List of my academic ID studio projects 2003 - 2012


Summer semester 2012

2 April - 15 July 2012


EnergyUrban Mobility in the year 2020







EnergyOLED design competition


In cooperation with our project partner, Audi Electronics Venture GmbH, we will develop visionary urban mobility concepts for the year 2020. Up to twelve participants will conduct their research in one of three different prominent international urban environments: Melbourne, Shanghai, and Istanbul. Here you will research the local situation in urban mobility. The results of your research will determine the evolution of your project. Of course, our project partner will take care of your expenses.

Last not least, Audi is interested in the nature of the mobile internet services young people are using in their smart phones or portable tablets today. Talk to your international peers and find out what you have in common, or what is unique for each of the three locations mentioned above. How will mobile internet services evolve during the next 8 years?

Envision mobility concepts that include the use of mobile internet services. What could "cloud driving" mean to future urban mobility? Which ecological, economic, and/or social developments might evolve through the synergetic effects of physical and virtual mobility?


You are invited to participate in the OLED lighting design competition issued by Messe Berlin and the magazine "Licht". What can you do with the new OLED technology producing light from organic chemistry embedded in flat panels or flexible films? What are the opportunities and limitations of this technology today? What are future OLED lamps going to look like? What can OLED do that LEDs can't?

Educate yourself about this new technology, visit the Light & Building tradeshow in Frankfurt/Main (optional), be among the winners as we usually are.

Participation in the OLED design competition is limited to participants of the Audi Project.



Winter semester 2011/12

17 Oct 2011 -              
10 Feb 2012

Markus Aemmer / Wu Yan



e2o pic

3D paperTraditionelle Korbboote
in Kerala, Südindien.


Social networks, "share, don't own" – current trends point towards our sharing of mobility ressources instead of owning a passenger car as a status symbol.
What is, however, a suitable design for an electric vehicle made for car sharing?
How will designers bridge the various user scenarios - e.g. the business person with a laptop case vs. a family going on a shopping trip? How to develop a convincing, holistic design for a multitude of diverse scenarios? Which scenarios haven't even been addressed by designers this far?
And what do we have to consider in terms of hygiene, safety, and maintenance?

Our project partner will be the Berlin-based R&D Center of Takata-Petri AG.

Test-drive an electric car? Learn all about electric vehicle technology? Design the future of mobility? This is your chance!

The first project meeting will take place Tuesday 25 October at 10 a.m., Room C3.03.
Project core time: Tuesdays 10 - 13h00.



Petroleum-based plastics and sustainability – an oxymoron!
But is it possible to develop an ultralight and competent sport and leisure water vehicle using sustainable materials exclusively?

For centuries there have been "coracles" (basket boats, woven boats) in various parts of the world. Coracles have never been optimized by designers for purposes other than utilitarian.

In this project you will apply your skill and sensitivity to the design of an advanced, hightech canoe or kayak made from materials such as bamboo or willow. Our project partner is Thomas Backof, a Bavaria-based basket maker offering us an introduction to this craft in the course of a one-week workshop.

The first project meeting will take place Wednesday 26 October at 10 a.m., Room C3.03.
Project core time: Wednesdays 10 - 13h00.


Summer semester 2011

4 Apr - 15 Jul 2011


Thomas Mulsow



e2o pic


3D paper3D-Paper (Lisa Duan)

shelfChinese Shelf (Dorota Kulawik)



Ecological behavior is more often than not a matter of rational thinking. The problem is, most people don't act rationally. If they did, there would be fewer traffic fatalities, less climate change, less garbage; and fewer people would phantasize over their next big car.
Most of our decisions are intuitive, or emotional. To drive a bit faster, buy an iPhone, shop cheap - that's so much fun! And the environment keeps suffering… What can we, the designers, do?
Let us try to analyze the emotional motives that determine our behavior, then let's try to exploit these motives in favor of ecological behavior. Could it be "fun" to conserve energy? Could recycling raise our status? Could we, the designers, positively influence people's attitudes towards electric cars?

Develop an emotion-based product and/or system that really helps our environment - and ourselves! Participants will also consult with Prof. Dr. Wandke, Institute of Psychology, Humboldt University.

Our first project meeting will take place on Tuesday 5 April at 10 a.m., room C3.03. Please register by email, or sign up no later than April 4th (see the designated student tutor for your sign-up list).

Project core time: Tuesdays 10 a.m. - 1 p.m..



There are many ways to enjoy the beautiful nature and water scenery of our region. If you abhore
the noise and pollution caused by motor boats and Jet Skis, you may use ecologically compatible forms of water propulsion, e.g. canoes, sail boats, or water bikes.
However there are people who lack the muscle power or who dislike the complexities of sailing. This is the cause for the overwhelming success currently enjoyed by so-called "pedelecs" or E-bikes on land.
No such thing has been developed for water transportation thus far.

