Light.Touch.Matters aims to develop a completely new generation of smart materials that combine touch sensitivity with luminosity, based on latest developments in polymeric piezo materials and flexible OLEDs.

These objectives will be pursued jointly by the product designers and material researchers collaborating in the project. These novellight touch materials have great potential. Manufactured on plastic substrates, they will be thin, flexible and formable, allowing for seamless integration into products.

They promise to greatly expand design freedom and unlock totally new modes of product-user interaction, enabling us to take the next step in product design: the product will become the user interface.
During the project, partners will look at the ways in which existing material properties elicit meaningful experiences, and the ways in which that can inspire particular applications. Through product-user interaction research they will also explore the meanings elicited by the new materials under development.

Based on these insights, designers will develop product concepts in three different iterations, eventually approaching market-feasible light touch products.Light.Touch.Matters will work closely with potential end-users throughout the project to ensure the potential for market uptake.

Light.Touch.Matters will primarily focus on products for care and well-being applications that can help consumers feel better, monitor or improve their health and increase comfort. Possible examples include, rehabilitation aids, wearable alarms and diet coaches.


Light.Touch.Matters will use a proprietary design-driven research methodology based on a comprehensive body of industrial product design knowledge that has been built up over the past decades both by the academic partners in the consortium, and through the well-defined tools and methods used by the design SME partners. This methodology has been tailor-made specifically to suit the project and constituent partners.

The core of this new methodology is an iterative development process in which materials R&D is done in parallel with the conceptualization and design of products that make use of the unique material properties.

Three iterations will be made in product concept ideation and development, where each cycle is an essential opportunity to learn: for designers, to learn what is really possible, and for materials researchers, to learn what is really needed, allowing step-by-step updating and redefinition of target properties and reprioritization of tasks. This allows for the convergence of the two main streams in the project, i.e. of design activity and materials R&D.


LTM consortium is composed of 17 partners from 8 EU countries

Technische Universiteit Delft

  • Faculty of Industrial Design

    Delft University of Technology, founded in 1842, is the oldest, largest and most comprehensive university of technology in The Netherlands with excellent international rankings (e.g. ranking 18 in the 2010 QS World University Rankings –Engineering and Technology – and 5th in Europe). Two TU Delft faculties participate in the project: Faculty of Industrial Design and Faculty of Aerospace Engineering.
    TU Delft Industrial Design Engineering (DUT-IDE): The faculty of Industrial Design Engineering (IDE) is among the oldest and largest (>2.000 students, >75 PhDs, >300FTE personnel) university based design programmes in the world. It is regarded as one of the best D-Schools in the world, e.g. by Business Week and has a strong global reputation on research in its field. The faculty has an integrative vision on product design that covers user/consumer, aesthetics, interface,technology, business and organisational aspects related to product innovation. Its research objective is to foster sustainable wellbeing by exploring, generating and transferring knowledge and technologies for industrial design.

  • Novel Aerospace Materials at the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering

    The second faculty participating in the project is the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering.
    The Novel Aerospace Materials (NOVAM) group was established in 2003 in order to provide the faculty of Aerospace Engineering at the DUT with a research group dedicated to the development of novel materials for aerospace and space applications, although materials for other applications are also developed. At this moment the group has 35 members led by 3 permanent staff. Research at NovAM focuses on five main lines: thermodynamic design of novel metallic systems; high performance polymers; piezoelectric materials; self- healing materials and coatings technology.

Trend Union (Studio Edelkoort)

Trend Union is a trend forecasting agency created and directed by Lidewij Edelkoort. She and her team are creative minds who travel the world studying the evolution of socio-cultural trends before sharing this information with clients in industries as diverse as design, electronic devices, automotive, interiors, fashion, textiles cosmetics and food. Trend forecasts are published under the form of books, or analysed and synthetized in a made-to-measure approach by Trend Union following client’s requests. Trend Union is also experienced in the preparation of exhibitions, publishing trend magazines and participating in a non-profit association to sustain handcraft techniques. Studio Edelkoort is Trend Union’s department providing personal consultancy to industries, institutions or brands, based on lifestyle trend forecasting to visualize the evolution of society and the needs of the consumers. Its team possesses a long experience and expertise in trend forecasting and lifestyle research and its two creative directors have cooperated with Lidewij Edelkoort and Trend Union for more than 20 years.


