The Human in Technology

Humans are crucial for all aspects of technology. They invent, design, and use, and their daily life is heavily influenced by technology. Therefore, engineers should have knowledge of human behavior, and be able to apply this knowledge in their daily practice.

This USE course sequence combines insights from research in cognition, decision theory, (environmental and social) psychology, and sociology to give future engineers a thorough introduction to the way in which humans think and make decisions, respond to artifacts, deal with typical flaws and prejudices, and in general find their way in dealing with technology. These insights are used for understanding: [1] the crucial characteristics of users; [2] the interaction of users with their social context, and [3] on how the peculiarities of technological systems affect and interact with the user. To complete the USE sequence, this understanding is applied in research projects that are part of the collaboration of the Human-Technology Interaction-group with other faculties, companies, and institutions.

Exploration

The Human in Technology Exploratory Course reveals key insights into the human psyche and how these affect the design, use, and adoption of technology. It introduces the most important topics and concepts related to human behavior by means of a number of famous and illustrative behavioral experiments. In addition, students will be introduced to methods for empathizing with users, and they will work in groups on a small case study to familiarize themselves with those methods. The course contains guest lectures by professionals in the field who will share their experiences on the crucial role of these insights in the innovation process within companies.

Specialization

This USE sequence has two specialized courses:

The Human in Technology Specialized Course (all students, except PT)

This course presents insights about the basic principles and theories of psychology and sociology and how they can be applied to problems of technology design, diffusion, and usage. It covers the perspectives of the user and society in the USE course sequence. The course lectures will be accompanied by exercises that deepen and extend the insights by applying them to concrete problems of technology design, diffusion, and usage.

User Experience for Intelligent Systems (all students)

This course focuses on the user experience for intelligent systems. It considers intelligent systems in different application domains, goes into the technology enabling artificial intelligence, and discusses issues associated with the use of such systems. In particular, the fact that such systems are not reactive but may act on their own behalf raises a number of interesting questions and challenges. Topics to be discussed include mental models, human and machine intelligence, control, adaptivity, embodied interaction and media as social actors.

Application

The final part of the USE sequence engages students in (small) projects that are part of the ongoing research collaboration of the Human Technology Interaction group with researchers from other faculties, or with researchers from research departments of companies and institutions.

Key to all projects is the combination of knowledge about humans and human behavior with actual technology. Diagnosing skin cancer is an example of such a project. Typically, projects are either research-based or design-based. In a research-based project, students carry out (a large part of) the research cycle. In design-based projects, students assist in or actually design (parts of) a product or service.

Started the Bachelor College in 2014 or later? As part of your USE Learning Trajectory, you must participate in 5 Studium Generale activities marked with the EC logo. Important: You can start participating in these activities as soon as you enroll at TU/e.