Amazing World of Sound-Driven Product Design

Ever wondered why we have a love-and-hate situation with alarm clocks? Or what makes you think that a sports car feels really powerful and therefore very masculine? Or why we get so relax by hearing the squeaky and rough sound of an espresso machine? Many of our daily interactions with products are mediated by the sounds the products emit. Our research has shown that sound is an integral property of a product. That is, product and its sound are functionally and conceptually related.

Field of research
My fundamental research concerns understanding the mental processes underlying perception and cognition of product-relevant sounds. One of my challenges is to apply theory and empirical research in design processes and in product solutions. I participate in several sound-driven design and research projects, whereof most of them are accommodated in the Critical Alarms Lab (CAL, see below), of which I am the director.

In a nutshell, my main research interests include:
// future alarm solutions for critical contexts;
// information design in Intensive Care Units;
// and preventing alarm fatigue and patient delirium.

Critical Alarms Lab
CAL is an initiative of the TU Delft Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering and aims to shape the future of product-user interactions in complex environments through audible, visual and haptic information design. It is a flexible consortium of individuals, institutes and companies, and it offers multiple student opportunities. You can find more information on CAL’s project page or on its Facebook page.

Last October, the 10th edition of the DeSForM conference series took place at the TU Delft and TU Eindhoven. I co-chaired this international conference for multisensory design and research (DeSForM – Design and Semantics of Form and Movement) in collaboration with TU Eindhoven. Over the years, the DeSForM community has explored and designed objects through a multisensorial approach always aiming at enriching users’ experiences with them. Last edition’s theme was on Sense & Sensitivity, in the application domains of healthcare and mobility.