What if you combined muscle power with an auxiliary electric drive? What would a water E-bike
look like, that is easy to transport and to assemble, but nevertheless providing the comfort and practicality that is necessary to truly enjoy a day on the water?

Our first project meeting will take place on Wednesday 6 April at 10 a.m., room C3.03.
Please register by email, or sign up no later than April 4th (see the designated student tutor for
your sign-up list).

Project core time: Wednesdays 10 a.m. - 1 p.m..



In cooperation with our Chinese guest researcher, Prof. Lisa Duan, project participants will experiment with ecologically compatible materials and processes. What is 3D paper? What is being done (and what can you do) with bamboo?
Develop a product of your choice based on any one of the technologies highlighted in this project.

As a "bonus" you will learn about Chinese culture, script, painting, food, and color preferences.

Our first project meeting will take place on Thursday 7 April at 10 a.m., room C3.03.
Please register by email, or sign up no later than April 4th (see the designated student tutor for your sign-up list).

Project core time: Thursdays 10 a.m. - 1 p.m..


Winter semester 2010/11

11 Oct 2010 - 4 Feb '11




The author's own boat and image

Image courtesy of PS Produkties

Image courtesy of Solar Sailor



The author's own image


Material : Wood
Experimenting with novel uses for this sustainable material

This project starts with a three-day introductory workshop in cooperation with a group of students of the wood technology department at University of Applied Sciences in Eberswalde (HNEE). In this workshop you will develop your first ideas for novel and experimental wood objects that you will continue to develop in the course of the semester. The objects are intended for an exhibit about many of the qualities of wood of which the general public is mostly unaware.

In addition to your KHB prof., you will be tutored by research assistant Stefanie Silbermann, ex KHB design student, and her professor, Dr. Ulrich Schwarz. You will have access to the advanced woodshop and research facilities at HNEE.

The first group meeting takes place on Tuesday 12 October at 10h00 in room C3.03. Please register by email no later than October 11th.

Project days will likely be Tuesdays starting at 10h00 sharp.


Solar boat and regatta
Solar ferry for Japan
Sustainable marine transportation

Gain an insight in solar electric marine propulsion technology. Recognize its ecological advantages and emotional (potential) disadvantages. Demonstrate your ability to raise public interest and acceptance by design,

There will be two project alternatives. Decide which one you prefere:

1. Solar boat for purposes such as recreation and nature enjoyment. You will cooperate with your HNEE wood engineering peers, hopefully building a full-scale working unit. Maybe from wood? Additional experts from industry and academia will be available to provide as much know-how as you can absorb. We intend to participate in a solar boat regatta in June '2011.

2. Solar ferry for Japan. Many regions in the world depend on diesel or fuel oil for energy. Instead of further polluting our environment, your boat will travel quietly, elegantly, and in harmony with nature. You will rearch existing ferry concepts (including solar), and you will use your ingenuity to conceive the most attractive solar ferry ever in existence.
This project is a cooperation between KHB and Kobe Design University, Japan. The target area is the Bay of Setonaikai with its many subtropical islands. We will be looking for new uses and sustaineable tourism concepts involving clean (solar electric) transportation.

Participation in the wood workshop is mandatory for the wood project, the solar boat poject, and the development cooperation project. It is optional for the solar ferry project.

The first group meeting will take place on Tuesday 12 October at 13h00 in room C3.03. Please register by email no later than October 11th.

Project days will likely be Mondays and Wednesday starting at 13h00 sharp.


Development Cooperation : Indigenous People of Colombia
Participation in the GTZ program "Between Lecture Hall and Field Work)

This project is about your understanding of different context in which design takes place in some of the poverty-stricken regions of the world. You will learn about their living conditions, their culture, their design. Try to develop ideas for the improvement of their economic conditions. Participate in the program "Between Lecture Hall and Field Work" of the GTZ, Germany's largest NGO.

Your partner will be a design student from Colombia, South America, whose background is in artesan techniques. She will introduce you to the local techniques and materials, and you will be coached by various experts that are active in development cooperation.

Win a six-month internship in any of the over 130 countries in the world where GTZ is active. Registration by email only.


Workshop : Wood and Our Senses
In preparation of your semester project

In the course of this three-day workshop you will explore many of the unusual properties of wood, involving all your senses. The workshop will be tutored by ID graduate Stefanie Silbermann whose diploma thesis focused on the development of an innovative process using the willow tree for a high-tech, high-touch quality prefab product.

