People consume products and use services and environments based on the experiences these will deliver and the value they will add to their lives. It is therefore essential for manufacturers, designers and engineers to understand how to design for positive experiences to deliver truly human-centred innovation. We call this Experiential Engineering.
In Experiential Engineering, we understand, design and optimise people’s experiences with current and future products, technology, environments and services. We work at both a user and community level, particularly around understanding acceptance of new and disruptive technologies.
Our approach is to work in a truly multi-disciplinary way by creatively blending design, engineering, psychology, human factors, social sciences, business and computer science. Our mixed methods approach tends to be creative, extremely participatory, with a high degree of public engagement. But given the need to impact upon engineering and the translation of subjective experiences into quantitative engineering requirements, our methods are also highly rigorous and quantitative when necessary.
Members of the group include designers, engineers, ergonomists, psychologists, computer scientists and healthcare professionals who each bring their specialist expertise to optimising experiences for human-centred innovation.
In mobility, we work with the automotive and rail sectors. We also work with the healthcare and energy sectors. Our research projects have a high degree of industrial and public involvement and we also work with policy makers.
We work collaboratively with other research groups in WMG:
- Intelligent Vehicles group on user and societal acceptance of Connected and Autonomous Vehicles.
- Engineering Psychology for testing experiential interventions.
- Energy and Electrical Systems to understand the use of hybrid and electric vehicles in terms of their sound, driver information and behaviour.
- Supply Chain Research group for embedding design thinking through the high value manufacturing supply chain.
Improving the customer experience in rail
We are delivering experience-design research to the Innovate UK funded CLoSeR project (Customer Loyalty and Dynamic Seat Reservation System), which aims to deliver innovative new technology to the rail industry. In collaboration with Unipart Rail, Great Western Trains, TrainFX, Loyalty prime and Cranfield University.
Social acceptance of driverless cars
We have on-going participatory and public engagement activities to understand the trust, security and experiential issues concerning a driverless car future. In collaboration with industry partners and policy makers.
Future human machine interfaces for connected and autonomous vehicles
We have a number of projects exploring the user experience of connected and autonomous vehicles as part of the Jaguar and Land Rover funded RaCED program. More information
Design knowledge in mental health
We are conducting research into how people with dementia and their carers are able to adapt their homes to remain living at home longer, and co-designing solutions. In collaboration with dementia charities and healthcare providers. More information
Sustainable luxury and future vehicles
This EPSRC and Jaguar and Land Rover funded research is exploring the changing roles of automotive interior materials to deliver a luxury experience to customers.
Participatory design of future energy structures
In collaboration with physicists, we are using participatory design to explore alternative aesthetic forms of solar power.
Experiential Engineering research combines the lab with the field. We often conduct our research in the environments which are the focus of the research, e.g. within healthcare environments, urban spaces and train carriages. For our lab-based research, we use the following WMG facilities:
- 3xD simulator - the world's first immersive, simulated environment for smart and connected vehicles which includes full emulation of wireless communications
- 3D Sound Room - This consists of a 16 speaker system plus one subwoofer together and 3 projector displays. It enables 3D sound fields to be reproduced using 5.1, 7.1 or ambisonics. It is a key tool for our research into the exterior sounds for electric vehicles.
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