Diffus Design is a design office combining research and experimentation. Diffus is merging ubiquitous technology based on sensor technology and computing with the sensual properties of traditional materials, giving qualities of slowness and tangibility to the digital and changeability and interaction into the material. Diffus tries to make a continuum between the digital and the analogue in order to avoid the traditional bipolarity between the two. This “mix” of digital and physical materials results in unique hybrid material on its own right. By combining different materials and innovative technology in often unpredictable ways, Diffus creates poetical, playful and surprising spaces and artefacts with unconventional twists, which appeal to our emotions and open up to the sensibility of a large public but always with a strong concept and clear narratives.


Fuelfor is an innovation design consultancy specialised in health care. Founded in June 2008 the company is based in Barcelona and works with a team of world-class professionals to deliver integrated innovation services to global clients in the private and public sectors. With over two decades of industry experience, fuelfor’s professional competences span from design research and experience design to product identity and implementation. They have worked across a spectrum of care contexts including oncology, labour and delivery care as well as chronic disease management and healthcare IT. Leading multi-disciplinary innovation design teams to deliver award-winning (health) care products, services and strategies for clients in USA, Europe and Asia. Fuelfor takes a 360° view that gives clients new ways to think about health. With a strong belief that researchdriven design and multi-disciplinary collaboration are essential for innovation, they empower clients to see sustainable growth opportunities with greater clarity, and respond with viable solutions and strategies that improve the way people experience health.


Fjord is Europe’s leading digital design agency, structured around innovation and pushing the boundaries of digital service and interface design. Fjord works with leading companies such as Nokia, HP, Orange, Telefonica, Vodafone, BBVA and The BBC. Fjord has a track record of analysing in depth the long-term underlying patterns of innovation and change in digital technology. That’s how it helps clients to build real innovation into their interfaces and products. Every project is seen as a unique challenge, finding the best solution by starting from first principles, then collaborating through enthusiastic, reflective exploration. Fjord has a very deep understanding of the issues and complexities of designing compelling experiences. For every service on every platform the challenge is to create unique value through a design that is particular to the context of use.


Pilotfish is a design and innovation consultancy based in Munich and Amsterdam, with a branch office in Taipei. Pilotfish is specialised in the development of intelligent products for the consumer, professional, medical and transportation industries, supporting clients with integrated design services that cover the entire product development process. Pilotfish also acts as hub of innovation for start-ups and technology providers looking for the right partners to realise their product or service ideas in meaningful ways for end users.

Lamb Industries

Lamb Industries is an industrial design consultancy based in Bath in the UK. Lamb designs products that provide enhanced experiences for consumers. Innovative products are built on and inspired by a strong understanding of the end user. Lamb Industries’ ability to find out what the market needs allied with a strong technical background and a powerful creative spark results in products that work better and sell better.


Minima is an award winning design innovation agency that creates, develops and prototypes new products or services that generate brand value and commercial success. Minima’s proven expertise goes beyond user-centred product development and creating world-leading innovation in their own prototype build facilities. They are experts in managing intellectual property and working in partnership to drive even the smallest spark of an idea all the way to market. Minima has a strong track record in a number of market sectors from healthcare to consumer product design and prototyping.


VanBerlo is an international design agency based in Eindhoven, which has developed to become one of Europe’s leading agencies in the area of strategy, communication design and implementation. This includes both product development and engineering as well as brand and reputation strategy and implementation. VanBerlo works with its clients to help them achieve tangible business value. Their innovative products, communication and brands have been creating the difference for their clients for over 30 years. During the past five years alone, their designs have been given twenty Red Dot Awards.

Grado Zero Espace SRL

Grado Zero Espace SRL is an Italian SME involved in research, consulting and prototyping, specialised in transferring technological material and know-how from advanced sectors to other field of application like textile, building, automotive, sport and safe equipment and medical. It is a flexible and dynamic structure able to provide its clients with prototypes destined to markets of high technological content supporting these products with adequate communication plans. The following departments will be involved in Light.Touch.Matters: Research & Development, Industrial Design, Engineering, Prototype, Laboratory and Textile.


Aito is a software and engineering firm researching, developing and commercializing Man-Machine User Interfaces based on the piezo technology. Its core product is an Aito Chip which controls the Aito designed piezo touch user interfaces of various products such as Philips TVs, Siemens parking automates, Douwe Egberts coffee machines and Russell Hobbs toasters.
Aito R&D (lead by Ph.D. Pauli Laitinen): will be the main department involved, but it will be strongly supported by Aito Application Engineering (lead by M.Sc. Jockum Lönnberg). Aito R&D focuses on developing piezo based user experience products and thus increasing the company’s IP and Aito Chip product portfolio. Aito R&D is located in Finland. Aito Application Engineering (lead by M.Sc. Jockum Lönnberg): is dedicated to finding, customising and supporting customers/clients to realize Aito user interface solutions in their products by doing sales and offering application engineering and/or Consultancy.

