started to write articles for Sometimes touching and mostly irreverent offers news, commentary, opinions, and rumours - but mostly entertainment - during the yearly elections for the Dalhousie Student Union executive.

The site has been defunct since late 2014.


© Chris Saulnier 2017