I’m a soft robotics designer who is passionate about research, especially in the areas of health and education. My biggest drive in life is learning new things, and I enjoy passing on my knowledge to others. As a designer, I bring a creative interdisciplinary vision to projects, combined with strong engineering skills. I originally come from a humanities background. With my specialisation in English literature and English language teaching, I can communicate easily and confidently, both in writing and speaking. Because of this background that spans the arts and sciences, my design practice favours an interdisciplinary approach, combining various fields in engineering with design and education.
Because of my background that spans the arts and sciences, my design practice favours an interdisciplinary approach.
My technical skills allow me to rapidly realise and iterate on designs, resulting in an efficient design process. This process is characterised by a continuous dialogue between design and research. From the start of a project, I enjoy experimenting with materials and designs to get a better understanding of the qualities of the materials I’m working with. This experimentation is complemented by rigorous research and an understanding of the underlying engineering principles, such as when I designed a fully compliant fetal manikin for medical simulations. This approach helps me direct my process and allows for design and research to inform each other continually.
I thrive in uncertain settings where there is much to discover and learn.
I thrive in uncertain settings where there is much to discover and learn. I bring a strong vision and clear sense of direction to the projects I’m involved in, which means I need to be careful to seek out and incorporate feedback. I distinguish myself through the high level of technical quality and finish I bring to my projects, which has already resulted in a patent and publication. In my work I find it very important to build fully experiential prototypes, as they can give me invaluable feedback from the target group. As a person I generally have a very positive outlook on life and I continually transfer my enthusiasm for design to others.
Design of the future needs to embrace soft and compliant designs. For designers, I see untapped potential in areas such as shape change, haptic feedback, and soft wearable technology. Many of the designs I currently see are powered by electricity and motors, where it would also be interesting to investigate how other actuation methods, such as pneumatics, could inform our designs.
Design of the future needs to embrace soft and compliant designs.
I’m inspired by the work of researchers working in soft robotics, such as Daniel Preston at Rice University, who is designing fully pneumatic, soft wearable assistive devices for mobility issues. As a researcher, I want to build on the work of his group and see how those innovations can be applied to the challenges we take on as designers, for example in the health squad. I think the field of soft robotics holds great potential that the design community is not sufficiently aware of. An interdisciplinary approach is crucial here, as designers need the expertise of engineers to integrate these often complex technologies into their designs.
Ultimately, it is my dream to bring soft robotics to the TU/e Industrial Design department as a research area.
As a designer, I find it important to think out of the box also in how we fabricate our designs. I enjoy coming up with new fabrication methods, adapting existing machines, such as 3D printers, for new applications. At my internship at AMOLF I’ve seen how well such an approach works, and how modifying the machines also leads to new inspiration. I believe that this approach could benefit designers as well.
Ultimately, it is my dream to bring soft robotics to the TU/e Industrial Design department as a research area and start a soft robotics lab there. With my extensive teaching experience and passion, I would love to transfer my knowledge and skills to the designers of the future.