Inside Quantum Technology’s “Inside Scoop:” Quantum and Industrial Design
Quantum computing, the cutting-edge field that harnesses the principles of quantum mechanics, has emerged as a revolutionary technology with the potential to transform various industries. Among these, the industrial design industry is a domain that can significantly benefit from quantum computing’s unparalleled computational power and capabilities. Industrial design, or the process of designing services, objects, products, and devices for everyday use, impacts individuals whether they realize it or not. From train lines to building codes to electronic devices, industrial design helps to make society safer and more streamlined. Quantum computing can help industrial design by optimizing structuring and advancing material science or molecular design. Conversely, advancements in industrial design can also play a crucial role in shaping the development and applications of quantum computing.
Reinforcing Urban Systems
One of the critical impacts of quantum computing on industrial design lies in its ability to solve complex mathematical problems at an exponential speed compared to classical computers. Industrial design heavily relies on simulations and optimization algorithms to create and refine prototypes. With quantum computing, designers can simulate intricate physical phenomena and systems with unprecedented accuracy and efficiency. This enables engineers to explore numerous design possibilities, refine materials, and optimize product performance while drastically reducing the time and cost of trial and error.
“One area where quantum computing could have an impact is in reinforcing the design process for complex systems, such as urban infrastructures,” explained Klem Jankiewicz, a Product Design Lead at Classiq Technologies in Tel Aviv. “With various factors, such as the existing environment, evolving social needs, transportation or energy, cities are very complex systems to analyze, model, and optimize. Using quantum technologies in the design process could potentially lead to many more efficient and sustainable results.” Jankiewicz is one of many individuals examining how quantum computing and industrial design interact. On a city-wide level, quantum computing could help optimize various infrastructures, from building designs to roadways and sewer systems.
Advancing Material Science
Quantum computing can significantly accelerate advancements in material science, a critical aspect of industrial design. As Jankiewicz elaborated, benefits could come from the “development of new materials with desired properties, which could be accelerated by quantum computing. This would give industrial designers an excellent opportunity to design using these materials or even participate in their development.” By leveraging quantum algorithms, scientists can more effectively study and model the behavior of atoms, molecules, and materials at a fundamental level. This understanding can lead to the developing of new materials with exceptional properties, such as higher strength, enhanced conductivity, or improved heat resistance. The ability to design custom materials tailored to specific applications can revolutionize industries ranging from aerospace and automotive to electronics and healthcare.
Industrial Design Can Also Help Quantum Computing
While quantum computing offers immense potential to industrial design, this design field can also influence the development and applications of quantum computing. The design principles of simplicity, elegance, and user-centeredness can guide the development of intuitive quantum interfaces and tools, making quantum computing more accessible to non-experts. “I am a big proponent of involving designers early on in the development processes, and this applies to quantum computing as well,” stated Jankiewicz. “Specifically, when it comes to commercial quantum computers, designers can play a crucial role in improving usability and enhancing the overall user experience. Good design can influence the choice of a specific provider by the future users, both in software solutions and the hardware.”
Additionally, industrial design can contribute to the physical design of quantum devices, improving their ergonomics, scalability, and integration into existing technologies. As Jankiewicz added: “User-friendly solutions should be designed from the beginning rather than fixing issues later on.”
The convergence of quantum computing and industrial design holds tremendous promise for transforming how we design, manufacture, and innovate. Quantum computing’s unrivaled computational power and the ability to simulate complex systems can enhance industrial design processes, leading to optimized products, materials, and manufacturing techniques. Simultaneously, industrial design principles can shape the development and usability of quantum computing, making it more accessible and intuitive for designers and engineers. As quantum computing continues to advance, it is crucial for industrial designers and quantum researchers to collaborate and explore new frontiers that merge the power of both fields, propelling innovation and pushing the boundaries of what is possible.
Kenna Hughes-Castleberry is a staff writer at Inside Quantum Technology and the Science Communicator at JILA (a partnership between the University of Colorado Boulder and NIST). Her writing beats include deep tech, quantum computing, and AI. Her work has been featured in Scientific American, New Scientist, Discover Magazine, Ars Technica, and more.