Co-Creation — Haptic Experiences in Retail

with Daimler IT Retail

We teamed up with Daimler IT Retail to explore the opportunities of bringing haptic experiences with our technology into their me-Stores. We joined forces in a co-creation workshop using a user-centered empathic approach and Design Thinking methodologies to ideate and prototype.

We were seeking insights into haptics of materials and what they mean for the user on the one side. On the other side we also were interested in what visitors of the Mercedes Benz Flagship Store in Hamburg were looking for and needs they have when coming there.

Together we created ideas how visitors can interact with objects in the store to enrich their stay at the Mercedes me Store. The two concepts we co-created are about discovering interesting information about products and services as well as the brand values of Mercedes Benz by touching and interacting with different materials and models all around the store. That way visitors get information in a playful way and trigger exciting happenings in the store. The next steps are to build specific functional prototypes to test both ideas in a real environment.

For that workshop we crafted three prototypes that use our technology. They focus on enabling touch recognition on the materiality of the surface rather than a complex shape. With this series of prototypes we prove that our technology is applicable to a wide range of diverse surface materials. Touch is recognized on all sides of the boxes. Depending on where and how strong the surface is touched, the box emits a sound. We experimented with soundscapes that either support the materiality and the characteristic of the touch, or surprise by not being in cordance.

The study aims to counterbalance the notion of disembodiment and disengagement of human existence derived from technology (Classen 2005) through re-shifting interest to tactile experiences. Exploring distinctive aspects on haptics such as texture, velocity and bodily real-time feedback, we attempt to rebirth bodily engagement of ubiquitous and immediate surroundings. In the near future we further explore how the thingness of objects (Brown 2003; Gosden 2004; Schwenger 2001), surface touch and VR-Technology (Metzinger 2009) can enable and redefine the appearance, location and setting of things.


Sound Bowl

We applied our technology on a standard wooden bowl. We are registering touch all around the revolving conical surface made of bamboo wood and thereby enable people to interact with it. With this prototype we are proofing that we are able to apply our technology on standard products.

This prototype recognizes touch in numerous regions and transfers tactile data wirelessly in real-time. Sound generation and modulation is rendered on a computer.

Our prototype is focused on making the bowl an input device and our critical function was to apply our technology and trigger/modify sound with it.

Depending on how much and where you touch the bowl the soundscape of birds singing changes, becomes denser and lighter. It functions as a midi-controller, which opens up endless possibilities to use this bowl as a musical instrument in every imaginable way.

The initial idea for the bowl was to create a companion for lonely, stressed out ex-pats in a foreign environment and culture. Messages and sounds can be recorded and are played back when it is touched with both hands to provide its user with comfort and the feeling of belonging by connecting them aurally to their family. Insights that led to this solutions were, that people who feel isolated like to cook themselves comfort food, like noddle soups, and spend more time in their home.

It was crafted within a multidisciplinary team in a project at the School of Design Thinking at the Hasso-Plattner Institute in Potsdam.


Touch Sensitive Packaging

The paper packaging prototype serves as a probe to figure out how product packages are being used. Sensors and electronics are not recognizable by looking and touching the probe. The materials used are very similar to the those of original packaging. The probes are connected wirelessly to a laptop, which runs our visualization.
The tactile data gathered by the probes is mapped on a virtual 3D model of the packaging. It offers easy access to information and makes the data interpretable in an intuitive way.


  • very thin material
  • can be coated, printed on
  • paper-based
  • low-cost sensors
  • covers concave & convex surfaces
  • unobtrusive technology
  • concealed electronics
  • wireless connection


Products, and especially packaging, must serve a broad audience of users—like children, left-handed persons and advanced aged or less able-bodied adults. With tactile data, the design can be evaluated in terms of ergonomic and usability factors, to create truly universally designed products and packaging. Compared to observations and interviews, using tactile data offers objective results at a fraction of cost and complexity.

The significance of touch for evaluating products has been researched profoundly. Our approach enables to gather tactile data on packaging in the field, rather than in a lab environment. Moreover, by registering which packages have been touched, consumer choices can be monitored objectively on a wide scale.


Wir dechiffrieren Nutzerverhalten und generieren Ideen und Konzepte.

Die Weltbevölkerung wird derzeit etwa auf 7.23 Milliarden geschätzt. Bis zum Jahr 2100 wird sie auf den Wert von 11 Milliarden wachsen und dann wieder abnehmen. Damit einher gehen Herausforderungen Produkte für möglichst viele Nutzergruppen und vor allem für immer älter werdenden Menschen zugänglich zu machen. Wir, das Team von 11mrd (eleven billion), sind Berater für Nutzerforschung mit dem Ziel die wahren Bedürfnisse der Menschen als Nutzer zu entschlüsseln. Mit unserer Arbeit fördern wir die Vision, eine barrierefreie Nutzung von etablierten Produkten zu ermöglichen.

We decode user behavior to generate ideas and design concepts.

The current world population is 7.23 billion until the peak of eleven billion will be hit in 2100. We provide people insights to tailor your ideas. 11mrd (eleven billion) is a research consultancy with the aim to unlock real user needs and enable mainstream products to serve the whole population. There will be a thriving demand for more inclusively designed products. This fact let us predict the importance of insights from all users and lead us towards the believe that older people will claim better, more user-friendly and intuitive products in the near future. With our work, we feed the vision of inherently accessible products.

We listen, watch, talk and make — and listen again, and watch, and talk and remake. Not from a desk or in a lab but in the field. We are people-centered researchers.

