Smart Human Centred Design

The DMF lab are excited to be embarking on research in the new application area of Smart human-centred design.  Work in this area seeks to couple physiological and neuroscientific measures with monitoring of designers in order to enable optimisation of the performance of individual designers and design teams  

Engineering projects are complex, often time pressured, stressful and involve many stakeholders from a wide range of backgrounds and capabilities. Moreover, engineering project performance is of critical importance, with companies, careers and economies succeeding or failing based upon them. The importance of performant design teams cannot be overstated! 

Low-cost sensing and associated informatics are used increasingly to help people improve their performance whether it be in terms of physical training (WHOOP, Polar, Garmin), sleep quality or gut health (ZOE).  

The ubiquity of smart watches as well as numerous low-cost and open-source sensing technologies provide ample opportunities for in-situ measurement of designers working in the real world. These include physiological measurements such as electrocardiography (ECG), electrodermal activity (EDA), electromyography (EMG) as well as neuroscientific measurements including electroencephalography (EEG) and functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). The coupling of these neurophysiological outputs with outputs of more established design research techniquessuch as prototype capture, protocol studies, or questionnairescan provide holistic measures and thus a more complete picture of project performance, and subsequently enable interventions that would permit their optimisation.  

 Activities as part of this project typically fall into one of these categories: 

  • The development of new means of measuring and understanding design activities of both individuals and teams;
  • Applying findings from the above to improve design performance through development of design strategies; or,
  • Developing new methods and technologies for measuring user feedback in product development.   

Work in this area is undertaken by Dr Henrikke Dybvik, Dr Mark Goudswaard, Dr Chris Snider and Izzy Ormerod.

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