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I am Marien

I like to make things work

 

Vision on Design

I see design as a process necessary for creation. There is nothing I enjoy more than the act of creation, the act of bringing an abstract concept to life and see how it fares in the real world. At the center of this is a thorough understanding of the user. My specialty lies in the design of concepts and prototyping them with electronics and software in order to bring them to life in such a way that the interaction that was designed can be tested with real users. My main focal point as a designer is the interaction between people and 'smart' products. I want to create a future in which we not only get used to and adapt our routines to the devices around us; I want the devices to get used to us and adapt to us as well.

 

Projects

To me, a project consists of three main parts: the interaction, the electronics that drive it and the design that unites the two. To illustrate my skills in these areas, I have selected (parts of) three projects that had their main focus point on one of these three topics. This is of course only a small excerpt of the projects I have worked on and skills I have aqcuired during my study as an Industrial Design Engineer, but I feel these three have had the largest influence on who I have become as a designer.

 

Interaction: Project Jin

During this project I have explored the interactions between students and their fridges during their morning routine. I found that their state of mind was dominated by stress and grogginess; something that could be altered by including a morning exercise in their ritual. It was my intention to change the interaction in such a way that it would resemble the conscious choice of music one makes when listening to a vinyl record as opposed to the relative "thoughtlessness" of listening to an mp3 instead. The resulting concept included a lock that could only be opened by performing simple but precise T'ai Chi-like motions. During the final user test with the -fully responsive- prototype (seen in the background of this page) the participants were astonished by the effect this could have on their morning mood.

This project took place in September 2013.

 

Electronics: Quadcopter for Mechatronics

For the course Mechatronics (a link between mechanics and electronics) I have, together with a team of other students, designed, built and programmed a quadcopter (an electronic helicopter with four rotors) that can autonomously take off, stabilise itself while in the air, and land. This was purely an exercise in technology; there was, unlike the other two listed projects, no user component to the design. I have included it, however, since this is the toughest project I have worked on software-wise; programming the Arduino Uno that operates the quadcopter was a very delicate affair, since it had to read the sensors at precisely timed intervals and operate the four motors at the same time.

This project took place in March 2013.

Project team: Daniel van Drunen, Rianne Laan, Bart van de Werf, Marien Wolthuis

 

Design: Giorgio the musical robot

As a part of my graduation project on using emotion to enhance the interaction between humans and robots, I have developed Giorgio. Giorgio serves a unique need for modern musicians: they cannot operate the laptop they use on stage whilst playing their instruments. Giorgio can respond to the movements of the musicians and adjust for instance the tempo in Ableton Live accordingly, while providing feedback with his own body language. He was iteratively developed together with a band, who have tested him both on- and offstage. Interacting with Giorgio can be done in the same manner as with a human drummer: after establishing eye contact, quick body movements tell him to speed up while slow movements tell him to slow the beat down.

His movements were designed to create the illusion of an intelligent entity, which helped the band members and the audience see him as an active and participating member of the band. This was done to make the interaction feel natural and clarify his role in the band; from the gathered responses it was clear that this worked rather well.

This project took place in 2016.

 

Background

Originally I am from a small village on the Dutch countryside. After completing my high school in the city of Groningen, I moved to Delft to study there.

I have graduated from the Bachelor programme of Industrial Design Engineering at the Technical University of Delft in 2012 with a minor in "Software Design and Application". In 2016 I graduated from the Master programme "Design for Interaction", focusing on the interaction between people and (intelligent) products. Next to this I have joined and successfully completed a project for the Océ Development Camp, and worked as an intern at Innovation Booster. Due to my extensive work in my Bachelor with the Arduino platform, I have also worked as a student assistent at my faculty, giving workshops that teach second-year students how to use electronics and Arduino boards for their projects.

I am fluent in Dutch, English and German, and have during the course of my studies become proficient in (graphical) design using Adobe products and have become proficient at using C, PHP, HTML, CSS, Java, JavaScript and mySQL.

Next to my studies I am an avid windsurfer and have been introducing new members of my surfing society to Delft, the Dutch student life, and to windsurfing in general in the past years. I have also worked at and managed the bar for a local discotheque for several years during my Bachelor studies.

Contact

You can contact me by e-mail at marien@marienwolthuis.nl.

Examples of code (co-)written by me can be found on my GitHub:
https://github.com/dotcid.