Future Futurist

Design, Photography & Film

This portfolio

In short

I’ve made this portfolio first and foremost as a showcase of my work in Design. In addition, this portfolio also functions as a report of my personal development in different expertise areas that can be assessed by coaches from my study Industrial Design at the TU/e.

Vision

A future without technology seems, at this point in time, very unlikely. Even more, the continuous progress of implementing emergent technology in our everyday lives will presumably be just as rapid and normal as we experience today. Society will move forward through this thrust in innovation, but likewise discussions about the impact of emergent technology will be a result. I think it is the job of the designer to translate the complexity of these (sometimes still invisible) debates towards an influential set of decisions from which aesthetical elements can be given shape. Shape in qualities of form, interaction, but also becoming more and more important: aesthetics of intelligence as an increasing amount of devices is becoming ‘smart’[4].

The development of media such as augmented reality, especially made more accessible by consumer tech giants [1,2], will create new possibilities for the world’s interweavement with the digital environment. Not only will this allow for products to be even more independent from their physical embodiment, but it will spark possibilities where aesthetic, personal and (close to) life like experiences can be summoned in every situation of our everyday life.

Simultaneously, our everyday shall move away from the world of mainly screens and attention seeking devices, therefore rather leave room for technology to move more to the periphery. By shifting dynamically across the interaction attention continuum [3], this balance can be carefully designed. All with the goal to not distract people from their own values and the beauty of life to make technology practically invisible [5].

Identity

Curiosity is what drives me in this world of endless discovery, learning and truth-seeking. As a ‘thinker’ I try to see the bigger picture, while using the endless possibilities of imagination to conceptually explore my field of interest: emergent technology and its influence on the world. With a foundation of academic research and exploration, I seek to explore the way we should interact and experience intelligent products, extrapolated on the trends of the state of the art of the industry today.

In my skillset, I try to combine the power of design with the strengths of multi medial prototyping and storytelling. From my passion found in the audio-visual world, I am able to build worlds and immerse people in possible scenarios. Important here to me is to have not only the focus on the visual, but to cover dimensions such as sound and touch too. In the created these (speculative) scenarios I propose concepts to evaluate their place in the future, or ask relevant questions through design fiction.

 

Whenever my design process is executed in teams, I desire to take the role of transformational leader. There, I aim for a visionary image of the design goal in a larger context, while making sure personal development and enjoyment of the members is kept just as important. All while aiming for the creation of value in an intrapreneurial context. A proactive approach characterizes the development of my work, in a calm but structured manner.

 

[1] Apple Glasses: VR and AR Are Coming. MacRumors. (2021, January 5). https://www.macrumors.com/roundup/apple-glass­es/


[2] Google ziet toekomst in AR-bril: Google Glass 2 aangekon­digd. RTL Nieuws. (2019, May 20). https://www.rtlnieuws.nl/tech/artikel/4719196/google-ziet-toekomst-

[3] Bakker, S., & Niemantsverdriet, K. (2016). The interaction-at­tention continuum : considering various levels of human atten­tion in interaction design. International Journal of Design.


[4] Wensveen, S. A. G. (2018). Constructive design research. Technische Universiteit Eindhoven.


[5] Zhuo, J. (2015, May 12). The Future of Design in Technology. Medium. https://medium.com/the-year-of-the-looking-glass/the-future-ofdesign-in-technology-fe1697e5826.

Extra curriculair activities

More than university?

Life doesn’t end at the border of campus, neither do the challenges that I like to tackle in my spare time. These are my two biggest projects where I spend most time on, although there is of course always more happening!

De Filmstudio is a film and photography company I started with a friend of mine. At the time of writing, we have been working under this name for over 2 years, but the company itself was founded over 3 and a half years ago. We strive to create creative content in areas that are often less interesting at first sight. Clients that we work for are mainly connected to the university. However, we are expending our client group slowly to other regions. From these experiences I have improved my vision on business, by creating products that fits the client’s needs. I have learnt to better understand and communicate with clients, making creative processes more smooth and effective. Visit defilm.studio for more information.

