Tools, Lab and Training

Our main expertise are participatory prototyping processes facilitated by open design, involving stakeholders and commons in the making of their tangible design briefs according to real-life contexts.

Our responsiveness doesn’t stop with co-created hacks. We develop methods & guidelines to transform them into (1) open-ended products, (2) small and flexible production series or (3) if valuable in universal design products.

Our purpose is to share our knowledge and practices on open design and allowing companies, organisations and governments to work together to develop new open technologies, standards and common infrastructures.

Reference: Hummels, C., & Frens, J. (2011). Designing disruptive innovative systems, products and services: RTD process. In Industrial Design-New Frontiers. InTech.


Prosthetic arm toolkit

Designed by Robbe Terryn

The designed kit changes the current design process occupational therapists apply with their amputee patients. Thanks to the kit, a co-creation is encouraged and enhanced, as it allows them to easily prototype, test and iterate different assistive, custom-made tools for the patients. Afterwards, the assembled prototypes can easily be reproduced by an experienced craftsman in a more durable material. The testing kit sustains amputee patients in the search of their custom assistive prosthetic extension, to test what they really need and which tools are really


Designed by Nils Welkenhuysen

The interactive node-kit for toy prototyping. INKY is a re-design of the free universal construction Kit; a set of adapters for complete interoperability between popular construction toys. By allowing any piece to join to any other, the Kit encourages totally new forms of intercourse between otherwise closed systems—enabling radically hybrid constructive play, the creation of previously impossible designs. INKY offers adapters between Lego, K'nex, Mecano , Tyraps and Cardboard.


Designed by Nils Welkenhuysen & Indy Lonnoy

The makercorner is a mobile fablab unit which is build on the framework of responsive prototyping. It entails basic hacking and morphing materials, different adapterkits and connectors enriched with a range of basic intuitive low-end tools. It allows non-designers to easily prototype, test and iterate different design solutions on the spot. The modules are expandable with 3D-printing units and other desktop production machines.


Prototyping expo

Facilitated by Lieven De Couvreur and Katrien De Schepper

Howest students Industrial Product Design (IPO) are challenged within this challenge to embody a user requirement through INKY prototyping. The workshops blends advanced prototyping techniques such as lasercutting and 3D printing with low-end means such as toys, cardboard, and textiles to test designs very quickly. The challenge is to design a meaningful accessory within 3 hours for users of electric bicycles, wheelchairs, rollators and bar handles.

Reciprocity 2018

Facilitated by Lieven De Couvreur, Indy Lonnoy and Katrien De Schepper

What the h#ck? A sugru workshop between Industrial design students of saint-Luc Liége and occupational therapie students of Howest. In a 4 hour challenge the groups hacked a crutch towards the unique needs of a client. The workshop focused on hacking methodology and the capturing process of essential design variables. The end-results were exposed in the sint-maartenskliniek during the Interieur city festival.

Flemish epilepsy liga

Facilitated by Pili Pili with Lieven De Couvreur and Ralph Nafzger

Together with design agency Pili Pili we organised a workshop with Flemish epilepsy Liga. The goal of the workshop was to facilitate participatory prototyping on epileptic seizure detection. A variety of technology was re-appropriated by end-users and discussed through tangible prototyping.


Fragilitas expo

Curated by Katrien De Schepper and Lieven De Couvreur

RECIPROCITY design liège is an international triennale of design and social innovation. Fragilitas is a reflection on the way design can lead us towards a more equitable society. The creativity of design translates challenges into opportunities. D4E1 was one of the curators. More than 60 objects created by, with and for disabled citizins show what hacking is all about.

D' oede doze

Designed with Mentor Vzw

Placing participants in unfamiliar settings or uncomfortable situations heightens their ability to empathise with anyone. This helps build intrinsic motivation for participants wanting to learn more or to serve more. D'oede doze is a empathy toolkit with tangible props which experience the proces of aging. D4E1 conducted co-design proces with healthcare profesionals and re-designed the small serie production of the dementia kit.


Designed by Manu Vollens

Thea swing is product initially co-designed within the D4E1 living lab that gives children with a disability the chance to experience swinging in a safe way, mountable on any classic swing! To swing in a free, safe and comfortable way; that's what the Thea swing stands for. Want to relax on the go than Thea Swing is what you need! Roll it up and take it with you easily, unroll it and any classic swing turns into a relaxing sitting hammock!

Easy Remote

Designed by Felix Hoog and Jellert Devos - with zorggroep Heilig Hart

The Easy Remote is a product initially co-designed within the D4E1 living lab that enables elderly to create structure in their complex remote controls. The products excist of a small vacuum casted shell which is placed on top of the remote. The product is designed parametrically so the production can adapt itself to the variety of remote controlles.