You will work in teams with the wood engineering students at HNEE, inlcuding a true tree adventure.

The workshop will take place from October 15 through 17. You are invited to register for a two-night stay at Waldsolarheim Eberswalde. Your cost will be subsidized so you will only pay 15 Euros per each of the two nights. That includes two meals a day. During the day we will work at HNEE, 5 minutes walking distance from your accommodation.

Travel to Eberswalde by train. If you bring your bike, it will only take you five minutes from the Eberswalde train station to the HNEE university.

Register early, or else we can't garantee a bed at the hostel. Deadline for registration: 1 October. Just send me a mail.

The workshop is mandatory for the wood, solar boat, and development cooperation projects; it is optional for the solar ferry project. Participation is limited to the students enrolled in either one of the projects aforementioned.

You will be offered additional credit for the workshop (looking great on your transcript sheets).


Summer semester 2010

6 April - 16 July 2010






Foto: Stefan Dauth


Design competition "Easy Walking"
Dynamic lighting for navigation in public spaces

LEDs are small, energy efficient, durable, and highly flexible in their use.
It is easy to control their color and intensity.

Berlin Fairs and the publication LICHT (Light) are challenging a small number of German design schools to innovate for dynamic lighting. How can your ideas help people to find their way in hospitals, office buildings, senior residences, etc.?

Seven finalists will present their projects at the belektro trade show in Berlin; three winners will walk away with prize money of €1500 (1st), €1000 (2nd), and €500 (3rd).

The first project meeting takes place on Tuesday, 13 April at 10 a.m., room C3.03.
To register please stop by my office (room C3.10), or send an email to

Core project meetings will take place Tuesdays at 10 a.m. (until further notice).


Japan Project: "Saving Lives"
Do airbags and seatbelts harmonize with contemporary car concepts?

Newer cars will come with large sun roofs, and lightweight structures. Steering wheels provide less and less space for sophisticated airbag systems; many drivers dislike seatbelts, and an explosive device (airbag) in front of you always feels scary.

How can designers contribute to a safer car interior while accommodating new developments in car design? How can we, at the same time, increase user acceptance and provide additional functionality?

These are the question we are asked by our project partner, Takata-Petri, a Japanese-German automotive safety research company with testing and R&D facilities located in Berlin.

Depending on sufficient participation, the group will eventually visit Takata and two design schools in Japan as well as our partner universities in Hong Kong and Guangzhou (China) later this year.

The first project meeting takes place on Monday, 12 April at 13h00 (1 p.m.), room C3.03.
To register please stop by my office (room C3.10), or send an email to

Core project meetings will take place Mondays and Wednesdeays at 13h00 (until further notice).


Winter Semester 2009/10

12 Oct 2009 - 5 Feb 2010


This semester I will offer two projects focusing on topics related to professional practise and development cooperation:

Project 1: "Breakfast 4 2"

Two people having a leisurely Sunday breakfast. But who are they? What is their nationality? What are their eating habits? Do we know everything about "The User" to design for them without knowing them? Are all users alike? Not really!

Let's design a Table for Two, but not before studying our users, their eating habits, their living situation. Let's shake our own prejudiced opinions about design and put ourselves into the service of the user. Let's design a table that has not existed before!

In this project there will be an emphasis on design process; you will learn about observation techniques, "personas", and "mood boards". And you will try out innovation techniques and train your ability to present your work professionally.

Tom Ruthenberg will show you how to model, render, and animate in Cinema4D.

Project days: probably Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to ~ p.m.


Project 2: "Low Tech - High Tech"
                         New Perspectives in Development Cooperation

Designers design pretty products for the Wealthy. Right?
The other 80% of the world population, their poverty, starvation, catastrophies, wars, refugees – not a topic for designers? Like, who cares?

Learn about chances and limits of development cooperation, and develop your own concept for develepment by design. Project participants will enter their ideas in the competition ("Between Lecture Hall and Project") of Germany's largest NGO (GTZ).

This project will be accompanied by Ixmucané Aguilar, a young designer from Guatemala. Ixmu was an exchange student at KHB in 2005, and she has been working in development cooperation ever since. Her projects include cooperation with Norway ("Designers without Borders"), Taiwan, and Germany. She will share her knowledge of traditonal Guatemalan techniques and materials.

Project days: probably Tuesdays and Thurssdays from 10 a.m. to ~ p.m.


Summer Semester 2009

1 April - 30 September


Sabbatical Research Project

Every four years or so, a design professor is entitled to a "semester off" (sabbatical). This privilege aims at the necessity for a lecturer to "recharge his / her batteries", that is to develop one's own capabilities, to gain new insights, to structure one's ideas into new projects or lectures, to grow professionally.

