Due to the multi-disciplinary nature of the research topic, the ‘Use Anticipation in Product Design’ research group includes researchers from backgrounds in industrial design engineering, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, computer science and cognitive psychology and works closely together with researchers from disciplines as human-computer interaction, ergonomics, psychology and philosophy.
The embedment of the research group in this multi-disciplinary environment is ensured by its participation in national and international networks as the knowledge centre AIDA and the Network of Excellence INTUITION. In addition, the group hosts two research projects funded by the Dutch Research program IOP-IPCR, i.e. ‘Synthetic environments’ and ‘Design for Usability’. These projects involve academic partners as several research groups of the University of Twente, Delft University of Technology and Eindhoven University of Technology and industrial partners as Philips, Thales, Océ, PANalytical and Indes.
The development of design tools is supported by the cooperation with T-Xchange. T-Xchange is a cooperation between the University of Twente and the company Thales, that aims at supporting innovation and decision making processes (see www.txchange.nl). Companies or government organisations can contract T-Xchange to facilitate group sessions regarding decision processes within design or policy development. The high-tech virtual reality lab, a joint venture between T-Xchange and the Laboratory of Design, Production and Management, is an important asset in facilitating the development process (See Figure 2). In addition, knowledge from research projects and case studies as well as experiences on the use of virtual reality as a design tool are intensively exchanged.
The Virtual Reality Lab at the University of Twente
The knowledge generated within the ‘Use Anticipation in Product Design’ group also finds its way to education through the involvement of the group in the user – product interaction related courses within the bachelor courses on industrial design engineering and biomedical engineering. In addition the research group facilitates the ‘Scenario based product design’ course within the master course on Industrial design engineering.