Watching a col­lege friend fly a stunt kite that trav­eled 80 mph through the whip­ping wind trans­formed Mark Reed’s latent interest in teth­ered air­crafts into a full-​​blown “obsession.”

In 1992, he founded Prism Design Inc., a Seattle-​​based kite design and man­u­fac­turing com­pany, which, he said, cre­ated the con­cept of indoor kites.

We wanted to build some­thing dif­ferent,” Reed said, noting his company’s phi­los­ophy of bringing spe­cial­ized tools, machines and pro­duc­tion tech­niques to an ancient art.

Last week, Reed helped more than two-​​dozen North­eastern stu­dents in a 3-​​D design course assemble — and then test fly — light­weight indoor kites.

The kites — designed using Prism’s sig­na­ture mate­rials, including Mylar lam­i­nates, poly­ester string and carbon fiber tubing — achieve flight by using wind gen­er­ated by the motion of the air­craft, which moves when users walk slowly back­ward or pull on the kite line.

Edwin Andrews, an asso­ciate pro­fessor of art in the Col­lege of Arts, Media and Design who teaches the course, praised the project’s utility. “This is a good fit for our class because the stu­dents are using a lot dif­ferent mate­rials and working with their hands,” he said.

Will Her­bert, a freshman com­bined major in dig­ital art and game design, took a break from assem­bling the kite to dis­cuss its unique challenges.

There are a lot of little details that you have to pay atten­tion to,” he explained, noting an ear­lier class project in which he designed a human sculp­ture out of plastic wrap. “You have to keep making small adjust­ments and it will usu­ally work out.”

Last Thursday, more than a dozen stu­dents in the class flocked to Cabot Cage to fly their kites in a wind­less environment.

Prior to the test flights, Reed offered a few pre­scient words of wisdom. “Flying is pretty easy, but it’s not a no-​​brainer,” he told the stu­dents. “It takes prac­tice to get pretty good at it.”

The goal,” he added, “is to get the kite flying for longer and longer periods of time.”

Her­bert, who took his kite for a suc­cessful spin around the gym­na­sium, plans to keep his new toy. “My dorm is pretty full right now, but maybe I’ll hang it up on the ceiling,” he said. “That would work pretty well.”

Nolan Man­ning, a freshman com­bined major in dig­ital art and game design, com­pared the project to designing tree houses and car­penter benches as a boy.

Flying kites reminds me of being a kid,” he said.