Research team

Expertise

Usability and User Experience Testing Testing both pragmatic and hedonic quality of digital products and systems is part of my field of expertise. Pragmatic quality involves the usability and utility of digital products and systems. Hedonic qualtity encompasses the mental well-being that such products and systems catalyse in their users. Research through Design As a long-time design expert at Achilles Design (www.achilles.be), I am a pioneer and advocate of Research through Design, which uses design as a fully-fledged tool for scientific research. I believe that Research through Design, more than traditional research methods, leads to new thinking and innovation. My own research within the UA illustrates this, as does my research with Ground Eight (www.ground-eight.be).

An aid for defecation in perineal descent. 01/05/2024 - 30/04/2025

Abstract

The planned project is a continuation to the thesis project of Kaat Robberechts (academic year 2022-2023), in which a tool (Femiset) was developed to alleviate defecation difficulties in women suffering from Descending Perineum Syndrome (DPS). Perineal descent is the medical term for excessive descent of the perineum when subjected to pressure from above, such as when making bowel movements. This can lead to symptoms of obstructive defecation, including a sensation of incomplete evacuation, tenesmus, fragmentation of stool, faecal urgency and faecal incontinence. This issue was brought to our attention by specialists at the Antwerp University Hospital (UZA), with whom close collaboration took place throughout the thesis. The designed solution includes a tool that allows the patient to apply mechanical counterpressure to the site of prolapse during defecation, offering a discrete, hygienic and non-invasive way to control the complications associated with the syndrome. Femiset is available in two different models: a static model, where a constant pressure is applied, and a dynamic model where the pressure can be varied manually during defecation. In a first phase of the project, the models will be fine-tuned for use in a clinical trial. In a second phase, both models will be tested in a clinical trial on 20 patients. The results of this study will be used in a third phase to optimise the product and further strengthen the patent application. This optimisation phase will result in three high-end prototypes of each model, closely resembling series products. During the course of the project, different valorisation routes (licensing/sale/spin-off) will be evaluated so that steps can be taken towards commercialisation by the end of the project.

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  • Research Project

cIn vivo testing and production preparation of the Buttonaid, a product solution for the creation of a buttonhole channel during hemodialysis, to make the product solution take over ready. 01/09/2023 - 31/08/2024

Abstract

In this Proof-of-concept (POC) project proposal, we propose Buttonaid, a simple and innovative product solution that facilitates hemodialysis therapy using the buttonhole method for both patients and nurses. Buttonaid is the result of Florentijn Vandecasteele's master's thesis Product Development, supervised by Prof. Lukas Van Campenhout. In this proposal, we have set out four tracks. The first is to fine-tune the current solution and finalise the Ethics Committee approval process. The second track will be to test the solution in vivo. In a third track, we will prepare the launch of Buttonaid by drawing up detailed technical plans and approaching potential industrial partners. The final stage is an overarching one: intellectual property protection through patenting. The end result of the project is fourfold. First, it results in a physical product ready for industrialisation. Second, there will be the results of the in vivo test. Thirdly, there will be a plan for the acquisition of the product by an industrial partner. Fourth, within this POC, the path to a patent is initiated.

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  • Research Project

Design for Embodied Mediation. 01/10/2022 - 30/09/2026

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.

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  • Research Project

Personalized urotherapy at home to improve the care pathway of children with Lower Urinary Tract (LUT) dysfunctions. 01/01/2022 - 31/12/2025

Abstract

The products and services supporting urotherapy play a crucial role in the effectiveness of therapy. The traditional urotherapy products are often paper-based solutions and the little technology used, can be perceived as outdated. For example, traditional paper-based bladder diaries are described by patients as cumbersome and inconvenient, resulting in low patient compliance. Several innovations have been introduced to overcome these obstacles, such as digital bladder diaries and a urotherapy gaming application. However, all had limited or no effect. A potential reason is the design methodology behind these innovations, which focuses on scientific evidence to make sure the design complies with evidencebased guidelines. In contrast, user needs are not or insufficiently investigated during the design process, resulting in innovations that do not fulfill users' expectations. We believe the design of effective healthcare innovations requires a new approach that combines objective knowledge (Evidence Based Design) with subjective user experience (User Experience Design). It is our hypothesis that the combination of both design methodologies will lead to stronger design propositions, enhancing treatment outcomes and patient experience. In this research project we will investigate the impact of this integrated approach by applying it to the design of an ecosystem of interlinked products and services to offer personalized urotherapy at home.

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  • Research Project

Intelligent racing bike handlebar for improved cycling performance, injury prevention and rehabilitation. 01/01/2023 - 31/12/2023

Abstract

This project focuses on the further development of a racing bike handlebar for an indoor bike trainer. The handlebar's functionality is aimed at both clinical and performance enhancement applications. The result of this project is a marketable product design that can be used in the practice of professional bike fitters and physiotherapists.

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  • Research Project

A Taxonomy for Multi-Motion Systems. 26/08/2022 - 31/01/2023

Abstract

There is a demand from Flanders Make for a taxonomy of existing and future multi-motion systems. This taxonomy is put down in a partly visual and partly verbal language, and aims to facilitate the internal communication around multi-motion systems within Flanders Make.

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  • Research Project

Robust Optimization Demo - VaProFam Demo. 30/09/2020 - 23/11/2020

Abstract

Innovative visualisation embodied in a demonstrator, to empower communication between stakeholders of abstract design and optimisation algorithms, developed at Flanders Make Codesigns. Based on research through design approach and to be exhibited during the Danders Make "Top Tech on tour"

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  • Research Project

Design & optimisation cluster toolchains. 01/06/2020 - 31/12/2020

Abstract

- From Flanders Make there is a demand for a classification of current and future tools developed by the cluster Design & Optimisation in order to facilitate the design process of multidisciplinary systems. - This classification is multi-dimensional, if based on different parameters. It must be understandable for a wide audience, while containing sufficient nuance to provoke discussion among experts. - This classification must be translated into a coherent, graphic visual language that can be used by Flanders Make researchers and business developers. - The classification and visual language will initially be used internally by Flanders Make. The purpose is to give a clear overview of the available tools and to make it easy to fit these tools into the targets of the roadmap. In addition, the classification and the visual language also serve as a vivid and understandable tool to explain the content of the tools to the prospects and customers of Flanders Make. Based on the presented classification, the right questions can be asked to the customer and the relevant tools can be filtered out. To this end, Flanders Make also wants to generate a series of use cases from completed projects. For each use case, a slide needs to be composed showing, with text, pictures and graphics, an application in which one or more tools were used.

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  • Research Project

Demonstrator CONCEVAL. 10/09/2019 - 30/12/2019

Abstract

Demonstrator development for a Flanders Make project, focused on generative design and semi-automatic ranking of design proposals. Involves hardware and software to enable an embodied experience with the algorithm.

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Project website

Project type(s)

  • Research Project