I am using this opportunity in order to develop my earlier thoughts about "Animation and Continuity: Principles of Intuitive Interaction" to the next level. This design principle was successfully presented at various conferences and explored in several quite interesting industry-sponsored semester projects.

So what is this about?

If you try to use a contemporary digital product, e.g. an ATM or vending machine, you are entering a "Virtual Digital Universe" consisting of numerous functions and lots of information. The structure of this universe is, typically, the result of a developers' interpretation of existing technologies combined with a range of technical, economical, and mental limitations.
The structure of such a virtual universe is likely to have been modeled after a thirty-year old engineers' understanding of hierarchical structures, programming languages, and existing computer operating systems. It usually has little or nothing to do with a, say, eighty year-old user's understanding of the world.

When one of our recent exchange students from Guatemala, Roberto Mendoza, presented his concept of a touch-screen ticket vending machine to a number of senior users, they all praised its simplicity of use. Except for one detail: when asked to backstep ("undo") from an erroneous input, most of them did not recognize the symbol: a white cross on a circular red background which is only familiar to a Microsoft Windows user.

This is my theory:

If we cannot assume (and we can't!) that cognitive models of younger and older people coincide (and this get worse across cultural, social, or gender gaps), then we shoud look for what I call a Universal Cognitive Model that would be based on a shared knowledge independent of where we come from, how old we are, or what kind of technical backgrounds we have.

So is there something like a universal body of knowledge that everybody understands, that is familiar to any human being, and that allows us intuitively access to all its components?

Of course there is. We all are the result of millions of years of adaptation to the physical universe, the world that surrounds us. Any of its sub-universes – a town, a mountain range, an ocean, outer space – are all more or less accessible to us without use of menus, buttons or displays; nobody ever reads a boring "instruction manual" just to learn how to walk from here to there; all these sub-universes are part of the big physical universe as it is known to us.

There are four questions that are looking for answers:

1. Which are the relevant characteristics of the physical world that enable us to navigate and orient ourselves (e.g. "Continuity": All objects have a singular location, all locations are connected)?

2. Which are the relevant human cognitive qualities that allow us to navigate and orient ourselves intuitively in the physical world (e.g. "Animation": our ability to observe a moving object, interpret its motion, and extrapolate from this its likely future position)?

3. Which are the stimuli that motivate us to act in certain ways (e.g. Endorphins))

4. How to translate these properties into a digital product, that is how to structure a virtual universe so it appears analogous to the physical universe?

It is my goal to demonstrate that this approach will make products easy to use and emotionally satisfying.

After my earlier definition of "Animation" and "Continuity" as principal factors in the design of digital products, I will now proceed to explore the roles of Pattern Recognition and Neurochemistry.

Pattern recognition describes our ability to recognize a friend from a distance, even if we see her from behind, and partially. This ability is an incredible feat that comes to us naturally as a result of evolution. Pattern recognition is also our ability to recognize a friend by his voice, even on the phone and after having talked to him in years. We also recognize the nature of motion as "beautiful" (e.g. ballet) or "horrible" (e.g. Frankenstein).

And then there are certain activities that we love to do and others that we abhore. Why? What makes a product fun to use, and what makes its use a drag? I believe that recent findings from the areas of biochemistry or neurochemistry point at the possibilty that our endogenous reward system ("endorphins") plays a key role in provoking certain behaviors that, if understood and instrumentalized by designers, could lead to an entirely new approach to design. Could we make the purchase of a ticket or a transaction with a bank machine as attractive as the use of an iPhone? And how can we trigger the release of endorphins in humans by design – hopefully in positive ways only. There are plenty of examples that already point in this direction.

One more thing:

Please abandon the notion of industrial design and interface design being separate disciplines that have little or nothing to do with one another. The design of a product's behavior and its visual appearance depend on one another. They are parts of the core competence of an industrial designer. Whether we design a door handle or a mobile phone, there is no way we can do a decent job without recognizing their cognitive and neurochemical impact on a human user. Never trust an entity that tries to teach Interaction Design and industrial Design in separated areas. Never trust a company that conducts the design of a product and its behavior in separated corporate offices. Look at which companies florish and which products flop in the market, and try understand the difference!


Winter Semester 2008/09

13 October 2008             
- 6 February 2009



This Fall I will offer two projects designed for our students to develop design competence in two highly current contexts: 1. design in developing countries, and 2. emotional aesthetics of human-product interaction.

Project 1: "Industrial Design in the Context of a Developing Country"

While designers in the industrialized world spend most of their time shaping the looks of consumer products such as mobile phones, MP3 players and automobiles, an estimated 80% of the world population has no perspective to ever in their lives gain posession of either one of these luxury goods.

