Empathic Engineers is a 3-year project for better technology development
We are surrounded and affected by technology and we are facing an extensively automatized future. We often forget that people develop these technologies for other people. Thus, it is important that the developers of future technology understand humans, users and the society the technology impacts. Thus, it is important to train “empathic engineers”.
In order to be able to do this, we need to identify what exactly is relevant empathy in product development since it is currently conceptualized differently in brain research, psychology and design. In this project we aim to establish solid empathy measurement techniques using our expertise from brain research, wearable sensors and psychology.
Once we can measure empathy we can help develop ways to increase empathy during the product development process and study if increased empathy also leads to empathic action. That is, help product developers better understand the users and where technology is used and enable them to use this understanding in the designing new technology.
We collaborate with technology firms such as KONE corporation and GE Healthcare, in the project. They have expressed interest in understanding what empathy is beyond the buzzword today and especially how to communicate and transfer empathy during a complex product development project. Their involvement is essential in keeping the project grounded in the everyday realities of product development as well as applicability and adoption of the results at the end.
Our team consists of experts in product development, brain research and psychology, all essential co-dependent areas of expertise needed for this project. Through this joint effort of Aalto University Design Factory, the Department of Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering and the Department of Computer Science we aim at setting the empirical bases for the education of future empathic humane-decision-making engineers.