Research foci

Body makes a difference

Things and thoughts, mind and matter, bits and bodies. It is so easy for everybody to talk and think of our reality through these concepts. Designing, however, may be understood and conducted without separating rational thinking from physical construction.

Embodied Design looks at reality as a venue for people to interact, communicate and learn though their bodies. Designs are established in and through the bodily dialogue with people, materials, and concepts. It is our job to develop new understandings about this whole.

We promote three essential skills in our designerly research approach: designingbuilding, and analysing.


The skill to design

The skill to design is essential even when you are a researcher. In our designerly research we promote a user-centred design (UCD) approach. We have a long history in research that studies designing in the point of view of User Experience (UX), and have contributed to the conceptualisation and study of it. One of our innovative methods is called project-in-a-day.

The skill to build

For making designs part of the world, one needs to build them. We have strong expertise in building functioning interactive prototypes with micro-controllers, 3D printing, fabrics, wood, etc. A method that we have developed to assist designers to build things that compute is Flowcards.

The skill to analyse

The skill to analyse embodied design calls for novel sensitivities. A method we have developed for the analysis of learning in designing is Framing Analysis of Design Articulation.

What is Embodied Design?

Embodied design can be seen as a design agenda. Current computing systems treat human beings mostly as connected minds, quite completely disregarding our bodily engagement with the world. Embodied design embraces the human body as a central resource for action, communication, and play.

Embodied design can also be understood as the physical manifestation of a design idea or concept. Designs need to be realised in some material form before people can have an experience of them. Material qualities of designs influence on how design ideas and concepts become valued by people.

Designing can be approached and analysed as a form of embodied interaction. Designing happens in the material world, where people use their bodies and other communicative resources in a material environment. Ideas are created in an through dialogue with various materials.

Consider the difference.