Smart Design Lab

Research Group

The Smart Design Lab (SDL) at the Northumbria School of Design is focused on future smart products, services, and interconnected systems design, using cutting-edge smart technologies and innovative multidisciplinary research methods.

The SDL works with different organisations, businesses and discipline experts seeking to achieve smart design solutions to many real-world problems such as in innovative manufacturing, smart cities, sustainable urbanization and development.

Current research themes include crowdsourcing and crowdsensing for design and social innovation, generative design for smart products, designing digital twins -based ecosystems for manufacturing and smart cities, emotion recognition and design for emotion/well-being, personal digital twins and digital threads for aging and sustainable development.

The SDL is leading an international research initiative on “Sustainable urban and rural integration with AI and Big-data technologies”, which is funded by the Department of Business, Energy, Industrial and Strategy (BEIS) under the Newton Prize 2019 awards. The collaborative partners include the University of Southampton, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Tsinghua University, and Northwestern A&F University of China.

The SDL is also leading an UK-China-BRI Countries Educational Partnership initiative on “Digital Twin-driven lifecycle smart product design and manufacturing for railway industry”, which is funded by British Council. The collaborative partners include Newcastle University, University of Huddersfield, University of Zagreb of Croatia, King Mongkut’s University of Technology North Bangkok (KMUTNB), Thailand, University of Electronic Science and Technology, and Southwest Jiaotong University.

The SDL is home for the Joint Design Innovation Lab between Northumbria University and Northwest Polytechnical University (NWPU) of China, closely linked to the Global Positive Design Initiative (GPDI)- .



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