First Advisor

Tom Bennett

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Mechanical Engineering and University Honors


Mechanical and Materials Engineering


User-centered system design, Camp stoves -- Design and construction, Camp stoves -- Technological innovations




The role of user centered design (UCD) in the design process is to obtain user input when developing requirements and to build an understanding of a user’s environment. In doing so, the designer can better create a product specifically for that set of users. This work will apply two methods of UCD, empathic design and co-design, to the specific case of building a methanol burning cookstove for dog mushers in arctic climates. Thus far three cookers have been built using UCD methods and this work reflects upon how those methods were used to build a finished product. Additionally it reflects upon the result of involving the user in the design experience as well as how these methods can be applied in future iterations. The conclusion is that, while both empathic design and co-design have their limitations when applied to building mushing cookers, they build a strong groundwork for understanding a user’s environment and needs which leads to a better product in the end.


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