Many of us have or will find ourselves working in organizations and teams that require the conceptualization and realization of innovative solutions to future challenges. Our future society will be confronted with important challenges such as Ageing, Health and Wellbeing, Urbanization, Connecting People, Sustainable Growth and Acces to food and clean water. Technological and Scientific progress offers a rapid succession of novel materials and scientific results. As designers of future technologies, we need to help people deal with change.

The aim of this course is to empower people in a fast changing world.

In this course, we explore issues, challenges, and opportunities facing people and society today and in the near future. We consider when and why it makes sense to create innovative solutions to support people in a fast changing world, and the impact of advances in nano-, robo-, neuro, bio and info- technology (NRNBIT) on the design of a next generation of systems and objects.

We will gain hands-on experience with technologies to conceptualize and prototype approachable objects that address a core challenge and are inspired by recent advances in NRNBIT. By the end of this course, students should better understand the process of truly understanding people, and design thinking, be able to think strategically about issues such as creativity, design and the impact of design on people and society, and gain insights for successfully creating technology to address major societal challenges.

General information

This course will take place in the fourth quartile of your second year. It will be given by Peter-Paul Verbeek en Vanessa Evers.


PP Verbeek

Peter-Paul Verbeek

Peter-Paul Verbeek (1970) is professor of philosophy of technology and chair of the Department of Philosophy, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands. He is also chairman of the ‘Young Academy’, which is part of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a member of the Dutch Council for the Humanities and of the board of the Society for Philosophy and Technology. Verbeek is an editor of Tijdschrift voor Filosofie and De Academische Boekengids, and a member of the editorial board of SATS. Journal for Northern Philosophy and of the scientific advisory board of Philosophy & Technology. From 2010 until 2012 he held the Socrates chair at Delft University of Technology. Fall 2006 he was guest professor at Aarhus University, Denmark.

Verbeeks research focuses on the social and cultural roles of technology and the ethical and anthropological aspects of human-technology relations. He recently published the book Moralizing Technology: Understanding and Designing the Morality of Things (University of Chicago Press, 2011), in which he analyzes the moral significance of technologies, and its implications for ethical theory and for design practices. He is also the author of What Things Do: Philosophical Reflections on Technology, Agency, and Design (Penn State University Press, 2005), which investigates how technologies mediate human actions and experiences, with applications to industrial design. He is co-editor of the volume User Behavior and Technology Design – Shaping Sustainable Relations between Consumers and Technologies (Springer, 2006) about the interaction between technology and behavior, and its relevance to technology design and environmental policy.

Having finished the project Technology and the Matter of Morality, about the moral significance of technologies, and its implications for ethical theory and the ethics of technology design (NWO VENI grant 2003), he is now working on the project ‘Technology and the limits of humanity: the ethics and anthropology of posthumanism’, about human enhancement technology and its ethical and anthropological implications (NWO VIDI grant 2007). Beside this, he is working on the following projects:


Telecare at Home: MVI (Socially Responsible Innovation) project on telecare technologies and their mediating role in practices of illness and care (co-applicant)


The Performative and Relational Abilities of Things: NWO project (pilot project, PhD in Fine Arts), conducted by Ms. Yvonne Dröge Wendel (supervisor / promotor)


Thinking Space: an interdisciplinary approach to the spatial dimension of Ambient Intelligence (Austrian Academy of Sciences)

Vanessa Evers

Vanessa Evers is a full professor of Computer Science at the University of Twente’s Human Media Interaction group. She received a M.SC. in Information Systems from the University of Amsterdam, and a Ph. D. from the Open University, UK. During her Master studies she spent two years at the Institute of Management Information Studies of the University of New South Wales, Sydney. After her Ph.D. she has worked for the Boston Consulting Group, London and later became an assistant professor at the University of Amsterdam’s Institute of Informatics. She was a visiting researcher at Stanford University (2005-2007). Her research interests focus on on interaction with intelligent and autonomous systems such as robots or machine learning systems as well as cultural aspects of Human Computer Interaction. She has published over 80 peer reviewed publications, many of which in high quality journals and conferences in human computer interaction and human robot interaction. She serves on Program Committees of HRI, HSI, CSCW and ACM Multimedia. Vanessa won the best thesis prize awarded by the Dutch National Society of Registered Information Specialists, was co-author of the James Chen best paper award of the journal on User Modeling and User Adapted Interaction together with her Ph.D. student Henriette Cramer. She is a member of the ACM International Human Robot Interaction Steering Committee and Associate of the Human Robot Interaction Journal.



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