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. 

Our aims

We 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". 

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.

Meet our board

“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

Flashback on events

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

Sex, Robots and Artificial Intimacy: a threat or the next best thing?

Intimacy through sex, love, and touch; for most people this is essential to leading a happy human life. The COVID-19 pandemic and its...

The Risk-Technology Nexus

Disruptive technologies: Risks worth taking?

Risks and (disruptive) technologies are closely connected. Technologies can reduce risks, but also introduce new ones. Socially disruptive...

The Creativity Code

Will a computer ever compose a symphony, write a prize-winning novel, or paint a masterpiece? And if so, would we be able to tell the...

Considering health behavior change

Despite the advantages, most behavior changes last only briefly. But why? Why do most changes not result in a more sustainable change of...

From blackboard to black box; Education and learning in the age of AI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is changing the way we work in many different ways. What will this mean for higher education?

Playful learning - Meaningful learning

How can we create more meaningful and engaging learning environments and activities?

The Future of Social Robotics

Join The Future of Social Robotics and the opening of the TU/e Social Robotics Lab

Kenny Chow: 'Animation Thinking on Human-Technology Relationship'

Animation Thinking on Human-Technology Relationship

Quantified Self Meetup - 13 May 2019

Together with Quantified Self Netherlands we organize the next QS Meetup, at TU Eindhoven. If you are interested in e.g. self-tracking,...

Hannover Messe 2019

We demonstrated our developments in robotics research, both form a systems approach as from the social robotics approach

Artificial Womb: Dream or Nightmare?

The artificial womb confronts us with serious moral and societal questions. Will humankind be better off with this alternative way of...

Artificial Moral Agents?

How ethical are self-learning algorithms, when do we say AI is ‘fair’ and should we be concerned about robot rights?

Pressure at work: The unavoidable impact of background sounds on human cognitive tasks

In this research meet, the interaction between sound and cognitive processes will be described and discussed based on current understanding...

Home Smart Home Night

Is there still room for human contact when we are surrounded by smart devices?

Research meet on Novel Sensing Techniques for Health Analytics and Quantified Self

Happy people in Smart Environments

In the research meet of 28 September 2018 TU/e researchers from various disciplines shared the latest research insights concerning health,...

Bridging Blockchain

Blockchain tech is coming like a tsunami and in the meantime slowly we are converting our paper money to crypto valuta

Transforming mental health care - Technological and social innovation for mental health

Mental health care is recognizing the potential of and adopting technology. April 6 TU/e, Tilburg University and GGZ Eindhoven orgnized a...

Social robotics: the future of human-machine relationships.

Center for Humans & Technology Research Meet: "Social robotics: the future of human-machine relationships."

Is morality always and everywhere, cooperative?

Debating the future of morality research

The Age of the Algorithm

We live in an algorithm driven society. In our quest for the ultimate learning machine we need to think about the consequences for human...

Virtual Healthcare - Hoe speelt VR een rol bij vraagstukken in zorg?

Welke rol kan Virtual Reality spelen bij vraagstukken in de zorg?

"Fitter, happier, more productive? The Science and Technology of Behavior Change"

In this research meet we focussed on the science and technology of behavior change. Are we designing the future we want to live in?

Debate: “Do robotics and automation threaten the good life?”

TU/e hosts Dutch Research School of Philosophy (OZSW) debate on automation and work.

“Sound Technology; a human perspective on the benefits and risks of sound in everyday life”

The science of sound and how advanced sound technology can change effect of sound on humans.

Ergonomics and Light, Lighting Design for All

Personal informatics & Personal health: Empowerd by Data?

Focussing on the potential of self-tracking technologies (aka Quantified Self) to support improved health trajectories, as well as...

Machine Smarts and Human Values: designing a humanistic future

We are handing more and more tasks to technology. But how do we ensure that this technological growth also contributes to the prosperity and...

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