UNID is a committee of study association Lucid from Industrial Design that makes a magazine twice  a year. The magazine is about Design and everything that surrounds it. For this committee I have been a media member for almost four years. As a media member, I make photos for the articles where I collaborate with other members that write and design the pages. I make photos for around four articles every issue and visit many inspiring experts for interviews and photoshoots.  For almost 2 years I have been chief Media or Chief Visuals. That means I coach all media and graphics members and am end-responsible for all photos, videos, illustrations and podcasts. For more information about the UNID magazine, visit unid-magazine.nl, the website I helped to build, together with a team.

Present

Final Master Project & Growth

Camera_Trans

des-Fi

Throughout my masters I have developed an ambition to become a futurist. A futurist is ‘someone who assesses the future and sells this assessment in a more or less packaged form’ [9]. The product of value here is the assessment, based on meaningful research and expertise. That is unfortunately something I have not built up enough yet as almost graduate, to have enough credibility as a futurist. I would therefore like to share my ambition and make use of this project to build the next steps towards my future.

During my final master project, I combined my passion for filmmaking with that of design, to propose new concepts of the future in emergent technology. Using a case study about ‘The future of augmented reality in the smart home’ I developed a methodology to develop these new concepts. Through a basis in literature and industry expert input, I was able to create multiple worldbuilding experiences and prototypes using different kinds of media such as film, AR, VR and written articles. The created world allowed for a reflecting on the potential of the expertise of the client. From this, an iterative rapid prototyping processed developed multiple directions for the client to explore. Through the use of rapid video prototyping, a very visual set of content was made to easily reflect on. After the final iteration of each of the three concept directions a final ‘High production value’ set of videos was created to function as a communicative medium. In addition to the final set of videos, which showcased a story driven scenario and context, is a set of physical prototypes that highlighted a component of the three concept directions. The combination of the two types of ‘deliverables’ allows for a guided discussion and rich experience of a proposed future of a certain technology for the client.

Watch all videos

on des-fi.com

Competency development & Integration

Creativity & Aesthetics

‘Aesthetics’ has many different definitions and dimensions, like for example sound in ‘Sound of Smart Things‘ and touch in ‘Data in Co-creation‘. We have seen the transition from the aesthetic of shape, towards the aesthetic of interaction in the last decades. The latest addition to these two perspectives is the aesthetics of intelligence, which I explored in projects like my M1.2 Research project, RAIA, mAIra and Iden. There, I have grown to apply the creative potential of design to explore speculative and experienceable qualities of in this case AI. This perspective on design has shaped my professional identity and created the foundation of my FMP. The earlier mentioned aesthetics of shape and interaction also found their place in my project. The final videos for example, incorporated modeled system of sound designs. Furthermore, all worldbuilding experience that used the HoloLens explored different fields of interactions ranging from voice to, gesture and gaze to location based interactions.

Technology & Realization

In this expertise area, the view of the technical expert allows the mental model of an idea to become alive. This can simply put be the creation of prototypes using electronics, applications or any other form of realization. Examples here are the creation of internet connected prototypes with sensors and actuators, that I made for Lila, or completely virtual online multi-user experiences in Unity3D for mAIra. Both approaches came back in my FMP. Take for example the VR, AR and phone-app experiences which were all created in Unity3D, using the knowledge I gained in my masters. Furthermore, over the course of my masters I have gained many different (tech) prototyping techniques in this section, allowing me to create multi-medial experiences using different forms of technology, ranging from Raspberry Pis till using LeapMotions both in my FMP, or reading and communicating with experts about gerber-files for custom PCBs during my project at a company.

