Design Studio

At the centre of the programme are three transdisciplinary Design Studio projects, where students train and polish their ability to conduct research and notice areas of opportunity, to sense the current limits of technology and how to expand those borders, to notice changes in people’s needs and habits and uncover new possibilities by reframing familiar problems. The focus of learning is in defining opportunities and creating concepts through a design-led innovation process. Acquiring the theoretical knowledge and practical skills necessary to perform these conceptual developments prepares professionals who are able to handle contemporary complex issues and search for hidden opportunities in order to develop these into value-creating concepts.

All projects are run in small multidisciplinary teams mixing different skills and backgrounds, engineers and designers, gender and culture. Not only the teams are multidisciplinary; the subjects are understood and dealt with in a cross-disciplinary manner.


D&TF focuses on the complex issues of the contemporary world from the perspective of emerging design and technology with these questions: Why should things change and develop? What are the possible solutions and how can we develop them? The challenges in the programme are presented in an open format, encouraging students’ personal creative development and self-expression. Stress is made on exploratory and experimental front-end development, including analysing the problem on the ground, noticing and articulating the opportunity, generating solution ideas, prototyping, testing and validating concepts. Students are not given concrete problems to solved, instead they work their way into complex challenges where they are trying to find room for attractive and promising interventions.

Space exploration

IGLUNA a habitat in ice

The day is not too far when people will be back on Moon establishing a research base to live in. Most probably these settlements will be built into the icy craters on the Poles of Moon. Ice will protect astronauts from radiation, offer water and oxygen and a stable environment to dig and build into.

These Lunar settlements will be designed and built as robots, as self-sufficient as possible, taking care of the resources, necessary conditions and its inhabitants. Life of these brave people will be unimaginable for us. They have to sustain the harsh conditions in isolation, coping with 1/6 of the gravity and its effects to our body and mind.

Creating an environment what is providing a high level of physical and mental wellbeing will become central to assure the success of the mission, keep astronauts fit and healthy and minimise so the risk to human life some 400 000 km away from home.

That was a challenge D&TF students tackled creating insightful scenarios about the everyday life in the future Lunar habitat.

IGLUNA a habitat in ice project is run by ESA Lab / Swiss Space Center.


LEAP is a lunar exercise and activity platform that uses gaming to create an engaging, personalised and immersive exercise experience. LEAP translates physical movements into actions in the game which allows astronauts to have a varied exercise in different environments.

Team: Ilgar Akbarov, Triin Jürgens, Ankur Singh Rana, Sofia Anza Veg

Circa Dia

Circa Dia is a system that reduces human error risk through aligning tasks in the everyday schedule of astronauts to fit their personal natural rhythms. Astronaut’s schedules are very tightly packed and constantly changing to have them doing maximum amount of work. This, however, is not viable long term solution as astronauts feel they are loosing control over their lives. Circa Dia gives more desition power to astronauts while at the same time enabling them to cope much better with the chenging nature of the schedule.

Team: Liis Saare, Erko Pettai, Grete Pärtel, Helen Selirand


The Orbis is a multifunctional training space for the lunar base that connects different parts of the habitat. It enables astronauts to not just to survive, but thrive in the harsh conditions of the moon and fully adapt to their environment. Orbis has many varying uses and it changes to fit the current needs of the users. Functionality that was originally developed for astronauts to train better has created exciting new oportunities how the previously training only space could be used as a digital community center.

Team: Henri Purde, Sachin Sabhlok, Carol Rennebaum, Taavi Aher



How does the use of new energy technologies impact our behaviour?

How does our behaviour impact the application of new energy technologies?

The way we live, act and behave is all supported, guided and fed by ubiquitous energy systems, staying mostly invisible to our eyes and mind. We only recognize them when our phone runs out of power, our car asks to refuel or the feeling of hunger reminds us that it is time for a bite. As energy technologies change, they create pathways for new applications and the possibility to rethink interactions with the man-made world, making totally new futures possible.

The aim of the project Powering Tomorrow is to shift our understanding of energy from invisible support to meaningful power for the future. The design and engineering teams will analyse the contexts and ways in which we use energy, build on the research findings to introduce new concepts of products, services or environments and illustrate change with tested use cases.

As a result, these new ideas will be presented in the form of stories (short videos), which explain the use of a new product or product service systems, give an idea of user experience, illustrate business opportunities and discuss the change in the meaning of energy.

The Powering Tomorrow studio has two themes with two partners:

  • KEEP IN MOTION – with partner Alexela (petrol stations)
  • JUMP START – with partner Skeleton Technologies


Välk is an autonomous wagon that charges electric vehicles no matter where they are parked. It delivers within a 100 km range in 25 to 30 minutes by utilizing an optimised dc-dc power control and delivery mechanism. Välk can be employed at will via the power application on your mobile device, allowing you to sit back and let the wagon come to you.

