Dr Hengfeng Zuo - Post Doctoral Research Fellow in Product Design
Matrix of Materials Representation
Online Database 2007
The online 'Matrix of Material Representation' database is the result of several years of empirical research into the human perception of materials, in order to better understand 'Material Aesthetics and Sensory Perception in Product Design'. The database provides guidelines for designers who need to match materials and textures to human aesthetic and perceptual expectations. It includes findings relating to the aesthetic and sensory properties of materials with regard to colour, texture, smell and touch. As an online source of knowledge, it has an evolutionary potential, in that it has been designed to accommodate future research data. Detailed information is currently available regarding texture analysis across a broad spectrum of materials. Material selection is one of the key issues in product design. When designers select and combine materials for a particular product, they invariably make decisions based upon personal experience and engineering principals, mainly because there is no substantial empirical data concerning product perception. This research project systematically investigated the sensory perception of various materials, by using different groups of people in order to analyse relationships between subjective responses and objective material parameters. The Matrix database provides guidance whilst also acting as a reference point. It is designed to enable design practitioners to make intelligent judgements concerning the selecting and combining of different materials, which ultimately match human sensory requirements and aesthetic and perceptual expectations. In October 2005 a technical consultancy report on material textures was given to Remington UK, as a result of the support that they gave for this project. The report provided detailed research results and made recommendations concerning the application of material textures to the company's existing and future consumer products.
‘Material Texture Perception in Product Design’
International Conference - The Art of Plastics Design Paper 5, Berlin, Germany 2005
Conference Session Chair and Co-authored Conference Paper with Mark Jones & Tony Hope
Information concerning the human sensory perception of materials plays an increasingly important role in the selection and combination of materials for manufactured products. Yet there are few systematic resources available for linking material features to human sensory responses. By means of experimental method, our research, in this instance, tackled this problem by systematically exploring material sensory perception with a focus on texture. A range of varying material samples with particular surface finish and texture were used in these tests. This paper presents the results of texture perception for moulded ABS plastic. Descriptive lexicons of texture were constructed in four dimensions: geometric, physical-chemical, emotional and associative. Correlations between various subjective descriptions of texture were identified, such as a smooth surfaces corresponding to feelings of moisture and coldness. Correlations were found to be more complex when they are directly associated with emotive feelings. A series of texture perception maps have been developed that summarise the subjective descriptions. These maps allow comparison between a single texture, or a group of material textures and relevant human perceptual responses. The significance of this paper lies in that it provides an example of the in-depth information contained in my online database 'Material Representation Matrix' , tackling the sensory and aesthetic features of plastics via touch. The topic and the results presented in the paper received unique attention from delegates of the conference.
‘A Matrix of Material Representation’
International Conference-Futureground 2004
Co-authored with John Redmond, David Durling, Arthur de Bono, Mark Jones and Tony Hope
The sensory properties of materials relating to colour, texture, sound, smell, and perceptual responses to them, provide very important information for designers to consider when selecting or combining materials for a manufactured product. Our research sets out to make this process easier for product designers by providing a database-driven, visuo-lexical system capable of linking material properties to human perceptual responses. Based on theoretical, experimental and computer programming methods, this research has established a database framework referred to as the 'Matrix of Material Representation'. The Matrix is a systematic, multi-dimensional model that contains the holistic information about the factors involved in the human perception of materials and illustrates the interrelationship between these factors. Currently, the detailed information about material texture perception has been integrated into the Matrix, which includes a series of material texture perception maps. The Matrix is expected to provide guidance and a reference point to enable design practitioners to make intelligent judgements in selecting and combining different materials in order to match human sensory adaptation, aesthetical and perceptual expectation. The paper gave a detailed introduction to the Matrix and its dynamic development.
‘An Investigation into the Sensory Properties of Materials’
The Second International Conference on Affective Human Factors Design. Singapore 2001
Published conference paper Asean Academic Press, London 2001(This paper won the Best Paper Prize)
Co-authored with Tony Hope, Paul Castle and Mark Jones
The research objective was to create a matrix of material representation for studying human perception and response to different materials (See also Mark Jones' submission). This paper reports on original research conducted towards the construction of a matrix of material representation for studying human perception and response to different materials. On the basis of experimental evidence (e.g. comparisons between blindfold touch and non-blindfold touch) a conceptual model was formulated concerning the relationship between the texture of specific materials and subjective human responses. Analysis of the preliminary results from a series of psychological tests has enabled four character dimensions of texture description to be proposed: geometrical dimension; physical-chemical dimension; emotional dimension; and associative dimension. Lexicons within these dimensions were found to be slightly different with respect to the measurements of response sensitivity under different conditions (material surface finish, sensory conditions, subject groups etc.). The significance of this paper lies in its relevance to the design of my online database 'Material Representation Matrix' , which seeks to provide previously unavailable guidelines for designers regarding material/texture selection to match human aesthetic and perceptual expectations.