Humans and Technology

Understanding the relation between humans and technology is key to responsible development and acceptance of future technologies in almost every application field, be it energy, mobility, health, work, living, learning or entertainment. 

Aims of Center for Humans and Technology

The overall aim of the Center for Humans & Technology is to foster and enhance high-quality multidisciplinary scientific research at the intersection of humans and technology, and to translate fundamental research insights into viable applications, services, and policies.
The Center for Humans & Technology is your single-point of entry for Humans & Technology related research at TU/e 

Our goals:

  • to enhance technological developments - by taking the human perspective into account - in collaboration with technological fields at TU/e;
  • to realize further synergy between the Humans & Technology related groups at TU/e in order to foster cross-disciplinary approaches towards the design and development of improved technology;
  • to open up new opportunities for research funding with partners in the Brainport area and beyond, both private and public.

Adaptive and engaging technologies

Future technologies need to be based on human needs and values at a personal, organizational and/or societal level. They will have to adapt their functionality to maximize these needs and values, and in some applications fields will have to engage humans at these different levels. This is one of the conditions for their successful adoption and diffusion.
Examples of adaptive and engaging technologies that currently have scientific interest are technologies aimed at behavioral change, health and well-being, life-long employability, or a sustainable society. The development of these technologies should take into account that human needs and values vary across cultures and regions, and that the creation and implementation of these technologies has become more and more a complex multi-actor process.

The core methodology for this research approach is user-centered design with iterative cycles of designing new technology and evaluating the related human values through experimenting in a controlled lab setting or "in the wild".

Understanding the impact of technology on humans and society

We need to understand better how past technologies have fundamentally changed human existence, and how future technologies may impact human beings and their society. This refection will help to design technologies with maximal value and minimal friction in a responsible way. 
Research questions related to this theme are: How will a robotized world impact people? What will be the consequences of cognitive human enhancement? What can we learn from past failures in technology adoption? And how did our technological choices in the past affect our current societal challenges? 

Common methodologies for this research theme are related to modelling humans from a psychological, economical, historical, philosophical, ethical and transition perspective, based on a combination of reviewing existing literature and experimenting "in the wild". 

Interacting research approaches

Both research approaches should not be interpreted as independent of each other; they interact via feedback loops. Understanding the impact of technology on humans and society leads to improved adaptive and engaging technologies, where the impact of these improved technologies on humans and society needs to be analyzed. Ultimately such cycles should lead to optimized technology, implemented in a responsible and acceptable way. 

Research themes

TU/e Social Robotics Lab

The TU/e Social Robotics Lab is designed for letting people interact with social robots in a mimicked home environment. The lab is ideally suited for running Wizard-of-Oz experiments where people can experience what it would be like to live and work with a social robot.

“Despite the increasing reliance on technology in our society, in my view, the key to designing a different future is to focus less on technology and engineering, and far more on the humanities and the design arts.
This is not a paradox. Technology certainly is a catalyst and will play an important role in what is to come. However, the deep issues holding back progress are more social and behavioural than technological. The skills of the engineer alone are simply not adequate to anticipate, much less address the relevant issues facing us today.
Hence, fields such as sociology, anthropology, psychology and industrial design, must be at least equal partners with engineering and technology in framing how we think about, design and manage our future.” 

Bill Buxton, Principal Researcher
Microsoft Research, TU/e Honorary Doctor

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Flashback on events

An overview of past events organized by and in cooperation with the Center for Humans & Technology

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