Responsible Innovation for the World
In my second year of the Bachelor’s degree I followed the USE-learning line “Responsible Innovation for the World”. Throughout this learning line I learned how to develop responsible innovations for the world, where I worked on a real-life project for Cordaid. This project was focused on developing a digital verification tool for hospitals in Africa, together with an Electrical Engineering student, a Computer Science student and a Built Environment student. This resulted in a very diverse group with different views on the project. Through this project I learned that I enjoyed working in such a mixed team, because everyone had their own clear expertise within the project. However, I also learned that it is important to have someone in the group who forms the bridge between technology and society. What happened, is that the technology behind the digital verification tool was developed and programmed very fast. However, what was forgotten, was that people in Africa do not have the same technical knowledge that we possess. Designing the technical realization of this verification tool does not mean that it can be immediately used by other people. From this I developed a new point of view in my Professional Identity; my interest is in forming this bridge between technology and society.
For my second project in Industrial Design I worked on the Smart Glove project in collaboration with Fontys Hogeschool. This project was an already existing project, where a glove was designed which could make 3D models of feet together with pressure data of the foot, only by scanning the foot with the glove. Our role was to review the user experience within the process of scanning the foot; this was done in a team together with two other Industrial Design students. Multiple user tests were done with orthopedics, allowing to review the process of making the 3D scan. We learned about the technical complications of the products, but we also learned that it is very important that the use of the product is very intuitive. This was very interesting, since we did not give the user any context about the interaction with the product before the user test. It was seen that the use of the product was already pretty intuitive, but some important points were found regarding the intuitive interaction. From this project I learned that I am very intrigued by making designs as ‘intuitive’ as possible; thus, not needing a complex guide for the use of the product. This then also resulted in a new addition in my vision, where intuitive design made its way into my interests.
In my third year I did and exchange semester in Barcelona at ESDi, school of design. Here I followed courses in the Product Design degree, mainly focusing on Creativity & Aesthetics and User & Society. As an example, I followed a “Materials & Technology” course, teaching about materials, e.g. wood, and how to use different materials in designs through sketches and through real-life building.
However, I did also follow a course focused on 3D modelling in SolidWorks. This was an extremely interesting course, where I learned how to make 3D models for the first time, and how to analyse them. I applied this knowledge from this course in other courses, learning that rapid prototyping through 3D modelling is a very useful way of receiving feedback on the design. Combining this prototyping method with the creation of physical prototypes allowed to have an even better understanding of the design choices made throughout the process. This was then also implemented in my Professional Identity as a designer.
Intelligent Interactive Products
After this exchange semester where the focus was mostly put on the A&I and U&S expertise areas, I wanted to delve more into the Technology & Realization and Math, Data & Computing. During this course, we created a product that uses machine learning to translate sign language into written words. Using multiple machine learning algorithms (LSVC, KNN, etc.), I got to know how machine learning works and how it could be applied in products. I found this very interesting, especially since it was definitely not an easy course, challenging me to delve into the more complex part of coding. Although I already knew that I headed more towards the more technical side of design, this course also confirmed that feeling. Even though sometimes working with the electronics and coding was more difficult, I found it even more motivating to solve the encountered problems. It also made me realize that I want to learn more about machine learning, especially with the quick growth of machine learning and artificial intelligence in real life. That is why, in my Professional Identity, I also learned that I am intrigued by machine learning applications in design.