Uday Athavankar is the Emeritus Fellow of the Industrial Design Centre at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT Bombay) in Mumbai.
He commenced studies in architecture before changing disciplines to industrial design, which he studied at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, USA. He was formerly Head of the Industrial Design Centre, Dean of Planning, and a member of the Governing Council at the IIT Bombay.
His research explores the relationship between cognitive science, linguistics and design decision. Using cognitive theories as a framework, he focuses on areas including product semantics and object-and-culture relationship. His current work also includes exploring the role of mental imagery, spatial intelligence and visual thinking in design problem solving. He is also on the advisory board of several international research journals.
For over forty years, Uday Athavankar has been dividing his time between design education, design research and design-related consulting for companies. As a design consultant, he has worked on a range of institutional and consumer products. His current projects deal with culture-specific localization of products and technologies for global companies including NCR, Unilever, Nokia and Samsung entering new products into the market in India and throughout the Asia Pacific region. His current research also explores industrial design approaches to affordable housing.
His recent product range includes robotic toys and thinking games for children, and he has also collaborated on the development of a personal locket that collects electrocardiographic (ECG) data, biometric authentication devices, and a variable frequency light table and night vision goggles design for people with impaired vision. He was honored by the President of India for his design of a low-cost automated teller machine (ATM) for NCR, adapted specifically for the Indian context.
Uday Athavankar was a member of the Holcim Awards jury for Asia Pacific in 2011.