BaharEH Barati

Ph.D. Candidate – Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands

[email protected]



Dr. Elvin Karana

Prof. Dr. Paul Hekkert

Bahareh is currently working towards her Ph.D. degree on the topic of creative design with underdeveloped smart materials. In the context of Light.Touch.Matters, a European Union FP7 project (2013-2016), she has explored the situation of designing in “upstream” collaborative projects to enable “design-driven” material innovation.  Her work acknowledges that looking at product design as an ad-hoc wrapping for some pre-determined material characteristics overshadows the importance of making and realizing in “negotiation with the material”. Giving power to this overlooked voice in discovering new possibilities with underdeveloped materials, her research put forward a number of theoretical and practical design supports (Hyperlink to the LTM design tool). The design supports particularly focus on characterizing and communicating the temporal and experiential aspects of these underdeveloped smart materials, as the development team explore the unique potentials of material-product development. Prior to this PhD research, Bahareh acquired her M.Sc. (cum laude) in Integrated Product Design from Technical University of Delft in 2012. In collaboration with Phillips Research (Eindhoven, the Netherlands), she developed a probe set for sensory evaluation of textile materials for her graduation project (Hyperlink to graduation project). In 2013, she was nominated for UfD-Royal HaskoningDHV Best Graduate Award. Bahareh is an alumnus of the University of Tehran and has maintained her contact with this university, through providing guidance and recently a workshop on interaction design (hyperlink to the news).

Current Project


February 2013 marked the start of Light.Touch.Matters, in which designers and material researchers joined forces to develop a completely new generation of smart materials that can sense touch and respond with luminescence. The base technologies are novel piezo plastics and flexible organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). Being thin, flexible and formable, these ‘light touch materials’ promise to revolutionize product design by integrating luminescence and touch in such a way that eventually the product becomes the interface (Project Link).

In this project, Bahareh’s reserach aims at supporting a more profound understanding of underdeveloped smart material composites and their potentials. To that aim, she developed functional demonstrators that instantiate the design space, physical probes that explicate the (material-related) design variables, and a hybrid tool that allows for higher fidelity experiences of these underdeveloped smart materials. Together these components constitute a design toolkit


  1. Barati, B., Karana, E., Foole, M. (2017). Experience Prototyping’ Smart Material Composites. In Alive. Active. Adaptive: Proceedings of International Conference on Experiential Knowledge and Emerging Materials (EKSIG 2017), June 19-20, Delft, the Netherlands, pp. 50-65. 

  2. Barati, B., Karana, E., & Hekkert, P. (in review, available upon request). Understanding The Experiential Qualities of Light Touch Matters: Toward a Tool Kit. Journal of Artifact.

  3. Jansen, K., Claus, S., Barati, B. (2017). Designing of a semi-transparent Electroluminescent Umbrella. In Proceedings of Smart System Integration.  

  4. Barati, B., Karana, E., Jansen, K., & Hekkert, P. (2016, February). Functional Demonstrators to Support Understanding of Smart Materials. In Proceedings of the TEI’16: Tenth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction (pp. 386-391). ACM. 

  5. Barati, B., Karana, E., & Hekkert, P., Jönsthövel, I. (2015, November). Designing with an Underdeveloped Computational Composite for Materials Experience. In Proceedings of EKSIG 2015: Experiential Knowledge Special Interest Group.

  6. Barati, B., Karana, E, Hekkert, P. (2015, October). From Way Finding in the Dark to Interactive CPR Trainer: Designing with Computational Composites. In Proceedings of DesForm 2015.

  7. Barati, B., Karana, E., Sekulovski, D., & Pont, S. C. (2015). Retail lighting and textiles: Designing a lighting probe set. Lighting Research and Technology, 1-22.
  8. Karana, E., Barati, B., Rognoli, V., & Zeeuw Van Der Laan, A. (2015). Material driven design (MDD): A method to design for material experiences. International journal of design, 19 (2) 2015.

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