Moreover, luxury to most of them would mean a chance to realize their dream of access to
clean water, secure alimentation, basic health care, even housing, and education for their children.

Why, might we say, should that be our problem? Because, if we don't make it our problem now, they will make it, forcibly, ours later. With much less power of influence on our side. Look at the boat people escaping from Africa to Europe at a high personal risk,
only to find some – any – form of employment over here. How high can we build the fence between Mexico and the U.S.? Instead of investing in fences or weapons, we might prefer to invest in ways to bring prosperity to the people in the South. And, in fact, it happens.

You may have learned about the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh whose founder, Muhammad Yunus, was awarded the peace Nobel Prize in 2006. You may have heard about NGOs like the (German) GTZ or the (Norwegian) Designers Without Borders. They all strive to bring forms of economic independence to the needy countries. If we helped people to survive on their own, how much happier would they be if they could stay in their native countries, be with their families and live in their own cultural environment.

The purpose of this project is to give our students an insight into the living circumstances
of selected groups of people in Cuba, Guatemala, and Colombia. Our students will travel to these countries and work with their peers at our partner universities in Havana, Guatemala City, and Manizales. While we do not claim to solve anybody's problems in a fifteen-week student project, the participants will study and analyze certain areas of economic activity in the countries visited, and they will try to propose ideas for the expansion or improvement of a local economic situation. Students will enter their projects in the GTZ-Program "Zwischen Hörsaal und Projekt" offered to students of many disciplines by this NGO.

While the student list is already complete, we accept participants who will not travel, but join the project based on their own interest in this subject. We also need students to set up the project website, feed the blog and help with Skype.

Core project time: probably Mondays and Wednesday 10h00 - 16h00


Project 2: "Product Monsters" (Interaction Design)

Product monsters are those products that terrorize their users by bad behavior. Product monsters jump at you, turn their back on you, disguise their functionality, and leave you in the dark about pretty much everything.

Product monsters are designed by bad people in dark closets who vent their frustration about low salaries, mean bosses, and life in general on you, the user.

Product monsters disguise as normal products. They often look pretty, to attract you and make you use or buy them. But beware! Once they got you, they play their tricks on you.

Product monsters are doors that open the other way, ticket machines that don't work the way you expect them to. Product monsters are toasters that shoot your bread at you with
a noisy, tinny clang. Product monsters are  e v e r y w h e r e !

You aspire to be professional designers in the not-so-far future. Will you perpetuate this kind of bad design? If you agree with me that designers can be smarter than that, then
this project is for you!

Find your own, favorite project monster, analyze it, and develop your own  competence so that you will be able to define the aesthetic criteria for product behavior. Then design the perfect product, looks and behavior!

In the course of this semester project you will learn to generate and animate products in Cinema4D, use sound editing, and learn the basics of product psychology. Let's get rid of product monsters, let's create a new world of product angels!

Form follows Interaction!

Core project time: Tuesdays 10h00 - 16h00 and Wednesdays 14h00 - 16h00


Registration: by 13 October, via e-mail <> or at Ms. Hoppe's office


Summer Semester 2008

1 April - 15 July 2008



A choice of three different projects give you the possibility to strengthen your qualifications in your favorite area, or to explore new venues in design.

Project 1: Design Competition "Personal Lighting "

Three German design schools have been invited to participate in this competition. Begin your project with a visit to the "light & building" trade show in Frankfurt, and exhibit your designs at the "Belektro" trade show in Berlin.

This project is about more than the design of a lamp. Instead you will learn about, explore, and experiment with new technologies and trends, such as dynamic and interactive lighting.

If all goes well, you will interact with engineers of Philips Lighting. And there is some prize money: 3000 Euro (combined).

Core project day: Mondays 10 a.m. (tentative)


Project 2: Ecotourism / Mobile Food Stand

Since border controls or checkpoints no longer exist between Germany and Poland, ecotourism is slowly developing across the Odra river.

Just recently, a new Odra ferry was inaugurated in the vicinity of the village of Güstebieser Loose, not too far from Berlin.

Tourism managers of the region are afraid that ugly objects, such as commercial food stands, will quickly arrive to deteriorate the looks of the area. So they are asking you to design a mobile food stand that is in tune with the concept of a gentle, eco-friendly tourism.

Your project will start with a visit and river crossing; you will be invited to visit an ancient monastery on the Polish side.

Core project day: Tuesdays 10 a.m. (tentative)


Project 3: Academic research cooperation

Several master and doctoral candidates of the Berlin Technical and Humboldt Universities need your design competence!