Business & Entrepreneurship

At the center of this perspective on design, is the creation of value. There are two sides to the development in this area of expertise, as the name suggests: business and entrepreneurship. In my track-course ‘Design Leadership and Entrepreneurship‘, I was made aware of the different facets of the entrepreneurial space. On the side of leadership, I have been a chief in the UNID guiding and coaching members in the ‘Visuals’ team to create beautiful magazine articles and assist them in their personal development. Furthermore, I learnt about company, leadership and profit structures during my project at a company, which helped me shape the business side of my FMP. In there, I set up parts of a business plan and validated with experts to end with a business model canvas and a website as primary customer channel.

User & Society

When incorporating the user into a design or research process, like during ‘Data in Co-creation‘ where an artifact was created to gather information from users, or simply as a way of validating a design such as in ‘Lila‘, the goal is to shape the user experience. Through understanding the needs and requirements of the user, a design can be more carefully guided towards a better potential. In a broader sense, understanding the needs of a collective or group allows for reflection on societal problems and challenges for future design, like we did with ‘Iden‘. As the ‘user’ of my performed methodology would be a client, I shaped my deliverables and workflow to be optimized for the user’s experience. To give an example, the showcase at midterm demo day proved to be an effective way to experience proposed concepts. Together with expert input, I therefore decided to adapt my final deliverables to incorporate a more experienceable side next to the set of videos.

Math, Data & Computing

This area of expertise is applicable to a broad set of applications, but in general refers to understanding and applying data, or processing aspects. Within my masters, this was either directly programmed, like in ‘Raia‘, conceptually explored like in ‘Iden‘ or applied as qualitative user data processing in my M12 research project. The power of data, in my perspective, the starting with the applicational potential, like for example different forms of AI in a context of education or generative models, and exploring through other areas what change it could bring to a context. Implemented into my FMP, there is the experience prototype that was made proof the feasibility of the ‘Social AR’ video concept. There, I used cloud solutions to proof through the use of online-stored spatial anchors the potential of allowing for cross platform use of AR.

Design & Research processes

The design and research processes mindset is the iterative and reflective process of generating knowledge or a product/experience. Through the gathering of information such as scientific literature, expert input or for example probing for user input allows for a great setup to build upon. A research through design approach, as done at my M1.2 research, Data in Co-creation, or for example mAIra. In my FMP a majority of the foundation was based on literature and expert input. Therefore, iterative steps were incorporated into the process and had many opportunities for reflecting.

Professional skills

There hasn’t been a moment in my studies that I did not work on my professional skills. Where I in the beginning of my masters focused a lot on improving my presentation skills, have I always worked on my collaboration skills and the way of dealing with scientific information. Also in my FMP I have worked on new way of presenting my work, with weekly presentations with slides for example. I have continuously worked on my online portfolio to be able to contact potential employers early on and communicate more professionally with experts in my process.

What I learnt this semester

At the end of my bachelor I had an idea of what kind of designer I liked to become. I had selected C&A and T&A as my primary expertise areas and aimed to support future processes with more scientific foundations, after receiving feedback about my weaknesses in my FBP. This resulted in the beginning of my masters to an increased emphasis on the importance of literature research and more ‘scientific’ perspectives on progress. Further in my masters I was able to combine this more ‘concrete result’ focused approach with my passion for film making, bringing me to vision and identity that I currently have.

Looking back at the past semester in particular, a lot of different paths came together. The primary path here, is what I have been talking about a couple of times already: combining film with design. Where film had only a more communicative function in my M1.2 Research semester, I was now able to showcase and test the diverse set of applications of the medium. Film was used to create worldbuilding scenarios on a mid-fidelity level, or rapid video prototypes on low-fidelity in addition to the communicative high-fidelity videos at the end. Through creating these different types of videos, I was able to specify the requirements for each type. Skill-wise I have grown in the implementation of 3D assets as visual effects in the videos. Furthermore, I switched my editing software, witch allowed me to spend more attention on sound design and refined sound transitions and edits, for a higher production value. On a more abstract level I have adapted my filmmaking skillset to be connected with design fiction, which I have come to shape as a tool for speculative discussion topics, or this this case as explorative tool for emergent technologies. The diverse impact of film allowed me to generate new ideas and allowed for meaningful discussion with experts.

