Positioning of research

Industrial Design is a department that develops design engineering and design research expertise. We contribute in the field as scholars, engaging in design and technology development. From its early days the department has used a truly multi-disciplinary approach in education and research. The main contributing disciplines have been design, engineering, and social sciences. In recent years the role of health sciences has been growing, as health increasingly becomes a focal application area for our research. 

Making is key to our research. We have intensely and consistently led and shaped the RtD paradigm, in many respects more so than other design research programs. RtD typically involves a constructive element to address a design challenge and develop novel directions and opportunities for design, coupled with empirical studies involving individuals or groups interacting with the created artefacts. The artefacts designed at our department are smart products, systems and services involving ICT: we see ourselves thus as creative technologists, our focus on technology being one that traditionally concerns embedded systems following the visions of ambient intelligence/ubiquitous computing. We explore interactivity, focusing on aspects such as physicality, playfulness, user experience, etc.

We address design research challenges where the main objective is to create value and opportunities in systems with emerging technologies and materials. Additionally, we leverage new forms of interaction where the main objective is to realize and study networks of systems in a societal context and to design and analyze the emerging interaction patterns using recent developments in data acquisition and data analysis technology. These two research streams are reflected in our research groups Future Everyday and Systemic Change.

Future Everyday

The Future Everyday research group investigates the everyday interactions between individual people and the highly interconnected technology that surrounds them. We measure, model and design for the user experience when individuals interact with social-technological networks in their homes, at work, in transit, while doing sport or going out.

Systemic Change

The Systemic Change research group focuses on designing innovations that have impact on systemic structures and groups of people, ultimately aiming to address large-scale issues such as urban health, future mobility and sustainability. Field data is used in novel iterative and circular research-through-design processes involving strategic alliances of stakeholders.

Research profile

Companies can no longer rely solely on technology breakthroughs and incremental product development. Effective differentiation and real added value for the consumer are achieved by incorporating end-user insights in product innovation. This takes on an added significance when designing solutions for the emerging connected, digitally enabled world.

Innovative solutions today increasingly address a complex web in which products, services, technologies and user needs are interwoven. This in turn means that innovation is increasingly dependent on agreements within larger groups of stakeholders. This carries an inherent risk of slowing the innovative process down precisely at the time it needs to speed up in the face of an ever more dynamic and volatile market. Traditional markets are becoming increasingly saturated, educated and brand-wary.

Products and services are increasingly overlapping, everyday products are more intelligent and adaptive, and the focus is on ‘systems' rather than stand-alone devices. Additionally, user needs are evolving over time. Maintaining simplicity and understanding the user in such a landscape becomes a challenge. The industry needs a new kind of industrial design because of these developments. Industrial Design is acting in response to this need. Ideas for innovation can quickly be hampered by technical limitations, incomplete use of user insights or lack of fit to existing business models.

Our research centers and institutes

Our labs

At the Departement of Industrial Design researchers and students can use several labs to support their research and educational activities. We offer Generic Make-Labs, Specific Make-Labs and Research Labs.

/ lab

The / lab is dedicated to the realization of high-quality prototypes for master students and researchers of the ID department. The lab facilities are also used for the support of innovative projects within education that deserve extra attention to come to a higher level to attract industry and inform and inspire research.


The E-lab is meant for education; it facilitates students who want to build electronic circuits and provides the first level of electronics support for bachelor students.

Rapid prototyping lab

The Rapid Prototyping Lab is equipped with an Laser cutter Trotec Speedy 300™, small 3D printers and state-of-the-art professional 3D printer. They are mostly used for cutting and engraving sheets of MDF, plywood, or acrylic and work on textiles and for printing of (final) prototypes and molds as well as for explorations using its capability of printing materials with varying mechanical properties in one print job.

Neonatal Lab

The Neonatal Lab provides space to develop and test designs to be used in a neonatal care environment. The space provides a context (medical equipment, incubator) that can otherwise only be found in a hospital.