The Designing Emerging Technologies Lab

February 16, 2024 | 4:02 pm

Summer Encounters with Engineering, Design, and Social Justice at the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation@ UC Berkeley

PROGRAM DATES:  June 17—July 12, 2024

The Designing Emerging Technologies Lab (DET Lab) is a new, immersive, four-week, hands-on summer engagement opportunity for rising high school seniors and juniors to encounter social, scientific, and engineering problems; learn from world class scientists, industry leaders and research experts; and design and fabricate physical functional solutions that improve the lives of people and planet.

The DET Lab presents a unique educational adventure, blending hands-on projects with access to cutting-edge facilities and tools at the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation to foster a comprehensive skill set in emerging technologies. It prepares students for future success by offering interdisciplinary learning, real-world problem solving, mentorship from top UC Berkeley faculty, and networking opportunities—making it an invaluable launchpad for aspiring engineers and designers.

The program will take place this June 17—July 12, 2024 at Jacobs Hall and its world-class makerspace on the beautiful UC Berkeley campus. Residential options in nearby campus housing are available; the program is available to both U.S. and international students.  Applications for the program are open now at our summer programs partner, Summer Discovery.


The Designing Emerging Technologies Lab program focuses on a set of revolving topic areas each summer. This summer we are excited to offer our first ever Jacobs Institute Mars Sample Return Mission!  Students will work in teams of 5-6 on focused designing, fabrication, programing, and operating customized, bespoke, operational Mars sample return robotic landers. Students in the program will develop skills across a range of domains:

  • Design – Brainstorming, Ideation, Problem Solving, and Sketching
  • Prototyping – Iterative Process, Low and High Fidelity Design, 
  • Digital Fabrication — 3D Modeling, 3D Printing, Laser Cutting and more using Autodesk Fusion 360, Adobe Creative Suite, etc.
  • Electronics, Soldering, and Wiring
  • Programming Interactive Electronics using Raspberry Pi Embedded Computers, Arduino ESP using Python
  • Sensor and Actuator Design and Programing
  • Virtual Reality (VR)
  • AI, Computer Vision, and Machine Learning
  • Mechanical Engineering and Mechanism Design
  • Wireless Communication
  • Sustainable Design
  • Teamwork and Community Building
  • Documentation and Portfolio Design
  • Career and Educational Pathways

2023 MDes Orientation at UC Berkeley’s Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation in Berkeley, Calif. on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2023. (Photo by Adam Lau/Berkeley Engineering)Students will work in hands-on studios led by world class design experts as well as lectures by industry leaders, design practitioners, researchers, and more.

DET Lab students have exclusive access to Jacobs Hall’s state-of-the-art facilities and tools that enable the prototyping and development of a wide range of technologies, including artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, robotics, and interactive devices.

Throughout the four week program, students will engage with domain experts, receiving hands-on design and engineering and fabrication training, and work in teams to fabricate functional designs.

The program will culminate in a final showcase that will feature student designs of functional Mars robotics rovers operating a sample return mission in a physical fabricated Martian landscape.  Student teams will be challenged to develop navigational strategies across the Martian surface, successfully locate and acquire surface samples, and deliver samples to a return space vehicle.

Additional Program Experiences

To round out the DET Lab experience, students will experience presentations, panel discussions, and workshops exposing them to a broad range of career and academic pursuits related to the world of design for emerging technologies.

Topics will range from career and college portfolio preparation strategies, to conversations with industry and academic professionals in design, meetings with UC Berkeley admissions, and field trips to unique Bay Area design destinations.

Guest experts and visionary voices will include:

  • Research Leaders from Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL)
  • Research Leaders from NASA AMES Research
  • UC Berkeley Research Faculty
  • Research Design Specialists and Practitioners


Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation, Berkeley Architect - Leddy Maytum StacyAre you ready to join a vibrant community of innovators, thinkers, and changemakers this summer? DET Lab is more than just a summer program—it’s a chance to dive deep into the realms of engineering and design, and social justice, guided by the brightest minds from UC Berkeley and beyond.  From the moment you step into our world-class facilities at Jacobs Hall, you will embark on a journey of discovery, design, and real-world problem-solving.

Apply to the Designing Emerging Technologies Lab at the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation, and take the first step towards transforming your passion into action.  Visit Summer Discovery to submit your application and learn more about how you can be a part of this very special summer experience.