Design of Future Everyday Things

  • IPD Lab. (Interactive Product Design Laboratory) is a research lab affiliated to the Department of Design at UNIST. Our lab's primary activity is to design and realize future interactive products by iterative prototyping and applying research through design methodology. We investigate smart materials and novel structures to realize creative products.


Primary Lab Activities

  • Design & Realization of Creative Concepts:
    Our lab focuses on thinking and inventing creative products that can provide effective, playful, and emotional value to the users. The key approach for thinking and making creative products are "systematic brainstorming of new ideas" and "iterative prototyping". Our lab members and the director will have weekly meetings to think together about new products and services, along with the continuous investigation of existing products and researches. We will use idea generation cards to generate unexpected and imaginative future product concepts, and we will conduct discussion periodically to select the concept that we will design and implement. During the prototyping process, we will seek for novel materials and devices that we can hack and apply on our development. Once the initial prototype has been produced, we will conduct a pilot study to gather effective user feedback. After iterations of this prototyping process, our goal is to develop complete products that can be used in our everyday life and to provide a feasible bridge to the industry.


  • Design-driven HCI Research:
    So far, methodologies and theories for user-centered design (e.g., Affordances and Conventions, Cultural Probes and Research through Design) have received attention in design studies. On the other hand, the design concepts and products in design research have mostly resulted in suggestions and directions or concepts. In particular, design cases implemented in the computer science-driven HCI field have received more attention and become notable interaction design cases in the area of design and HCI research. Even though those cases are recognized as typical interaction designs, a few cases were progressively developed by using conventional design methodologies or by the active contributions of designers in those studies. That is, the development of design cases in design and HCI studies is divided and actually designed prototypes and products tend to depend more on individual studies from CS researchers who could implement novel technologies, rather than from design researchers who should design and develop more cases. As the phenomenon of estrangement is occurring between design-driven and technology-driven HCI studies, we aim to make design studies in order to produce and complete more products than or with engineers in the HCI field, and to present design cases that can receive high attention. In addition, we aim to improve on the existing design research trends and present solutions by applying and transforming new technologies, as well as implementing concepts into highly finished prototypes.


  • Collaboration with Engineers:
    We aim to create final product designs in systematic ways by collaborating and communicating with engineers in the early stages of the design process, in order to derive and develop creative initial design cases. Prior to collaborating, we will endeavor to understand the technologies, implement their concepts, and show them to engineers. The concepts and prototypes from our lab will be a communication tool with engineers and could mean for designers and engineers to understand and respect each other’s roles when driving the concept prototypes until completion.


  • Design Research to Practice: 
    Our lab aims to propose methods and design research directions that blend design research with practice. Most of the previous examples of design studies connected to practice are mainly products made by intuitions from stylistic and experienced designers. On the other hand, interactive products in design studies mostly result in academic papers, patents, or exhibitions due to technical and structural design deficiencies. This issue has also remained unsolved in cases developed in many HCI labs in which the interactive future concepts are presented and implemented. It is important not to limit the use of technologies when implementing creative concepts; however, it is also important to find and apply design and technological alternatives to use in-situ through compromising on practice and technological reductions. We aim to complete concepts by presenting designs, structures, and technologies that might be connected to practice, rather than only aiming to present and implement fancy concepts. By maintaining this process, our lab will be able to contribute to design research and practice through new inventions in the process.