Where's my Robot? Integrating Human Technology Relations in the Design Curriculum

DS 78: Proceedings of the 16th International conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE14), Design Education and Human Technology Relations, University of Twente, The Netherlands, 04-05.09.2014

Year: 2014
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Arthur Eger, Wouter Eggink, Ahmed Kovacevic, Brian Parkinson, Wessel Wits
Author: Eggink, Wouter
Series: E&PDE
Institution: Industrial Design Engineering, Faculty of Engineering Technology, University of Twente
Section: Using Technology in Teaching
Page(s): 087-092
ISBN: 978-1-904670-56-8


In today’s society, and in almost every forecast for the future, technology development plays a major role. From theories in Science & Technology Studies we learn that the development of new technology cannot be meaningful unless there are users that successfully adapt the products and services to their own lives. As a result, it is important that designers learn to explore the interrelationships between engineering and behavioural, cultural and social issues. Within our Industrial Design Engineering curriculum we therefore emphasise the influence of technology on human behaviour and vice-versa. Although every specific product and context demands for a specific relation, we have experienced that there is common ground in the developments of these relationships that makes our education work. At a higher level of abstraction, the human side of the relation stays merely the same, because human bodies and human needs and emotions do not develop fast. It is only the technology side of the relation that develops and therefore changes the relationship. Thus, by starting from the human side of the relationship, the technology side can be consciously developed and shaped. A carefully designed series of courses in Design Aesthetics, Philosophy of Technology, Cognitive Ergonomics and Usability develops the students ability to analyse the human needs and characteristics, to understand the impact of technology, and provides the skills to shape the desired relationships. And although we do not design robots, our experience with Industrial Design Engineering is that human technology relations are apparent within all sorts of design challenges.

Keywords: Human-Technology Relations, Design Curriculum, Curriculum Development, Technological Mediation


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