Dr Alaster Yoxall PhD, BEng
Engineering Design Principal Research Fellow
Art & Design Research Centre
Phone: 0114 225 6754
Fax: 0114 225 6931
My primary interests through Lab4living are generally threefold.
Firstly, the understanding of how people access and use products, using technologies such as computational simulation, analytical analysis, force sensors and motion capture, along with other techniques such as video ethnography and qualitative interviews to analyse and understand this issue.
The second strand is how this work can inform design thinking and conversely how design thinking can inform this work. As an engineer there’s a lot to learn from the design community about what and how we generate our knowledge and data, and how it can be constructively used.
Finally, I’m interested in the application of numerical models and mathematical techniques to the solution of everyday problems. An example of this is developing research into the use of uncertainty principles to understand pain and discomfort.
What inspires and motivates me? I’ve always been interested in what could be called visionaries and radical thinkers. Politically, the Diggers and Levellers, Thomas Paine and Chartists amongst many others. I have to admit to being fascinated by some of the radical thinking emanating from the English Civil war and its context.
I’ve also been heavily influenced by the great engineers. I was always spellbound by their vision and ability to change the World. So Thomas Telford, George Stephenson and Isambard Kingdom Brunel, I salute you. In some ways this mix of art and design, engineering and people pushing boundaries can be exemplified by Turner’s ‘Rain, Steam and Speed’ a truly stunning work of a train crossing Brunel’s flat arches of Maidenhead viaduct.
Lastly, my dad. A man who has, to me, these timeless principles running through his veins in some small and humble way. And he’s never heard of Turner.