In our first meeting with them on April 4th, they will present their projects to us. In your discussion you will determine in which of the projects you wish to cooperate.

In your project work you will keep in close touch with your academic partners.

This project is an opportunity for you to learn about new areas of design activity that will look well beyond the horizons of conventional design.

Core project day: Wednesdays 10 a.m. (tentative)


Registration by April 2nd via e-mail ( or with the departamental secretary, Ms. Hoppe.


Winter Semester 2007/08

15 Oct 2007 - 8 Feb 2008


Apple and Nokia demonstrate one truth in design: excellence in user interaction drives sales. A user's sustained emotional response to a product is based on a deeply satisfying product experience. Design follows Interaction?

Project: Interaction Design

Following an introductory presentation and a short warm-up project, student participants will quickly focus on a demanding real-world project: How can designers contribute to the design of a complex high-tech product that is easy to use even for a novice user?

Parallel to the project you will have access to an cognitive psychology expert who will also offer a block seminar on the subject.

The project will be realized in small groups - ideally groups of two. After the introductory phase project groups will decide themselves which projects to pursue inside the given framework.

The project will focus on these issues:

• Harmonious global functional and formal concept
• Emotions: "Touch and Feel"

Human-Computer Interface
• Information representation and navigation
• Simple, intuitive, and safe interaction with complex technology

Our project partner is the R&D department of Claas, a major manufacturer of heavy agricultural equipment. We will visit their corporate headquarters near Bielefeld for a 1.5-day introductory seminar (22/23 October). We will spend several days in Paris, in order to visit the R&D department of Renault Agriculture (8-11 November). We will visit the Agritecnia trade fair in Hannover (13 November).

Project registration deadline: 15 October ( or Ms. Hoppe.


Summer Semester 2007

2 April - 15 July 2007


This semester I will offer two projects; both will challenge your understanding of design as we try to make complex digital products appear simple and pleasurable.


Project 1: USA Project sponsored by Siemens Corporate Research

Topic: Automotive Infotainment

A car driver's attention needs to be dedicated one-hundred percent to the (primary) driving task. Any distraction may lead to an accident with potentially catastrophic consequences for oneself and/or others.

New technologies have greatly advanced the ease, comfort, and safety of driving a car, and mechanical reliability is no longer something to worry about. On the other hand, it has never been easier for engineers to add yet another function to the car or its accessories. Not only are there the standard automotive controls - lights, A/C, etc. - to be taken care of. Beyond that, it is not unusual for today's drivers to simultaneously juggle the controls of a car stereo, an MP3 player, as well as devices for navigation and communication.
All this leads to an increase in cognitive load which - given the increases in engine power, drivers' age, and traffic density - points at a dramatic rise of future traffic desaster.

This project is sponsored by the User Experience Group of Siemens Corporate Research(Princeton, New Jersey). The project will start with a three-day kickoff workshop in Princeton including an introduction into the basics of cognition and attention. Project participants will also visit leading universities and research facilities in various locations in the U.S., in order to enhance their understanding of the issues relevant to the project.

The result of this fifteen-week project will be based on a novel approach to the design of an automotive cockpit that will present a reduced cognitive load to the driver without sacrificing functionality.

While enrolment for the three-week USA-research trip is already closed, we welcome interested (guest) students to join the team, as long as they fell alright doing their reasearch in Germany.

It is mandatory that participants speak both German and English fluently.


Project 2: digitalTOOLSanalog

Topic: Tools for Design in 3D Space

There is no doubt that soon enough there will be stereoscopic displays that are simple and cheap enough for the daily use of designers and engineers. We (they) will develop products looking at fully threedimensional objects seemingly floating in the air before us. This will make the computer mouse obsolete.

What kind of hand tools will we then need, in order to generate and manipulate objects in the process of product creation?

What if we manipulate digital objects directly, analog to our use of the dedicated tools we use in the real world, e.g. in woodworking?

Project participants will develop a set of dedicated (analog) hand tools that bring the beauty and ergonomics of real-world tools to the digital environment. There will be a dedicated tool with which to create an object. Another tool will drill holes. Others will paint a surface, apply a texture, or select a material. But there is added functionality: the object creation tool can be set to generate cubes, cylinders, or spheres...; the drill makes round, or square or triangular holes... This was not possible until now!

Our project will be part of a doctoral thesis developed at the IPK Fraunhofer Institute in Berlin. Our project partners will introduce us to the latest developments in Virtual Reality and Tangible Interface; you will actually get to work with the 3D Cave at the Fraunhofer research facilities; your designs may actually turn into working prototypes.