What I have come to use frequently the last semester was expert input. Previously I have found it tough to ask the right questions to the expert to gather the information that I needed. Especially making the conversation go organically, while keeping it all within the given timeframe was difficult. I have however learnt, through experience, to adapt my questions beforehand to exactly fit the scope of the expert, after I had done some background research. The evaluation with experts later in my process also taught me about  the value of expert’s input, related to their background. 

Another important part of my process was prototyping different experiences during and at the end of my process. To be able to prototype for VR and AR I had to quickly teach myself how to prototype and use specific elements of relatively new software. This taught me a mindset to quickly adapt and learn to create meaningful experiences in new contexts. Specifically, I specifically shaped the prototypes to fit the right ‘conversation’ that has to be had with an expert or client to highlight the right area of expertise. 

A relevant lesson was also to see the difference between the academic vision and that of the industry. In my discussion with a design fiction expert, it became apparent that the idea of a ‘methodology’ is great within a research context where results have to be carefully crafted and every step should be repeatable and understandable for everyone. In reality, according to him, processes use these as merely a guideline and are often just the process of the artist following its instinct. I feel that my approach that I propose is a great middle way, where the methodology has a great communicative value to clients and allow for dynamic approaches depending on the client. 

All in all, I am proud of the outcome of my project and happy with all feedback I have received. My masters with its courses and projects came together, as best as I could, to be able to execute my last project at the department. The combination of my passions has finally taken a concrete shape and are a great setup for the rest of my career. 

Future

What's next?

My final master project has preluded my directions for the steps after my graduation. The methodology I developed there is a backbone for my ambition to become a futurist. This profession is rather unknown to many, or vague at the very least. Finding a direct path to become when is therefore not the easiest. Even the definition of what a futurist could be is not completely set in stone. I use the definition ‘someone who assesses the future and sells this assessment in a more or less  packaged form’ [9]. As my ‘packaged form’ is developed through my FMP as a combination of multi-media prototypes, I will focus on another important aspect of becoming a futurist. A futurist namely has to have large set of experience and knowledge to make more accurate predictions of the future and gain credibility. All of these aspects can be gained through experience in ‘the field’ by doing assignments and working in the industry.

It is therefore my goal after my graduation to take part in that ‘field’. This means I aim to work as designer in companies that contribute towards innovations in technology. This can reach from the more research focused (e.g. TNO) to a more commercial product development context (e.g. Signify). The general premise of this part of my career path is to get a better feeling of technological development and broadening of my network within technology. However, at the beginning of my career adventure, I like to focus on the development of my consulting skills. As a futurist, the goal is to provide the best fitting and most useful advice for a client, which I am currently not feeling too confident about. I therefore feel that a career in design and technology consultancy allows me to grow in composing fitting proposals to clients and gain general credibility in providing future insights professionally.

While a focus on a career in design is very valuable, I do not want to lose my ambitions around filmmaking. Previous project in my masters have proven the potential of combining the realm of media with design, which I still aim to combine in the years to come. I therefore aim to continue with the movement I have set up with des-fi. Concretely speaking, I will be doing film related projects around future or speculative concepts as a project at the side. My primary job in the earlier mentioned ‘field’ will have to leave room (one day a week, for example) to do my film projects as a second flow of income, but mainly as a passion project. In the beginning, I will slowly expand my current film company towards the service that I propose in des-fi, resolve al its limitations and imperfections and prepare for assignments from the industry.  

At the time of writing, I am still working on early steps in my path to employment. In the past period of time, I have applied to vacancies and have gained experience through job interviews. For now, I continue to do so and aim to find a fitting job to kickstart my career. Whichever precise direction I will take, or opportunity I will find, I am confident and more than enthusiastic about the future that is to come.

[9] Cramer, T. L. (2020). Becoming Futurists: Reluctant professionals searching for common ground.
Maastricht University. https://doi.org/10.26481/dis.20200520tc

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