BIF and Matt Cottam

Matt Cottam

Cofounder and Principal – Tellart (design consultancy)

Cottam is a co-founder of Tellart and serves as the company’s CEO and creative director as well as being a part-time faculty at RISD (The Rhode Island School of Design.) At Tellart, Cottam uses information architecture and design methods to discover challenges, find opportunities for design, and build design strategies and processes. Cottam’s current research and course topics at RISD involve design for Search and Rescue and Disaster Medicine.

  • he’s been called a  professional amateur – goes in and learns about lots of things at different times
  • was a tech lead for a project with the DOD, Hospital and art college
  • train army medics – build a human casualty robot
  • had to learn how to ask the right questions to the army medics and doctors
  • had to learn all about the biology and anatomy to build the robots
  • I became an EMT during the project and then went to paramedic school, 2 years worth of study
  • it was way more than I needed, probably a big mistake…in the middle of the process I got engaged and it became a huge mistake!  24 hour shifts were not the best thing
  • now part of an emergency team that can be deployed to disasters – a lot of training
  • then looked at designing suits for medical personal to enter contaminated areas, improving how they can be out on and managed.   Designed a suit that can be put on without help, with great seal management
  • then looked for a way to apply medicine to things he was passionate about – joined the national ski patrol.  Looked at ways to improve medical care for the mountain rescue.   Top of mountains it is difficult to get life support – load and go was the way to do – get people off the site and to the hospital
  • researched the injuries, looking at ways to get care as soon as possible, looking at using the sleds to store stuff and the best way to keep things
  • he thought he would become a better designer from studying medicine – and that was true, but the real lesson was that it completely changed his life, how to deal with parents and children, getting intimately involved with people, impact of these individuals on his understanding of social responsibility.
  • last week he got to catch 6 babies…great day

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