There are no prerequisites other than a genuine interest in pioneer design work. The project language will be either English or German.

Winter Semester 2006/07

16 October - 17 July 2006


This semester I will offer two projects, one being a more realistic "today" project, the other dealing with advanced issues currently under discussion in the research areas of design.


Project 1: DaimlerChrysler Project

Subject: Lifestyle-based design of an automotive interieur

While traditionally designers get excited when given the opportunity to design a car's exterior ("styling"), they often neglect the effects of the interior design on the driver's safety and well-being. Many automotive interiors ignore the lifestyles and aesthetic preferences expressed through a person's home and product environments. A person's brand identification can easily suffer when one is confronted with an "ugly" interior.

The purpose of this project is to investigate an array of diverse - and possibly extreme - lifestyles and then to attempt a design which satisfies the aesthetic preferences of the chosen user group.

This project is sponsored by the DaimlerChrysler Innovation Lab in Sindelfingen where participants will visit and experience the industry approach to innovation generation and management.


- Lifestyle research
- Design analysis
- Design of a suitable automotive interior


Project 2: "motion - emotion "

Current discussion of issues related to design focus on questions such as emotion and intuitive interface.

Project participants will learn about these issues, and they will subsequently design a product of their own selection. The principal focus will be on motion as a crucial component of product quality perception.

The project includes an introduction to Maxon Cinema4D modeling and animation software as well as an optional advanced electronics course for those with prior electronics knowledge. Participants will be able to model and animate their concepts as well as building a real working model.

Additionally, our discussion will focus on the various design organizations that deal with advanced design issues (e.g. Design and Emotion Society <>),
as well as future fields of activity that designers can embrace facing the many industries that have already abandonded Germany as a consequence of globalization.

Summer semester 2006

3 April - 17 July 2006


This semester I will offer two projects, both of which revolve around the question of meaning in design.

Project 1: "China Design "

In today's global market situation design competence is shifting towards Asia (China, etc.) along with manufacturing. Designers in the Western World have to realize that it would be a catastrophic mistake to believe in their ever-lasting superiority as design service providers.

How should designers in western Europe position themselves? Is there anything we do better than our Asian competitors? What could be a survival strategy?

In this context, student participants will develop design concepts for the Chinese markets. After intensive preparation - including an introductory Chinese-language course - the group will travel to Taiwan and China where the participants will develop their design concepts along with their Chinese counterparts.

The final concepts will be presented at the KHB Open House (July 16/17), along with an explanation of the Chinese symbols and their cultural backgrounds that serve as archetypes.

Registration for this project is already closed.


Project 2: "Meaning in Design "

No design method has influenced our discipline during the past few decades as intensively as what is known as Product Semantics. Ever since Reinhart Butter and Klaus Krippendorff defined this approach in the early eighties, Product Semantics has evolved into becoming the tool of choice for designers who wish to design products that are easy to understand and to use.
In his recent book "The Semantic Turn", Dr. Klaus Krippendorff provides an ample summary of this important design method.

In this project, participants will design a product based on their own cultural backgrounds and symbols thus making an attempt to develop a culture-specific understanding of Product Semantics.

You may register personally on April 3rd, or by email: <>.

4 Oct 2005 - 27 Jan 2006

This semester I will offer two projects: a "real" product and a virtual product.

Project 1: "Oma's Radio"

More and more older people in Western Societies live as widows or widowers all by themselves. Their children and family no longer live nearby, due to global mobility. Some of the older people may feel less lonesome if they can listen to Radio, play their favorite music, or enjoy the taped voices of their distant family members from an audio cassette.

At any case, designers seldom respect the limitations and desires of the older generation.
Can you think of some of their needs and offer solutions?

Our project partner will be Senio, the first internet store catering exclusively to the needs of the elderly. Senio developed the first mobile phone for the elderly, and now it's time for their next product...

The project will focus on the integrative solution of both visual appearance and usability.


Project 2: "Climate Protection: Energy Assistant "

Participants will cooperate with co2online, an energy consulting firm in Berlin. For over 13 years now, co2online has been developing internet-based energy consulting services for individual households and small business, as a contractor for the German Government's Environmental Department.

While this service design project will focus on the internet as a platform, it is much more than the usual web design.

As you may know personally, conserving energy is all too often a difficult business. For many of us, the use of a car for short shopping trips is so convenient, that we tend to block out any environmental concern. And be honest: do you always switch off the lights after you leave a room?

So we will try to develop solutions that make energy conservation fun and easy and show intuitively all the money that you are saving.

Register early by mail (either one of the projects), or sign up on October 4th, the first day of class.

