Michael Rosenblatt ('01) has always followed his own path. He came to Carnegie Mellon an engineer intent on studying robotics, but with a passion for design. So he developed a unique major, dubbed 'Intelligent Media Design.'
"With the interdisciplinary nature of the school, I was able to bridge design and engineering," he explained. "I couldn't have found that anywhere else."
More than that, Rosenblatt was seeking valuable practical experience, and found it in Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute.
"The opportunities are tremendous for undergrads to get involved in applied research," he noted. "Carnegie Mellon's got to be in a collection of very few universities that make it so easy for undergrads to get really engaged in applied research and hands–on experience."
Rosenblatt eventually found himself at Apple, Inc. as an engineering program manager. He co-led the development of the second-generation iPod Nano and fifth-generation iPod. Spanning the varying disciplines involved in managing the wildly popular products proved an excellent fit for a student that wouldn't be pigeon-holed.
"It's really hard to find people who can bridge design, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and software, but I'd done all those things," he said.
Rosenblatt quickly moved on to become the new technologies manager, responsible for developing revolutionary technical opportunities for the iPod and iPhone. Over two years, his team filed 42 patent applications and saw 70 percent of their innovations adopted into products.
"We set up this team to mitigate Apple's intense focus on shipping great products with the need to be constantly reaching into the future for things that would make the products better and more competitive," explained Rosenblatt.
Now Rosenblatt's skills are at work at Open Project Database, a company he founded that creates software allowing people to easily document and share their projects. Rosenblatt's aim is to create a digital space where communities can share their innovations and resources, fostering inspiration and creativity.
"The goal is to help people innovate faster and more efficiently, but in a very nuts and bolts way," he explained. "Ideally, I want to enable as much great innovation as I can ... to help solve the world's important problems."