Field Lab UPPS

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10 July 2019

Why this fieldlab?
Customisation is popular: a lot of people want products that have been customised to their specific needs, like tailored clothing or unique designs. It can also be out of necessity, like a prosthesis, where the fit is of vital importance. There is also an assumption that customisation makes the value of and attachment to products greater, which minimises the chance of returns in, for example, fashion. New technologies such as 3D scanning and 3D printing, as well as artificial intelligence, which is used to interpret personal data and make educated design decisions, are making customisation more and more accessible. The new generation of customised products and services is called UPPS: Ultra Personalised Products and Services.

When creating these types of products, new questions arise. On the one hand, those are questions related to offer and technological development of the products, but there is also a clear human side to these questions. Customisation is only successful if you determine what the user wants and what is suitable for them on the one hand, and what the best way is to produce that on the other hand. And that is where the creative industry comes in. Fieldlab UPPS was created to encourage innovation in the UPPS chain and to create an advanced Dutch manufacturing industry to produce customised products on a large scale.

What's the fieldlab all about?
Designing and developing UPPS is radically different from the design process for more standardised products. The nature of customising affects every step of the design and production process. Fieldlab UPPS helps companies in these processes by giving them the opportunity to gain joint knowledge and experience. The companies can use the expertise and algorithms of the Fieldlab UPPS and its facilities: students and experts from the Industrial Design Engineering Department at the TU Delft and equipment such as 3D scanners and 3D printers. Daan van Eijk, professor Applied Ergonomics and Design at the TU Delft and fieldlab project leader: “Entrepreneurs and researchers come together in the fieldlab. Both parties have something to gain: companies can develop and experiment with their ideas, which can lead to new product propositions. For researchers, the overarching level is more interesting: what can we learn from this process and what questions arise that we can further look into?”

Within the fieldlab we distinguish between four domains in which customisation is important: health, safety, fashion, and sports. The applications are diverse. One example is a project with electronic tags with are as comfortable as possible for the prisoners while being as safe as possible at the same time. Another project is about customising knit clothing so there is no need for inventory management.

The creative industry offers an important contribution in involving the user in the development of UPPS. It starts even before the decision to purchase is made: how do you convince potential buyers to buy a product that doesn't exist yet?

What is the contribution of and to the creative industry?
The creative industry offers an important contribution in involving the user in the development of UPPS. It starts even before the decision to purchase is made: how do you convince potential buyers to buy a product that doesn't exist yet? It differs based on the type of product which arguments and visualisations are needed. The user is also heavily involved in the design, development and maintenance of the product. Insights and methods are being developed within UPPS about what the best way is to deal with this as a designer.

When it comes to knit tailored clothing, it's about which information the user needs to give you and how you collect that information. Customers want to make as little effort as possible to get the best fitting garment they can. Research has shown that you can easily determine the fit of the sweater just by asking a few questions.

It has also shown that you don't always need to completely customise products; sometimes a number of standard sizes are enough to meet the demands. Thanks to 3D data of ankles, it was concluded that electronic tags for detainees probably don't need far-reaching customisation. Six different standard sizes will probably be enough to increase comfort. Research still needs to point out whether that is, in fact, the case. This knowledge is also valuable for other types of creative professionals and is shared via the UPPS website and periodical MeetUPPS.

So what's next?
Knowledge sharing is an important topic within the fieldlab. In addition to MeetUPPS, connections are made with universities (of applied sciences) and the fieldlab is part of a nationwide smart industry fieldlab. These organisations allow us to share knowledge among ourselves. Parallel to the Fieldlab UPPS, the project Next UPPS is researching specific methodologies for designing UPPS with Philips, HAVEP and BATA. A center of expertise is being considered to retain the knowledge from UPPS and Next UPPS in the future.

UPPS new images


  • Title: Ultra Personalisation of Products and Services (UPPS)
  • Duration: 2018 - 2020
  • Discipline: Product design, Fashion
  • Societal challenge: Health and healthcare
  • KEM group: Value Creation and Upscaling
  • Project partners: CLICKNL, TU Delft and SMEs