Assistant Professor of Physical Computing

Eindhoven University of Technology

PhD in Physicalisation for Human-AI Interaction

How to design new forms of Human-AI Interaction? Are you interested in working on the intersection of Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Physical and Tangible User Interfaces to design, fabricate, prototype, and invent new embodiments of AI?

This PhD research explores how novel forms of interactive visualization and physicalization concepts can be leveraged to democratize Human-AI interaction in an everyday context. Apply here!

The goal of this project is to establish a principled approach to operationalizing human-centered explainable AI into novel human-computer interaction concepts and interfaces aimed at non-expert users within three example case study domains: preventative healthcare, sustainability, or the future of work. The outcome is a set of new ideas, designs, concepts, methods, and technical prototypes that translate AI into meaningful experiences for end-users.

We are looking for a PhD candidate who combines design, fabrication, prototyping, and AI or data science skills to invent new form factors, devices, or interfaces that materialize data and AI in new forms of Human-AI interaction. We particularly focus on Physicalisation ( as a key concept to develop new forms of Human-AI Interaction. You will conduct experiments and studies with novel prototypes.

Research Group and Context This project is funded by, and connected to the Eindhoven Artificial Intelligence Systems Institute (EAISI) which focuses on AI for the real world and brings together all AI-related activities at TU/e. The PhD position is supervised by Dr. Steven Houben and will be embedded in the ‘Systemic Change’ research group in the Department of Industrial Design (ID). You will join a dynamic and fast-growing interdisciplinary research environment that explores novel technology in the context of societal challenges such as health, sustainability, vitality, education, and the future of work. You will be part of a thriving PhD community working on a range of topics around physical computing, human-centered AI, and domain-specific research projects.

While this PhD project is exploratory and blue-sky in nature, it aligns with ongoing research projects around health, office vitality, and sustainability. You can therefore build a local and international network of industry partners and academic collaborators that will position you for a future academic or industry-oriented research career. Furthermore, you will have the opportunity to network within Eindhoven Artificial Intelligence Systems Institute (EAISI).

The University Eindhoven University of Technology combines scientific curiosity with a hands-on mentality. Fundamental knowledge enables us to design solutions for the highly complex problems of today and tomorrow. We understand things by making them and we make things by understanding them. Our campus is in the center of one of the most powerful technology hubs in the world: Brainport Eindhoven. Globally, we stand out when it comes to collaborating with advanced industries. Together with other institutions, we form a thriving ecosystem with one common aim – to improve quality of life through sustainable innovations.

The Department of Industrial Design (ID) is one of the nine departments of TU/e and has an internationally leading position, conducting exciting research on the intersection of Design, Technology, Human-Computer Interaction, Social Sciences, and Humanities. In particular, the department aims to inspire and educate a new generation of design engineers who can contribute with their novel designs, their fluency in AI/ML algorithms and data, and their academic critical questioning, to the imminent and complex societal challenges our world is facing today.

Job Requirements

  • A master’s degree in Human-Computer Interaction, Interaction or Industrial Design, Computer Science, Data Science, or Artificial Intelligence.
  • Experience or affinity with the intersection of tangible user interfaces, physical computing, and interaction design with data science or artificial intelligence.
  • Potential to publish academic research or a track record of publications in related areas.
  • Demonstrable research-oriented experience, interest, or attitude.
  • Experience or interest in conducting experimental or in-the wild studies.
  • Ability to work in an interdisciplinary fast-paced research team
  • Strong communication and presentation skills, including a fluent command of spoken and written English (C1 level) and fluency of the Dutch language, or willingness to become fluent, will be valued in conducting research.