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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/N005945/1
Title: Ubiquitous Computing Enabled Design
Principal Investigator: Sheldrick, Dr L
Other Investigators:
Flintham, Dr M Rahimifard, Professor S Fischer, Dr J
Rodden, Professor T
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Design Engineering (Dyson School)
Organisation: Imperial College London
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 01 February 2016 Ends: 31 July 2017 Value (£): 295,395
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
29 Apr 2015 Design the Future Interviews Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
This project explores novel, intelligent models of design engineering processes that utilise real-time sensor based information and Ubiquitous Computing (ubicomp) technologies to promote stakeholder collaboration, and embed life cycle knowledge throughout sustainable engineering design processes. With this initial step our vision is to explore the future possibilities for harnessing emerging technologies through this research, to empower designers to be more responsive to changing environmental, economic and social demands, and ultimately develop more 'meaningful' products. This multi-disciplinary project will therefore bring together researchers in sustainable design engineering and interactive technologies, to propose new Ubicomp Enabled Design (UED) process archetypes and design tools, which will encourage holistic development of intelligent, sustainable patterns of production and consumption.

Design is a key enabler for innovation and sustainability, and has been widely shown to not only improve creativity, revenue, and competitiveness but also to strategically boosting the skills and knowledge of a company. Engineering design processes however are becoming increasingly complex, as designers have to juggle consideration of a rising number of factors throughout design, such as technical factors (e.g. incorporating new materials and technologies), economic factors (e.g. driving down product costs) environmental factors (e.g. reducing resource demand) and social factors (e.g. increasing usability and customisation). It is therefore critical to help support designers to make smarter and more informed decisions, and as such, a large amount of research effort has been directed at developing methods to support engineering. This has included frameworks for knowledge management, novel computer aided design approaches, and a wide variety of dedicated design tools and methods. In this context, this research proposes that recent socio-technological advances (driven by emerging areas such as big data and internet of things), present a unique and unprecedented opportunity to help support design engineering - to find new ways to help get the right information, in front of the right people, at the right time.

This research therefore seeks to understand how ubicomp technologies can be harnessed within the design process to enable more informed, more responsive, and more effective engineering design. The principle outcomes of this crosscutting feasibility project will be a series of holistic reference models for UED processes, and the definition of a future programme of research in this area towards incorporating socio-technological advances into engineering design.

To achieve this, the project will bring together expertise in sustainable design engineering from Loughborough University and in interactive technologies from the University of Nottingham. The design process models developed in this research will be showcased and demonstrated through a series of 'design and manufacturing futures' - or scenarios that will illustrate possible futures for different consumer products in three sectors of Personal Care, Drug Delivery, and Internet-of-Things Enabled Devices. These scenarios will be supported by technology demonstrators (prototype cloud enabled products), and design toolkits (conceptual engineering decision support tools) that will be developed to show how UED processes could be applied in practice. These scenarios will target to demonstrate the potential of UED in these diverse and prominent sectors of UK manufacturing - from both the business and consumer point of view.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.imperial.ac.uk