Students successfully present prototype of augmented reality app

Andra and Rubina from the Industrial Design Engineering (IDE) degree programme are enthusiastic. During Dutch Design Week (DDW), they successfully presented three promising projects with their fellow students. One of the projects was Hilume: an augmented reality app. It allows people to find what they really need when they are shopping.

Hilume offers an answer to the question: which technology can you use to add value to the physical shopping experience? In the app, you can enter various parameters such as “gluten-free”. When you walk through the shop with the device in your hand, only products which meet the requirements you have entered appear on the screen.

Educational

Developing Hilume was an educational process for Andra who says, “We started totally from scratch and examined the various technologies that we could use. We very quickly chose augmented reality. Then we had to program and code it and build the prototype. These were all things we had never done before.”

Engaging in discussions

The assignment for the students came from the Innovation Networks research group. Senior researcher Anja Overdiek is pleased with the result. “In the research group we work with different degree programmes and fields. What we see each time is that a tangible design brings various stakeholders to the discussion table. It creates space for constructive partnerships and accelerates processes.”

Sugar-free

In this case, the research group wanted to start a discussion about the possibilities offered by technology for shopkeepers. The moment of truth came during Dutch Design Week: how would people respond to the app? Students worked flat out for six days to collect feedback. Anja: “The reactions were very enthusiastic. For instance, some people said: “This is ideal for helping children choose sugar-free options.” This is the way that Hilume really adds something to the discussion about future-proof retail.”

Unexpected interest

An important goal of attending DDW was to build a network and find partners to further develop the prototype. The new contacts made by the students were not only from the retail sector, according to Rubina: “It was very surprising how many different sectors were interested in Hilume. For instance, doctors saw the possibilities of using the app in their practice, as did people from the museum world. Moreover, we will soon have a meeting with someone from the Stedelijk Museum. Of course, we continue to focus on retail, but at the same time we can also explore and develop other uses for Hilume.

Design project

Hilume was developed during the “design project” – a six-month module taught by lecturer Shahab Zehtabchi as part of his PhD research at Eindhoven University of Technology. He is researching how products developed during the module are able to support and strengthen international partnerships. Two other products which emerged from the module and which were also presented during DDW were products for supporting international organisations such as Doctors Without Borders. There was also a lot of interest in these products. Visitors even asked how they could offer donations for the products.