Nicolas Weidinger (IND, 2010), was recently featured in the 2014 Good 100, on the website of Good magazine. The text from that entry is reproduced below. Nicolas has been a Research Assistant at the Institute for the Future, a non-profit research center in Palo Alto, California, since 2011.
Nicolas Weidinger, Popular Mechanic
Nicolas Weidinger wanted to make a chair. And as an industrial-design student, he tried to, but the chair fell apart. So he created the Catalyst, three brackets welded together at just the right angle to support a chair. All he had to do then was add three legs and a seat. This simple design became a part of an all-age curriculum across the country, a lesson not only in the basic concepts of design but also in problem-solving—an exercise in approaching learning itself. With the Catalyst, students can make a virtually unlimited number of different chairs out of a host of different materials they can find anywhere. Those who might consider math or science to be something they just aren't good at are taught that they just have to learn how to understand these new ideas: Think you can't build a chair? Think again. Now called the WikiSeat, the chair has reached more than 20 classrooms and has been built by more than 1,000 students from around the world. Anyone can purchase the Catalyst from the WikiSeat website, but those with access to metal and welding tools can find Weidinger's designs free on Instructables.com.