Exploring the place where physical and digital meet
I’m Carla and I’m a technology-focused product designer. My specialty is robots and objects that come to life through electronic behaviors. I design everyday products like washing machines and robotic vacuum cleaners, and I am the Founding Head of the 4D Design Program at Cranbrook Academy of Art. Previously I created and taught courses in Smart Objects at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Visual Arts, and other institutions. I’m also the author of the January 2013 New York Times Sunday Review feature, “Our Talking, Walking Objects” , which describes my view of our relationship with robots in the near future.
I’ve been excited about the Maker Movement, and in particular, 3D printing. During my research, I learned about many possible futures for 3D printing: printers in every home, robots as personal mini factories, 3D printed food, and so on. I was so intrigued by these possibilities that I decided to create a children’s book, to put the visions in the hands of young people, who are our ambassadors to the future.
Inspired by The Little Prince, LEO is the story of Carla, an accountant, who gave up dreams of being a sculptor until she meets LEO when stranded during a storm. She’s never seen anything quite like him, and when he explains that he can take a drawing and turn it into a real, physical, 3-dimensional object, she is blown away. Throughout the book, LEO regales Carla with stories of his many robot friends who live in different neighborhoods in Brooklyn. Carla learns about all the possible futures and regains her desire to create.
The book features a combination of text, hand-drawn illustrations, and photographs of the objects that LEO and his robot friends make (custom product designs by Carla Diana Design studio). The objects range from toys to jewelry and even food, and the project serves as a celebration of the joy of making.
I hope you enjoy the book, and feel free to say hello.
The LEO Team
I was privleged to work with an amazing team of talented and devoted people.
Nicholas Lim was the communication designer who guided book layout and art direction.
Claudia Christen was our eagle-eyed photographer for all the images in the book and cover.
Cindy Hanson provided writing and editing advice throughout the story development process.
Alexa Forney, my tireless assistant, rolled up her sleeves to help sketch and design the objects in the book.