Responsive Prototyping

Our research focus lays on cultivating direct and indirect participatory prototyping. Our research interests are aligned with collective reflective practice and can be structured in 3 main categories.

1. Making prototyping techniques accessible and intuitive for non-designers.

2. Capturing these activities and their tacit understanding.

3. Sharing the information to resonnate with other direct and indirect stakeholders.

Reference: De Couvreur, L. (2016). Adaptation by product hacking, A cybernetic design perspective on the co-construction of Do-It-Yourself assistive technology. TU Delft.


STEM unit

Amy Beaulish - external promotor Maria-Cristina Ciocci - Ignegno

The STEMUnit is designed for the Ingegno Makerspace. It is a modular worktable tailored to children. During the Ingegno STEM workshops, the children learn to work with various hand and power tools. The STEMUnit increases their comfort and independency during these workshops by offering tools and materials per table in an intuitive way linked to templates and methods. The unit also fits easly in a small family van.


Jelle Aarts - external promotor Shane Deconinck - Afrodidact

KUBO X is a frugal innovation project that uses semi open-hardware to introduce ICT in primary schools in Gambia. This project includes the design of a small series housing for a rasberry Pi to develop a digital school platform. In this way, KUBO wants to challenge the EDTECH and ICT4D sectors with affordable, contextually adapted solutions that go beyond the introduction of technology.

Actual P

Janwit Changsura - external promotor Matthias Van De Walle - UZ-Gent

The ACTUAL P is a universal myo-electric training prosthesis for people with a forearm amputation. Myo-electric? With muscle contractions you generate electrical tension to the prosthesis. This is a training prosthesis used in the first stage of the rehabilitation process, while waiting for the final prosthesis. The design is robust and but also light through the pattern. The prosthesis is almost completely 3D-printed and designed to be easily adapted to different patients.


Nils Welkenhuysen - external promotor Matthias Van De Walle - UZ-Gent

Makercorner is an open-design module for hospitals and rehabilitation centers. A place where patients co-design their own tools with occupational therapists . The goal is to make personalised aids for people with a poly trauma, amputation or paralysis. The tool is part of co-design therapy in which patients use creativity techniques to create new possibilities within their limitations.

Makercorner Props & Toolkit

Indy Lonnoy - external promotor Matthias Van De Walle - UZ-Gent/Howest

This makercorner edition is approriated foroccupational therapists who want to rethink, create and document tailor-made DIY-AT tools with their clients. The module contains step-by-step plans, materials, tools and sources of inspiration in order to achieve creative and qualitative results

Tactile modelling

Matthias van Meerbeek - external promotor Luc Vanackere - Castle of Gaasbeek

The main goal of the project was to provide intuitive orientation towards visually impaired visitors of the casle. Contemporary "tactil models" are usually made in bronze which are very expensive and have a time-consuming production. That is why 3D-printing is researched togehter with blind and visually impaired users as an alternative production process. The endresult is a new protocol and texture mapping spectrum to make detailed tactile models in a durable and intuitive manner.

Oruro Makerbox

Clair Dewulf - external promotor Narel Gómez - Handicap & Inclusion Bolivia

The Oruro Makerbox was designed with the aim of facilitating the co-creation process between the occupational therapist and the patient in rehabilitation centers in the department of Oruro. By offering the necessary infrastructure, we can facilitate local DIY-AT activities in rural area's. The box is part of a local appropriate version of the makercorner.


TETRA Makerhealth

Facilitating frugal innovation with and for healthcare profesionals.

The general objective of this project is to make frugal innovation accessible with and for healthcare organizations through medical fablab techniques. Within the project we focus on 'low tech high impact' healthcare innovations coming from health care professionals. The innovation chain within this project consists of medical fablabs in healthcare organizations (hospitals, elderly care and multifunctional centers), industrial design agencies and the social economy with its tailor-made companies.

PWO MakeAbility

Cultivating Do It Yourself – Assistive Technology Collectives

The demand for personalized Assistive technology is greater than the supply that we can process in HOWEST. The ambition of the project team is to enable self-organizing co-design processes between (1) citizens with disabilities, (2) external creators connected to local fablabs and (3) occupational therapists from the professional field, independent of the academic calendar and our students. Within this project we want to investigate how a digital platform and the right co-design tools can stimulate collective creativity.

VLIR-UOS Bolivia D4E1

Cultivating open-design through community service-learning.

Assistive technology (AT) enables people to live healthy, productive, independent, and dignified lives. Current AT in Bolivia is developed from a “top-down” and industrial engineering perspective. With this technology people with disability can participate in education, the labor market and civic life. Paradoxically, several studies on the field report high rates of rejection and abandonment. Some of the reasons pointed out as responsible for these phenomena are lack of overall fitness, high costs and experiencing high barriers while procuring the device. A more “bottom-up” and user-centered approach is DIY-AT. Within this project we aim to implement a community-service learning program bringing together industrial engineers, occupational therapist and rehabilitation centers. It includes a multidisciplinary approach on how to implement open-design principles within real-life rehabilitation & inclusion contexts.