Technology can now tell if you like someone’s shoes, but would prefer them in another colour

Two conference awards for Caroline Li's machine learning research

Trainers lined up in a row

Dr Caroline Li‘s  research in using brain imaging technologies and AI to generate images could be transformative in the way in which humans interact with technology to signal their preferences in design.

Caroline said; ‘We are now capable of using technology to understand and visualise what a person may be thinking using the brain’s EEG signals. So for example, if someone is unable to verbally communicate, we can tell that they are thinking about wanting to sit in a chair with deeper cushions. Or, using this technology I could also tell if you liked my shoes but would prefer them in red. This is something that could transform the ways that we use technology to personalise design to our wants and needs.’

Caroline is a collaborating supervisor of the paper ‘Human-in-the-Loop Design with Machine Learning‘ which looked into a design method where brain EEG signals are used to capture preferable design features, such as those for fashion or furniture.

The paper was recently recognised with two awards at the International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED19). The conference’s theme was Responsible Design for our Future and explored the impact designers impact may cause in a complex world we do not fully understand.

The paper was given The Design Society Distinguished Paper Award, which recognises papers distinguished for their quality of scholarship, creativity, or contribution to design practice. In addition, it also received a Reviewers’ Favourite award which acknowledged it was the top 10% of papers presented at ICED19, based on the scores given by the reviewers.