The workers on the Birmingham, Ala., high-rise jobsite weren't sure what to make of the two college kids who turned up with a ton of questions. "At first, groups of end users are wondering what the hell you are doing with them," said Nickolas Madsen. "Then you show them the sketches, and they get it."
When he walked onto that jobsite in fall 2011, Madsen was a senior industrial design student at Auburn University's Studio Build program, part of the Center for Construction Innovation and Collaboration in the McWhorter School of Building Science. In the program, industrial- design and building-science students research and develop new tools tailored to the construction industry.