Wir entwickeln dazu eine Technologie, die es uns ermöglicht, menschliche Berührung auf komplexen Oberflächen zu messen und sichtbar zu machen. Diese Technologie ermöglicht uns Nutzerverhalten und Nutzung von Objekten und Produkten in einer objektiven Art und Weiße zu verstehen. Ausgehend von diesen Erkenntnissen kann Einfluss auf das Design genommen werden, um so bessere Produkte zu gestalten.

We capture user behaviour to gain in-depth knowledge about the use of products in-situ. For this reason, we are currently developing and fine tuning a technology which enables us to measure and visualise human touch on complex surfaces. This technology helps us to understand user behaviour and how objects and products are used in an objective manner. With the results from these studies we can improve the design and help to make better products for broader user groups.

Hatim Hilal

Hatim ist Kreativingenieur. Mit einem Abschluss der HAW Hamburg schwingt er den Lötkolben und designt Schaltungen, die schöner und ausgeklügelter nicht sein könnten.

Hatim title is creativity engineering. Always eager to wrap his head around new things Hatim will end up with circuit designs that follow functionality but are also beautiful. He is currently doing his M.Sc. Microelectronic Systems at HAW Hamburg.

Julius Falk

Julius ist Bricoleur, Abakus und Ästhet. Immer auf der Suche nach der schönen Lösung, kämpft er gegen Betriebsblindheit und Unternehmensphlegma an. Ausgebildet an der Bauhaus-Universität Weimar und der HPI School of Design Thinking in Potsdam, taumelt er zwischen Kunst und Wissenschaft, zwischen groß-großer Komplexität und eleganter Einfachheit.

At Bauhaus-University in Weimar and HPI School of Design Thinking in Potsdam Julius learned to enjoy wicked problems and to come up with strategies to solve them. He believes in beauty and aesthetics, enjoys complexity – and also does the taxes.

Ingo Aurin

Ingo ist ein Mann vom Fach, ein Generalist mit Menschenverstand, der das Berufsethos mit Toleranz und Zugänglichkeit im Design neu definiert und verinnerlicht hat und Inklusion in allen Lebenslagen praktiziert. Ausgestattet mit einem Ph.D. der Bauhaus Universität Weimar, machte Ingo sein Wissen als Teaching Fellow an der Universität of Edinburgh einer großen Zuhörerschaft zugänglich

Ingo is a practitioner and new-tech-literate designer by heart, adapted the ethics of openess, tolerance and accessibility coined in Inclusive Design. Educated to a Ph.D. level at the Bauhaus Universität Weimar, Ingo shared his thoughts as a Teaching Fellow at the University of Edinburgh.

Call for Collaboration

A human being is a human doing

Wir suchen Projekte und Partner, die mit uns zusammen Anwendungen im Bereich des universalen Designs finden und Forschungsprojekte durchführen.

Mit Hilfe von uns entwickelten berührungssensitiven Messinstrumenten gehen wir der wahren Nutzung von Produkten auf den Grund. Immer mit dem Ziel die Bedürfnisse der Nutzer klar herauszuarbeiten um mit diesem Wissen effektiv auf Design Einfluss zu nehmen. Damit wollen wir zur Gestaltung von besseren Produkten beitragen.

Wir sind auf der Suche nach Partnern, die gemeinsam mit uns Anwendungen unserer Technologie und Wissen im Bereich des universellen Designs und der nutzerzentrierten Produktentwicklung erarbeiten. Uns interessieren die vielfältigen Anwendungsfälle, an die wir heute noch nicht denken und sind für alle Bereiche offen. Bisherige Studien fanden in der universitären Lehre statt und haben ergonomische Kriterien von Produkten, wie Bohrmaschinen und Flüssigkeitsbehältnissen, erfolgreich erörtert.

Falls Sie also ein Produkt Designer oder ein Hersteller von greifbaren Produkten sind, der mehr über die Benutzung dieser und die Bedürfnisse seiner Nutzer herausfinden möchte, können Sie uns sehr gerne kontaktieren. Oder sind Sie vielleicht Teil eines Forschungsprojektes, dass sich mit Nutzerverhalten, Ergonomie, universellem Design oder mit der Handhabung von Objekten auseinandersetzt? Selbstverständlich interessieren uns auch an- und übergrenzende Anwendungsfelder und Fragestellungen. Wenn Sie das Gefühl haben, dass wir Ihnen mit unserer Technologie helfen können, schreiben Sie uns!

We are looking for projects and partners, which will work with us on applications in the field of inclusive and user-centered design.

With the help of the touch sensitive instrument created by us we explore the real use of products by its users. We have the goal of detecting the real needs of users and use this knowledge to apply influence on the design. In that way we want to contribute to better (designed) products!

We are currently looking for partners and collaborators, with whom we can develop diverse applications of our technology and gain know-how regarding inclusive design, as well as user-centered development. We want to co-create implementations of our technology in ways, products, objects, we are unaware of right now, but are very viable and fruitful. Previous projects were centered around the evaluation of ergonomic criteria of power tools and containers.

So, if you are a industrial designer or an manufacturer of tangible products and want to know more about the real use of these objects, feel free to contact us. If you take part in a research programme dealing with user behaviour, inclusive design or how objects are handled, please also get in touch with us. If you do something else, which borders and crosses these fields, and you have the feeling our technology could be beneficial to you, please drop us a line. We would love to hear from you!

Get in touch!

Wir freuen uns immer über ein gutes Gespräch.