Research group at imec & Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Tom Seymoens


Personal Description

The creation of technological artefacts is accompanied by many design choices. Though not always visible for their users, they steer and limit interaction. My personal interest and enthusiasm lies in exploring the different methods through which users explore and augment their agency in dealing with boundaries set by technology. I investigate how the restriction of designers’ intent is overcome by creative and alternative perspectives. Through my research, I delve into approaches to open up user involvement in the creation of new technologies, mapping the affordances closer to the actual needs. At SMIT, I get the chance to experience the traditional ways of social requirement collection as well as to look into novel methods for decoupling content and capabilities from fixed technologies, allowing users to generate their own tools when they need it.

In 2012, I obtained a master’s degree in New Media and Society at the university of Ghent. After a period of wandering around abroad to gain some additional experience through internships, I started working at SMIT in 2014 on a project on enhancing user empowerment with regards to their online data. More recently, I am in involved in the DiSSeCt-project on automatic workflow composition in the health and transport sector. Additionally, I look for methods to include domain experts’ explicit and tacit knowledge in the creation of algorithms and I have been working on user engagement and motivation mechanisms for citizen science projects. I also look for new ways that could stimulate the collaboration of researchers with different disciplinary backgrounds.