Powered by Alexela

Team: Arnav KhanArno PeeverSofía Vega


Have you ever wanted to add more excitement and adrenaline to your skiing experience? Have you ever felt helpless and tired after falling as a beginner?
Skadi is a new service platform that brings more fun and competition to mountain skiing. You can ski like James Bond or jump like Super Mario! After skiing, you can compare your score with friends and other players. Beginners can learn to ski through a fun and educational game. Skadi presents a challenge to skiers and an opportunity for beginners. You will experience skiing in a brand new way and have the best time in the mountains.

Powered by Skeleton

Team: Yunus Emre AyazKarin VeneIlgar Akbarov


WAKE is a smart mobility platform that transforms a road into an intelligent and reactive environment. This creates an enhanced road experience by increasing the interaction between the road and those commuting.
Using real-time data based on the platform’s AI movable elements along the road are transformed into speed breakers and signage.

Powered by Skeleton Technologies

Team: Sophie FarinesMariana Hint-RääkDinukshie Nirmanie Gunaratne

Work 2.0

The way we work, the way we behave at work and the way we think about work is transforming in line with the changes in society and technological developments.

WORK 2.0 is mobile, flexible and project-based. We work for many employers at the same time or shift quickly from one job to another. Work is often projectbased and happening in temporary teams.

Work as we currently know it might disappear and become ubiquitous at the same time. Some of us will adapt to this change naturally, but others won’t. Today’s work environments echo the past. Organisations have difficulty with keeping up with this profound change and motivating the new workforce with different values and aspirations.

In Design Studio, we will tackle the new ways and means of working. We are looking for new opportunities for products, environments, services and practices to support and enhance new ways of working.

The aim of the project is to search, develop and test new concepts to support the work to come — WORK 2.0.

This Challenge has three points of focus:

  • Activity-based work
  • Active learning environment
  • Work on the move

Retirement FUN

We believe in a healthy, active and fun retirement for everyone.

Retirement Fun is a new way to approach reti­rement: as a job platform it gi­ves seniors the opportunity to explore, earn mo­ney and stay ac­tive; as a social platform it con­nects people who want to make the most out of life.Each job in our plat­form is part of a big­ger quest, where one job follows another. When a quest is completed, not only do seniors make new friends an earn money, they also get a special reward.


Aigor is a virtual space for employees to interact with one another by creating an extension of themselves through the integration of artificial intelligence. This platform will be an enhanced communication platform that will act as an alternate workspace breaking social barriers. This will be an experiential space created by employees for employees to share expertise, resources and network within their company. Your advanced digital workspace is now one click away from been transformed into a interaction simulator to build and grow your network


The world is changing more rapidly than ever before. Employees need to be constantly reskilled and repositioned because of the fast developing workfield and technology. Lots of jobs we know today will be gone in the near future. One skill is key to avoid that – learnibility. Lifelong learning and constant self-development is crucial for the employee and also for the businesses to keep workers up-to-date and highly skilled. There are countless learning and retraining opportunities, but companies are having a hard time knowing which are best suitable for their people and currently there is not a systematical and consistent approach to
employee training plans. Emkey solves that by offering companies an online platform to get sector-based and customized suggestions for their employee development plans. Together with employee’s constant feedback and data from market surveys, current trends & predictions, workers could be guided to suitable retrainings.

Process structure

Background studies

The projects start with the exploration of the theme in order to create a wide understanding about the situation around the problem area, to define a creative playground and to understand the different viewpoints of different players. Ethnography studies are run to understand users and other stakeholders.


Visualisation is used to present the situation and understand the context of the problem. This context is explored by defining, listing and analysing its different elements, connections and relationships. As a result, the systemic nature of the issue is uncovered and a rich visual map is created, exploring the system in its full complexity. GIGA-mapping is used to create vast maps for revealing and communicating strategies to impact the system and redesign these for the better.

Task clarification

Steps are taken from fuzzy mess towards a clear value offer for users and other stakeholders. Empathy is needed to understand the dreams and needs of different players on the field. When opportunities are identified and value is defined, the work then moves on towards problem framing.

Design brief

As a conclusion of the first half of the project, the development plan is created. The brief determines a beacon for the project by articulating the value offer for all stakeholders and helping to guide the concept towards a defined goal. A road map is created to define concrete steps for concept development and setting the points of feedback.

Concept creation

The process of trial and error involves both fun and pain. Everything is possible until it all collapses, at which point the process begins again for a new and better results.

Quick testing and prototyping

Iterative prototyping cycles are carried out from the very beginning of idea creation. Starting quick and easy, everything can be tested and played out. Failing, learning from mistakes and trying again is the way towards outstanding and unexpected results.


Students receive presentation training throughout the project, so that each team member can polish their skills and gain confidence. Twice a year, a D&TF Gala events take place with public presentations and discussions of all the projects.

The aim of the programme is to prepare young professionals by giving them a background in innovation, design or technology so they are able to spark, lead and perform socially and develop economically-viable products or services.