EU-Funded project spins a web of student researchers

The TU Delft-led Light.Touch.Matters project has ramped up its collaboration efforts in the last few months.
A half year after the Light.Touch.M

atters project has started, more and more TU Delft PhD and master’s students are contributing their efforts to bring flexible sensors to consumer products. The project is led by TU Delft, with Dr. Erik Tempelman at the helm. It unites materials scientists and product designers from nine countries and 17 public and private European institutions. The project aims to improve the well-being and care of consumers everywhere. 

Tempelman, an associate professor in Industrial Design Engineering, won the grant for Light.Touch.Matters this year from the European Commission, under the FP7 Framework. The project will continue for three years, until mid-2016. 

TU Delft’s Novel Aerospace Materials Group, or NovAM, has been developing a flexible piezo-polymer material under Dr. Pim Groen. The piezo-polymer provides the “Touch” aspect of the project and organic LEDs, the “Light.” These materials will compete with existing flexible materials that are expensive to manufacture. They are the core technologies that European designers will incorporate into their products throughout the project. 

André Taris, a Design for Interaction master’s student has been perfecting a new technique for taking anthropomorphic measurements with Tempelman and Dr. Johan Molenbroek, associate professor of applied ergonomics. Taris uses a precise measurement instrument to take data that would inform NovAM researchers on materials development for wearable applications and will graduate this month. 

Molenbroek sees plenty opportunities for the next master’s student that will come work with him, having said that it will be a “challenge” to consider pressure readings in the measurements. 

Currently, there is one doctoral student at NovAM, Daniella Deutz, who is working on the project’s signature flexible sensor. She keeps the material on spec with the needs of the product designers in what she described as the “new design-driven materials science methodology.” 

Working with Dr. Elvin Karana, associate professor of reliability and durability, Dr. Paul Ekkert, associate professor of design aesthetics, and Tempelman is PhD student Bahar Barati. Karana’s master’s students, Claudia Poma and Tim Vermeulen, also collaborate with Dr. Sylvia Pont, associate professor of human information communication design, and Dr. Marieke Sonneveld, associate professor of design aesthetics, respectively. 

New Integrated Product Design doctoral students started this September. Katalin Doczi collaborates with NovAM under the guidance of Dr. Pieter-Jan Stappers, associate professor of design conceptualization and communication, and Tempelman. Jill Lin and Robin dos Santos Gomes have commenced research with Dr. Maria Saaksjarvi, associate professor of marketing and consumer research, and Tempelman. 

Jorn Ouborg recently finished his master’s degree with Martin Verwaal, an instructor of product engineering, and Tempelman. Bang & Olufsen was his client.