Photo of Bjarki Hallgrimsson

Bjarki Hallgrimsson

Director, Associate Professor
    Phone:613-520-2600, ext. 5677
    Building:Mackenzie, Room 3481
    Department:School of Industrial Design


    Professor Hallgrimsson is a product designer, author and researcher. After graduating with a mechanical engineering degree and gaining professional experience, he discovered industrial design, which became the passion and focus of his future career. He holds a MSE in product design from Stanford University and has worked for several professional industrial-design consulting firms in the United States and Canada. His own company HPD developed award winning and patented products for a variety of clients in a broad range of industries. His hands-on maker philosophy was shaped by many years of experience in industry. “Prototyping and Model making for Product Design”, by Laurence King Publishing is available in 4 languages and shows how “physical prototypes form a strategic part of a successful product designer’s toolkit”. Although a generalist at heart, his expertise in designing assistive devices for people with disabilities continues to challenge him and his students to create more useful and human products that have a profound effect on the quality of life of people. Professor Hallgrimsson grew up in Sweden, Kenya and Tanzania. Through his international outlook, he has involved many students in community oriented design research in Africa.


    Professor Hallgrimsson leads undergraduate and graduate students in research on practical prototyping methods, technologies and applications. This has included diverse projects in collaboration with other disciplines. The current focus is on digital prototyping methods and design of improved equipment and processes. A history of research and development of mobility devices includes award winning rollators (walkers) for HumanCare (previously Dana Douglas Inc.), as well as one of the first resin wheelchairs to be mass produced (Mobilaid). Professor Hallgrimsson sits on the advisory board of the Research Education Accessibility and Design (READ) initiative at Carleton. His students regularly work on universal design issues for better accessibility for Persons With Disability (PWD). Another focus includes the plight of extreme poverty and disability. He secured funding from the International Development Research Center (IDRC) to conduct interdisciplinary and collaborative research in Sub Saharan Africa also in collaboration with the Department of Environmental Engineering and Sprott School of Business at Carleton. Through this work he has brought 15 undergraduate students and 2 graduate design students on fieldwork to Tanzania and Uganda. He was recently awarded the Network of Africa Designers award “for exemplary service and dedication in promotion of the Africa Design Agenda.” One of his projects, “Promobilia Wheelchair-Tricycle” addresses mobility in rural Africa: