Emerging technologies in the past decade have altered our view on how the digital and physical – bits & atoms – can co-exist and enhance each other. Specifically, the combination of digital manufacturing, 3D scanning, embedded sensors, and IoT platforms are getting paramount and enable revolutionary changes to the way we define products: sometimes these are physical, sometimes virtual, or combined. 

Through so-called Augmented Fabrication, computational power and digital manufacturing are combined with user skills/intuition. To frame applications and fundamental challenges, we discern two orthogonal axes: cognitive versus physical, and reflective versus the active. As depicted in Figure 1, this yields four different quadrants with scientific domains that need to be juxtaposed (Augmented/Virtual Reality, Robotics, Co-Making, and Artificial Intelligence). 

Figure 1: Framing augmented fabrication.

3D printing and digital manufacturing are disruptive technologies, that will change our daily lives in terms of devising, making, and using product and service combinations. Furthermore, advanced manufacturing techniques enable iterative development in which the notions of prototypes are changing towards demonstrators and moonshots. A key takeaway is that such innovations can augment human capabilities, to extend our mental and physical skills with computational and robotic support. Furthermore, agile development methods, complemented by mixed-reality systems and 3D-printing systems, enable us to create and adapt such systems on the fly, with almost instant turnaround times. The aim of this research program is to design and prototyping of custom digital fabrication systems that combine user skills/intuition with computational power. 


  1. Advanced manufacturing techniques robotics, mechatronics, cyber-physical systems and embedded intelligence. 
  2. New products mass personalization, materials and textiles, scale, life cycle, ergonomics, cultural heritage. 
  3. Changing roles of users computational design support, craftmanship, situational awareness 


This lab is part of the premises of the Antwerp Design Factory, enabling research and education projects.

Protospace  - Special 3D printing, electronics prototyping, 
Textile space  - Digital textile production & smart garments 
Innovation space  - Pre-incubation offices, co-creation facilities, showcase. 
XR arena  - Virtual & Augmented Reality laboratory  

Related courses 

Advanced Prototyping Research Internship 


Aleksandra Sviridova, Mehmet Özdemir, Lien Acke, Drim Stokhuijzen Affiliated members: Anne Marleen Olthof (HvA), Chiara Percivati (conservatoire Antwerp), Kristof Timmermans (Academy of Arts)


This lab is part of the IOF Nexor 2.0 consortium. Active collaboration with the AP Immersive Lab (Tetra project AI driven VR training).