Back at SDU – this time in Kolding

We are visiting Syddansk Universitet in Kolding, which is where Jacob Buur’s group moved, into a brand new building. Students are exploring the book of the future, taking an ‘interventionist ethnographical’ approach.

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MyDay in the media

A year ago we initiated a student project that lead to a product concept called MyDayLight. This project was one of the pilot projects within the larger research project that aims to research and design (interactive technologies) in support of patient Empowerment. The intention is to evolve these pilot projects into a large funded research project on using embodied design principles to design for Empowerment, that is, creating interactive tools that help people with special needs to be more independent, in control, and respond to daily challenges of everyday life in a way that fits with their own skills, routines and the local context that they live in (their ‘lifeworld’). I am very much interested into the way embodied theory may contribute to design for empowerment. My logic is this: if a product becomes fully ‘part of me’ – part of my extended body, part of my own, self created and sustained ‘lifeworld’ – then this product will function as an empowering tool, because it will help me to ‘be who I am, in my own unique way’. This in contrast to technologies that implicitly or explicitly instruct you to act according to externally defined norms, standards, values and qualities.

The first prototype already won a prize in a competention amongst best creative Minor programme projects at Hogeschool Utrecht. Now the second project has lead to some nice exposure in the daily newspaper and was also demo’d at the UCREATE Health-Tech ‘break through’ conference last week. I hope to be able to test some more of the user experiences in the coming weeks with the two lead-users, who are both strongly involved in this participatory design project.

Good work everybody!

Twentian Design

Yesterday I started in my new job as Assistent Professor at the University of Twente. I have not logged in to my new account yet, I have to move all my stuff yet, my laptop is almost ordered for me, I have no employee card yet and no coffee-card (but I do have a desk with a nice view!) but most of all what I do have: I counted 64 new students in the design project we started yesterday, and a small group of dedicated colleagues pushing students to put the ‘human’ into design wherever possible. I am very curious to see what Twentian Design looks like, and how I can contribute to its development. Together with our second year students yesterday we kicked off a new project called Tools for Empowerment, a follow-up of the theme I had been exploring in Utrecht with the Interactive Media Products semester. I did not have time to blog about that project but it was actually quite succesful: One team won a prize for best creative minor programme with an interactive lighting tool for autistic patients. To be continued!

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