PDT an Astronics Company: Product Design and Development Firm in Chicago, IL

David Carhart has been a key part of PDT’s success for 15+ years, so it is no surprise that when put in a room full of Chicago’s most creative minds, he was described as an “anchor” and a “gem.” We sat down with David after he got back from Center for Lost Arts for a quick Q & A about his Arduino Light and his overall experience.


Read Press Release Here >

Center for Lost Arts
Center for Lost Arts

What was your inspiration to make an Arduino work light?

The original inspiration was an ID project I did in grad school where we visited a bushel basket factory and designed a light fixture based on their materials and capabilities. The picture (right) shows a simple design we did from a partially-made basket. The objective was more aesthetic than functional; to create a warm, inviting, organic light source.


The lamps are actually not all that efficient. It takes a lot of light to show through the wood veneer. I’m looking for other types of wood or thinner wood for the future.

Right: lamp created in grad school, Below: first lamp prototype

Center for Lost Arts

What did you alter after building your prototype of the light?

I was playing around with a few variables, for example loose vs. tight materials & construction methods and contrasting the technology elements (LEDs and Arduinos) with the historic and traditional elements (wood and simple swept curves).

Below: second lamp prototype, Below Right: second lamp prototype

Center for Lost Arts
Center for Lost Arts
Center for Lost Arts

Above: first lamp prototype

Charles Adler, Co-Founder of Kickstarter

Center for Lost Arts
Center for Lost Arts

Above: colored LED lamp prototype, Right: colored LED lamp prototype

What was your inspiration for the colored LED light?

The colored lamp was mainly an attempt to focus on programming the Arduino software to control the emitted light in a way that creates a mood which matches the minimal swept trapezoidal shape. I really just scratched the surface and plan to continue to do more with it in the future.

Center for Lost Arts

What was the best part of Center for Lost Arts?

The best part was making a connection with the creative community in Chicago and getting inspiration from other disciplines that I might not normally seek out. Some of what I took away was low-level but very useful, like what free software makers are using to create artistic 3d printer parts. Initially my motivation was to support Charles Adler’s initiative to create a new type of shared co-working maker space which people enroll in like a gym membership. I look forward to seeing what the next popup looks like as Charles learns from this one and refines the approach.


I have been involved in the crafts in one way or another for 30 years, and it has been fascinating to watch the 3d printing revolution and resurgence of interest in making objects as personal expression. Some of the results have been a bit clunky or childish but I want to be part of the technology + craftsmanship movement as it matures over the next few years. Come to think of it, technology + craftsmanship is what my light fixtures are exploring too.

David Carhart

Center for Lost Arts

Center for Lost Arts Welcomes David Carhart


Product Development Technologies’ David Carhart joined Charles Adler, co-founder of Kickstarter, for the new project, Center for Lost Arts.  An old, abandoned meat wholesaler in West Town, Chicago was transformed into a month-long, crowd-funded pop-up workshop and design studio.


Fifty product designers, woodworkers, hackers, architects and every kind of artist in-between got together for the month of July with access to equipment, workshops and various obscure and expensive resources to create, design, and finish projects. At the end, a Zine will be published documenting the findings, and frankly, failures of this project.


Carhart has been a standout in a community of brilliant minds, making an immediate impact with Adler for his innovated Arduino LED Light.


“David was introduced to the project and the space through this very project. I didn't know him prior, but he's been an anchor and a gem to have in the space. In the matter of a week’s time, he worked through a personal project of his own – an Arduino controlled LED light reminiscent of a billiard light. Every visitor has made comments about his light (and we've had PLENTY of visitors stroll through.) I don't know where he goes with this thing, but I hope he pushes it further,“ said Adler.


As director of PDT’s prototyping department, David leverages his unique knowledge and vast creativity to bringing clients’ visions to life each day. His personal creative efforts further inform his technical knowledge, affording PDT’s clients an unparalleled prototyping experience.


Read more about Carhart's role at the Center for Lost Arts here >

Center for Lost Arts

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