Digital Design

The world we live in is increasingly being shaped by digital design. I am interested in exploring what the future of this world might look like through project-grounded research projects.

However, this is by no means a trivial endeavor. Indeed, the sheer complexity of this challenge is what attracts me. It requires us to deal with design, computer science, electrical engineering and many additional disciplines. In particular, the social sciences too are of crucial importance as our design decisions can have profound consequences on the individual and societal level. In fact, this is what (digital) design is all about. - It is about creating artifacts and processes to be used by human beings, and if successful, it will have an impact on people.

To understand how to design for 'the Digital', my research has a particular focus on hybrid products of material things with built-in electronics. Such 'smart' devices melt our conventional analogous world together with a new digital world. It enables us to interact with digital technology in a bodily fashion that goes beyond just touching the surface of our smartphones and tablet computers. Still, each interaction with such a smart object is linked to the Digital and also manipulates an often invisible layer of digital 'material' or information. Besides this invisibility as well as intangibility, virtual interactions can have very concrete effects on our non-digital, ordinary life.

Therefore, hybrid products with analogous and digital components are a fruitful opportunity for exploring how we can design for the Digital and put computation in the service of the people. From a research perspective, I prefer an approach that is often labelled in academia as project-grounded research or research through design. Put in simplified terms, this means that new knowledge is revealed in an evolving attempt of finding solutions to design challenges. This approach aligns well with my project-based teaching approach (see didactics section).

In the articles of this section, I describe a number of my digital design projects. Many of these are projects belong to the application domain of Assistive Technologies. I have a particular interest in this area, and for this reason, there is also a dedicated section on this webpage for Assistive Technology design.