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MEET THE EMPATHIC ENGINEERING TEAM

Rarely (if ever) big endeavors are achieved in solitude. This premise fully embodies the nature of our collaboration. In this post, we want to introduce ourselves to all of our readers. We want to show who we are, what do we bring into the project and why were we interested in being part of it.


Katja Hölttä-Otto


What is your background?

I am a professor of product development. I am a mechanical engineer by training. I have worked and done research in between disciplines a lot, including between mechanical engineering, and industrial design; and mechanical engineering and psychology.

What is your role in this project?

I am sort of the mother of the project. I initiated the project and am responsible for the product and technology development side of the project as well as the integration efforts with the other experts and industry.

Why were you interested in being part of this project?

I have always felt understanding humans is the most difficult part of successful product development. I met Mikko Sams via the Experience Platform and got excited how we can use his team’s expertise to help understand problems in my field.


Mikko Sams


What is your background?

I made my MA and PhD in experimental psychology, having a minor in physiology. I do not have any strong discipline identity, I am interested in understanding human behaviour, especially its social aspects. Or actually I have identity, I am a measurer.

What is your role in this project?

I am responsible of neuroscience and (social-)psychological aspects of our research. I have done basic research most of my science career, I am very excited in finding out how the methods we are using can be used in better understanding interactions in design.

Why were you interested in being part of this project?

We happened to meet with Katja and started to discuss. This is always the best way to come up with something new.


Alvaro Chang


What is your background?

I am a PhD candidate coming from quite a mixed background of psychology, music and music psychology. Now, I am adding design to the list.

What is your role in this project?

I am responsible of finding a common language between design, psychology and neuroscience. I am attempting to achieve this by planning and executing empirical studies as well as analyzing, reporting and publishing results.

What is your role in this project?

I had no idea what empathy in design meant, so that was in itself a great motivation to jump into this Olympic pool.


Jussi Alho


What is your background?

My background is in engineering. I have master’s degree from the former Helsinki University of Technology with a major in cognitive technology, and doctorate in systems neuroscience from Aalto University.

What is your role in this project?

My role in the project is primarily in brain imaging, including fMRI experiment design, data collection and analysis. I will also provide methodological support to other members of the team.

Why were you interested in being part of this project?

I embrace interdisciplinarity. When I heard about this project from Mikko Sams, I saw an opportunity to use my know-how as part of an interdisciplinary team of experts to solve an existing problem in product development.


Matias Piispanen


What is your background?

I am finishing my master’s degree in Human Neuroscience and Technology at Aalto University. I am especially interested in emotions and social cognition.

What is your role in this project?

I am involved in experiment planning, data collection, analysis and interpretation. I will complete my master’s thesis and continue to doctoral studies in this project.

Why were you interested in being part of this project?

I am interested in how we can understand and quantify a complex construct called empathy and how this can contribute to human-centered design and ultimately help us build a more caring society. Especially interesting is how not only cognition, but also physiology has important role in social understanding and interaction.


Veli-Matti Saarinen


What is your background?

I have an engineering background, graduated from the former Helsinki University of Technology in Automation and System Technology.

What is your role in this project?

I’m currently a research engineer in Aalto Behavioral Laboratory (part of Aalto NeuroImaging infrastructure), where the behavioral measurements are conducted. My work has been on the technical aspects of the experimental setup.

Why were you interested in being part of this project?

I’m always interested on using my problem solving skills to make challenging and complex setups, like this, into reality.


Our team also includes other highly skilled scientists such as post doctoral-researcher Tommi Himberg and post-doctoral researcher Janne Kautonen. Tommi supports us with his command of portable physiological measuring equipment and solid experience in data processing. Janne participated in the planification of the future brain study section of our research.

We hope this post gave you an idea of who we are, what do we bring into the project and why were we interested to take part of it. Stay tuned for future updates!

DF ResearcherMEET THE EMPATHIC ENGINEERING TEAM
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