Prototyping - with a frugal approach

Frugal design, frugal innovation, or frugal engineering generally refers to the process of reducing the complexity and cost of goods and its production but can also include increase in product durability and the use of unconventional ways of distribution. This field of product development has to a large extent emerged to fill a market gap in developing countries within for example the field of health care and the need of increased access to it.

When we talk about sustainability and resourcefulness, there are still big differences in conditions and perspective depending on where in the world we are. To be able to collaborate, understand and solve problems both locally and globally, the awareness of such differences is crucial.

General information

This is a project-based course in which students practice physical prototyping as a common ground for a collaborative design process with a frugal approach (to do more with less). The course is structured around three workshops and two presentation/communication exercises. The workshops are guided by the same design object (a pre-defined everyday object) but deal with different types of material, briefly explained as hard material, soft material, and combinations or merges. The prototyping workshops will be performed in appointed labs/workshops in the Fuse area.

The course is emphasizing the design process and the development and exploration of ideas during sequences of physical prototyping. Participating in this course will serve as a source for inspiration, as well as an opportunity to learn and experience alternative ways to develop ideas and designs.


The course is open for all master’s programmes at Chalmers and particularly recommended for students within the fields of: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Engineering for sustainable development, Mechanical and Industrial Design Engineering.

How to apply

Due to limited number of places, students are asked to send a short motivation letter (max 1/2 A4) to


Teachers: Catarina Östlund
Course dates: Study period 4, 2024
Credits: 7.5 ETCS (advanced level)

Course code: TRA240
Application deadline: Closed for applications.

MTS course