Context

Topics

  1. The Enriching Physical: Embodying digital phenomena
    How can we make human interaction with digital phenomena more substantial, important and valuable?  One way of doing that is by enriching them through physical artefacts and environments. This approach is very much situated within the research tradition of embodied interaction, which describes the interplay between the brain, the body and the environment and its influence on the sharing, creation and manipulation of meaningful interactions with technology. Note that embodied interaction is not merely about making interaction with technology and the digital world more natural and intuitive. It is also about deepening our rootedness and embedment in the physical and social environment. Perhaps the aspects of the physical world that we tend to experience as limitations (e.g. persistence (?), slowness and fragility), are in fact the characteristics that can provide weight and meaning to our interaction with digital technology.  It’s not just about designs that are instrumental and pragmatic, it’s about exploring the essence of what it means to be human through the design of artefacts and technology.

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Projects

Design for Embodied Mediation

Abstract: This research project is about everyday interactive products: digital cameras, washing machines, TV and audio sets, pocket calculators, electrical bikes, electronic toys, etc. It focuses on the mediation of these products: their ability to influence people's behavior in the long run. We want to give designers of such interactive products fundamental insight in the mechanism of mediation, in order to turn mediation into a design driver: a product objective that can be actively steered by the designer, during the design process. More specifically, we want to investigate how an embodied interaction approach to the design of these products influences their mediation. The project employs a Research-through-Design (RtD) methodology, combined with a long-term field test. As a practical context for the RtD process, we choose the conception of an interactive product with a predefined mediation. The product aims to stimulate the connection of elderly people over 70 with their close family and friends, in order to counter their isolation and feeling of loneliness. It is an interactive household product, located in the home of the older person. In a first, exploratory part of the project, the interactive product is preliminarily designed, with its predefined mediation in mind. Through an iterative process of design, user testing and reflection, we get a grip on the concept of mediation as a design driver and on its intertwinement with embodied interaction, in the design process of an interactive product. In a second part, a demonstrator of the newly designed product is developed and produced in a small series. These demonstrators are deployed in a long-term field test, and placed at participants' homes for several weeks. Through regular interviews and recorded demonstrator data, the interaction patterns of the participants with the demonstrator are revealed, and compared with the predefined mediation. Throughout the project, the Design for Embodied Mediation framework is gradually forged, and tested by setting up design projects for students at Product Development, University of Antwerp, and at Industrial Design, Eindhoven University of Technology. The relevance of the framework for design practice is assessed by confronting it with professional design experts.

Researcher(s):

Period: 01/10/2022 - 30/09/2026

VLAIO ICON: Ground Eight

Abstract: Ground Eight was established by Lukas Van Campenhout at Achilles Design, as a place where professional designers do research. We believe that the specific nature of design skills and design knowledge leverage a unique research approach, which allows the designer/researcher to do what he/she does best: thinking in possibilities. At Ground Eight, we think ‘what can be’, rather than ‘what is’.Our work is fundamentally human-centered. Design is in the first place about people, about how people act, think and feel in the everyday world, and how they interact with each other. Technology and economics obviously influence our research, but they are not our main objective. For us, they form a means to an end, rather than being a goal in themselves.Our interest lies in interaction with digital products and systems. Within this field, our research scope centers on Embodied Interaction and User Experience.

Funding: VLAIO ICON

Partners: Flanders Make, Audi, Kuka, CnH Industrial

Period: 2016 – present

Take a look at ground-eight.com​   

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The Enriching Physical

Abstract: How can we make human interaction with digital phenomena more substantial, important and valuable? One way of doing that is by enriching them through physical artefacts and environments. This approach is very much situated within the research tradition of embodied interaction, which describes the interplay between the brain and the body and its influence on the sharing, creation and manipulation of meaningful interactions with technology. Note that embodiment interaction is not merely about making interaction with technology and the digital world more natural and intuitive. It is also about deepening our rootedness and embedment in the physical and social environment. Perhaps the aspects of the physical world that we tend to experience as limitations (e.g. persistence (?), slowness and fragility), are in fact the characteristics that can provide weight and meaning to our interaction with digital technology. It’s not just about designs that are instrumental and pragmatic, its about exploring the essence of what it means to be human through the design of artefacts and technology.

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Researcher: Marieke Van Camp

Supervisor: Lukas Van Campenhout

Funding: VLAIO/IWT research project - Dehousse project

Period: 2015-2021

Partner: Clics (clicstoys.com)​

Related courses

  • UX Design exercise (3BaPO)
  • Design for Interaction: Fundamentals (1MaPO)
  • Design for Interaction: Module 1 (1MaPO)
  • Design for Interaction: Module 2  (2MaPO)
  • Master projects (2MaPO)

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Associations & partners