Marking Milestones

The vice chair of IDSA’s Florida Chapter, Franco Lodato, PhD, IDSA, is marking some milestones in November 2016. He’s taking on a new position in his 30-year career; the design school he's co-launching has been given the green light by the Florida Department of Education to open next year; and Lodato is organizing events to help promote IDSA and industrial design in the state.

Lodato holds 76 patents and is perhaps best known for his work in biomimicry. Radiant Images is a Los Angeles-based hub of virtual reality (VR) that creates, develops and refines new capture technologies and innovations in VR content—helping filmmakers and camera operators capture 360-degree content with rapid prototype capabilities and the live broadcast of VR footage. “My role will be to nurture that mindset and take it a step further to find ways to enhance the VR experience down to the consumer level,” says Lodato. “Radiant is poised to become the leader in bringing this emerging, untapped area of VR to consumers.”

“His depth of experience and unique vision are a welcomed addition as we continue to push boundaries in VR and in all aspects of digital cinema,” says Michael Mansouri, co-founder and VP of Radiant Images. “I have reached out and turned to Franco as an unofficial product innovation advisor a number of times when he was part of Motorola, Herman Miller and Pininfarina. It’s great to finally have him involved in a more integrated way with us.”

Lodato has been working in the field of industrial design and product development for 30 years—either though his studio Bionics in Action or most recently—as chief of product innovation for Skylabs. He holds an honorary doctorate in design from Universidad Nueva Esparta and an MSc in bionics from Istituto Europeo di Design; has served as an associate professor at the University of Montreal School of Design; designer in residence at the University of South Florida; and visiting lecturer at MIT Media Laboratory.

Lodato was founder of the pre-engineering program at American Heritage School Plantation. This month, Lodato and Walter Bender, former executive director of MIT Media Lab, announced that Miami College of Design Industrial Arts & Method has received a license from the Florida Department of Education’s Commission for Independent Education and expects to open next year. MCD then hopes to create an IDSA Student Chapter. MCD will support future leaders in design and innovation, as students interact with design principles in concert with the natural sciences, material sciences, computing, communications and structural engineering. 

Lodato and Bender are promoting innovation in ID education through the Industrial Arts and Method (IAM) Foundation, which is curating Masters of Design, a one-day conference exploring the latest trends and breakthroughs in design, to be held Nov.30, 2016 in Miami. A kickoff is planned with Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, as reported in the Miami Herald.

Masters of Design, along with Masters of Sound live music festival, are part of the Masters of Tomorrow Summit, which is committed to working closely with the Miami technology and creative communities. Lodato says a 25 percent discount is being offered to Masters of Design for IDSA members. Request an invitation. Masters of Tomorrow is being held on the eve of Miami's Art Basel Week, set for Dec. 1 to 4, "gathering some of the world’s leading thinkers, creatives, technologists, entrepreneurs and artists to network, learn and get inspired to change the future," he adds.