Material ConneXion

Material ConneXion is a global materials consultancy with a track record of bringing innovative designs to life through materials, processes, technology and application transfers and a strategic design approach. It is also the largest library of innovative and sustainable materials in the world with 9 independent offices all around.

Bax and Willems

B&W is an Open Innovation consultancy that supports clients in defining and implementing their strategies related to R&D, innovation and new business development. B&W works across Europe with the full range of innovation stakeholders, ranging from Fortune 500 companies like BASF and Volkswagen to small high-tech start-ups and leading institutes such KU Leuven, ETH Zurich and TU Delft. B&W has a high level of affinity with design, having been founded by alumni of theIndustrial Design Engineering Faculty of TU Delft. At the same time B&W has long-time experiencing in the creation and implementation of European RTD collaborations.

Holst Centre

The Holst Centre is an international research centre founded in 2005 by the Belgian IMEC together with the Dutch TNO. It is situated on the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven (former Philips Research campus), which has existing high-class research facilities and infrastructure. The centre is in the midst of a number of companies in the key area of ‘high-tech systems and materials’.
TNO is a fully independent R&D organization with a staff of approx. 4570 employees. The turnover of TNO in 2006 was 570 M€. TNO’s primary mission is to support industry, the authorities, and other groups of the community in technological innovation, and to assist clients in solving technological problems. TNO frequently participates in EU programs.

Brunel University

  • Brunel University – Human-Centred Design Institute (HCDI)

    Brunel University in West London is a dynamic institution with over 15,000 students and nearly 900 academic staff operating in a vibrant culture of research excellence. Brunel participates in the project with 2 centres: the Human-Centred Design Institute (HCDI) and The Wolfson Centre For Materials Processing (WMP).
    The HCDI is the UK’s only formally recognised centre for HCD teaching/research. In recognition of the possible strategic benefit to society, Brunel University has formally recognised the HCDI in 2007 as a University Research Centre (URC).
    Research & consulting activities undertaken with organisations such as BBC, British Gas, Boeing, IDEO, Fiat, Ferrari, MoD, Nokia, Samsonite, SNCF & Virgin have confirmed the importance of the HCD paradigm for the creative industry.
    Recent experience suggests that a HCD approach for novel and profitable business area for the EU industry is vital towards the success of the EU’s creative industries agenda.

  • Brunel University – Wolfson Centre For Materials Processing (WMP)

    Brunel University in West London is a dynamic institution with over 15,000 students and nearly 900 academic staff operating in a vibrant culture of research excellence. Brunel participates in the project with 2 centres: the Human-Centred Design Institute (HCDI) and The Wolfson Centre For Materials Processing (WMP).
    The Wolfson Centre For Materials Processing (WMP) – Brunel University: The Wolfson Centre at Brunel is heavily involved in the discovery of new light emitting materials for OLED and ACEL technologies. Particular emphasis is given to sustainable luminescent materials for lighting, showing high efficiency and long operating lifetime.
    In addition to the lighting and display area, the Wolfson Centre research concentrates on processable composite materials for sustainable manufacturing. WMP has a specific interest in the recycling of thermosets and fibre composites, into new materials as well as the design of particle reinforced plastics for heavy duty applications, such as military, sport equipment and automotive. In addition, they are developing nanocomposites for medical and biological applications.

University College London

UCL is a London university with more than 8,000 academic staff and 25,000 students. It is dedicated to teaching and research across the full range of academic subjects from medicine to philosophy, from architecture to chemistry, from physics to anthropology. It is ranked seventh in the world by the QS World University Rankings (2011), and third in the UK overall (RAE 2008).
The following department will be involved:
Institute of Making: a multidisciplinary research institute bringing together experts in materials and making from UCL including materials scientists,engineers, physicists, chemists, architects, designers, anthropologists, archaeologists, artists, medics, humanities academics and many more.

Politecnico di Milano

Politecnico di Milano is a scientific-technological university which trains engineers, architects and industrial designers. The University has always focused on the quality and innovation of its teaching and research developing a fruitful relationship with business and productive world by means of experimental research and technological transfer. Research has always been linked to didactics and is a priority commitment which has allowed Politecnico di Milano to achieve high quality results at an international level as to join the university to the business world. Research activity moreover constitutes a parallel path to that formed by cooperation and alliances with the industrial system.