6 - 26 March 2005

"Legendary Design" Project in Asia

Eleven KHB students from Product Design and Fine Arts will travel to Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and China to explore the possibilities of culture based design. German and Asian students will cooperate to research their own cultural heritage for universally known hardware occurring in fairy tales, legends, and folk customs.
Two one-week workshops taking place at our partner universities in Busan, Korea (Dongseo University) and Taipei, Taiwan (National Taipei University of Technology) will generate novel product concepts which convey their functions and their use intuitively. We will try to find out whether this approach could make user manuals superfluous and the products easier to understand. And, of course: Will the designs resulting from this approach be understood across cultures?

A short stay in Hong Kong will round off the project. Students will meet their counterparts at our partner university (Hong Kong Polytechnic University, School of Design), and they will cross the border into mainland China, to visit the Academy of Fine Art in Guangzhou, China.

Fall/Winter 2004/05

Due to my current sabbatical I will not offer any regular projects during this academic session. Please see details about special events on my info page:

If you wish to see what we do or what my sabbatical project is about, please check the projects page.

13 April - 20 July 2004

DaimlerChrysler-Projekt "Transformations / Aesthetics of Motion"

Motion evokes emotion. Whether this emotion is perceived as positive or negative is subject to design. This semester project explores the aesthetic content of motion.

Using the example of a complex car interior, students will analyze and synthesize motional aesthetics for navigation displays, lids, switch panel and other objects yet to be identified in a complex car environment, objects and functions which merit to be hidden and shown depending on context.

Following the initial three-week analysis, participants will develop ideas and concepts to be presented to the project partner during weeks 21 and 25 (intermediate presentations). The final presentation is scheduled for July 20th (to be confirmed).

The project is sponsored by DaimlerChrysler Research, Berlin (Germany).

Participants will also take part in a one-week short project sponsored by SonyMusic Germany.

Additional info:

13 April - 19 July 2004

Guatemala Project (Semester project, Sommer semester 2004)

This project will focus on issues such as sustainability and responsible design. The initial two weeks of the project are dedicated to research on location in Guatemala. German and Guatemalan project participants (Universidad Rafael Landívar) will cooperate to analyze the living and working conditions of the indigenous population living on the shores of Lake Atitlán in Northern Guatemala. Their initial two-week reseach will lead to the identification of a number of semester projects which will be executed subsequently during the remainder of this semester.
Projects may involve handicraft, natural materials, solar energy, and/or water treatment.

A working knowledge of the Spanish language is mandatory.

Those among the German participants whishing to stay longer than the initial two weeks are allowed to do so, as long as they produce presentable results by the end of the Semester. During their stay in Guatemala, Universidad Rafael Landívar will grant them access to their facilities and academic staff. During this time, project discussions and progress reports will be facilitated via video conferencing between Guatemala and Germany.

At this point in time (2 April 04), the participants travelling to Guatemala have been already selected.

Any additional students interested in this project will be able to participate from within Germany, by joining an existing group. Technically interested students are welcome to assist with the internet documentation and/or the video conferencing platform.

More info:

6 - 29 March 2004

Bangladesh Project

Sponsored by the GTZ (German Technical Development Organization), eight senior KHB students from the industrial design, fashion design, and architecture departments will travel to Dhaka, Bangladesh. Cooperating with local companies and their junior designers, the students from Berlin will spend two weeks designing new products at the Design Technology Center in Dhaka, the country's capital located "just South" of Mt. Everest at the confluence of the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers.

In addition to the two-week workshop, the students will spend one week travelling the country by river boat and bus, to visit several of the BRAC Rural Development Centers.

The project language is English.

More info:


Useware 2004 - call for papers

This cross-disciplinary conference is organized by the Center for Man-Machine Interaction (University Darmstadt) and the German Engineering Association VDE. It is particularly relevant for those design students interested in product-human interaction from a scientific point of view.

USEWARE 2004    Darmstadt (Germany)    June 22/23, 2004

Meet and mingle with scientists, learn the current state of interaction design research, and, most importantly, enter your own work. If your paper is accepted, you will have the opportunity to present it at this conference as a lecture or poster.

If you have never written an "abstract" or "paper", get advice here:

13 October 2003

Start "Telekom Project"

Conserving Energy through Telecommunication
Development of product and system concepts


- What is sustainability?
- How can design contribute?
- What is the significance of Rio and Kyoto for designers and corporations?
- What happened in Cancún? (Globalization, Developing countries)
- How can design affect the acceptance of teleworking, videoconferencing, etc.?
- Human-centered vs. technology-centered design
- Integrative design
- Interface and our interaction with technology

Project partner: Deutsche Telekom, Environmental Division

Project ends: 25 February 2004