Seventh Framework Programme

In 2012, our consortium’s submitted EU proposal were among the 3 out of 32 competing entries that got through the second submission round, meaning that grants were given.
In this project, designers and scientists joined forces to develop a new generation of smart materials that can sense touch and movement and respond with light. The fact that the project involved industry secured a steady way towards realisation of the ideas.
Diffus Design was proud to be part of this very skilled consortium and to get involved into 3.5 years of pioneering work that for the first time EU have called for designers and engineers to collaborate through the whole development process.

Loss of appetite

Through EAT we propose to support a good eating situation by creating a joyful and calm atmosphere around the child. Our aim is to create ‘magic’ in the eating situation by creating an interactive set of tableware that will use storytelling, playfulness, encouragement and rewarding attitude through sensor technology, light and haptic feedback.
Loss of appetite is a general problem during a stay in hospital, and for children that are not old enough to understand the importance of getting sufficient calories it is a major problem. Especially children with cancer suffer from ‘mouth blindness’ and zero appetite. Different precautions can be made in order to ensure an adequate intake of calories where the obvious one of course is connected to size, frequency and appearance of the food.

The inviting glass, the playful bowl and the rewarding plate…

Through the combination of smart materials and natural materials like ceramics, glass, wood and rubber we emphasize enchantment. Light and haptic feedback appears in the natural materials because the sensor technology and different outputs only work and are visible when combined with the natural. We emphasize sensibility and durability and thereby create an intriguing eating situation. When the child places the glass the bowl and the plate on the tablecloth the tablecloth will know and will begin to invite the child to drink from the glass. After that the bowl will start to play with the child – cheating, hiding, giggling – and finally the plate rewards the child when she has been interacting with the whole set of tableware for a duration of time.

Building the prototype – Glass, bowl and plate

We collaborated with a ceramist who is working in porcelain and glass. We created a set of tableware with simple geometric shapes but with emphasis on the bottom of the respective pieces. We work on translucency in the material along side with durability in use. The geometric shape is as neutral as possible in order to create maximum attention to the ‘magic’ light that shines through the material.
– Building the prototype – Glass, bowl and plate

Building the prototype – The table cloth

The table cloth has several active layers that gathers in a side bar that have a control unit and batteries. The OLED grid is composed by 5 identical 7×7 OLED grids. A cache makes sure we obtain the organic look we are seeking.The sensors are a combination of piezo strips and light sensors in order to maximize the analysis of where and when the tableware is present.

This video presents the project and the method of working.

The product IS the interface

There were 11 science and technology objectives that framed the mission of our consortium:

  1. Achieve continuous and intensive dialogue between product designers and material researchers
  2. Implement and validate an effective design-driven materials R&D methodology
  3. Develop fully-flexible Piezo plastics for low-cost, high-volume touch sensing applications
  4. Develop fully-flexible OLEDs with improved aesthetic properties for signage applications
  5. Develop fully-novel thin, flexible, integrated touch-sensitive luminous materials
  6. Develop a range of tactile qualities
  7. Develop manufacturing methods to integrate ‘light touch materials’ into parts and products
  8. Design novel product interfaces that exploit the unique touch and luminosity properties
  9. Assure best-in-class environmental impact of the materials and products developed
  10. Assure broad application of the novel smart materials developed in the creative and general industry
  11. Foster design-driven materials innovation in the EU


TheCorsortium members:

  1. Technische Universiteit Delft
  2. Trend Union (Studio Edelkoort)
  3. Diffus Design Aps
  4. Fuelfor SL
  5. Fjord SL
  6. Pilotfish Gmbh
  7. Lamb Industries Ltd
  8. Minima Design Ltd
  9. Van Berlo BV
  10. Grado Zero Espace Srl
  11. Aito Interactive Oy
  12. Material Connexion Italia Srl
  13. Bax&Willems SL
  14. Holst Centre
  15. Brunel University
  16. University College London
  17. Mälardalen Högskola


For more information about Light.Touch.Matters and the consortium visit:
Light.Touch.Matters’ facebook page
Light.Touch.Matters’ LinkedIn group

Official press release: LTM press release