Weston Baxter

Research fellow 2017 - Abstracting principles of contaminated interaction
4TU Delft
4TU Eindhoven
4TU Twente
4TU Wageningen

Weston Baxter seeks to create meaningful experiences. To do so, the Design Engineer looks to the other end of the spectrum, investigating how human interactions become tainted in some way. These contaminated interactions come in many forms —from noisy office spaces, which can reduce productivity to foul odors in shared vehicles or misleading product evaluations due to paid reviews—, all of which directly impact the economy, the environment and even our personal well-being.

“Contaminated interactions are not just about these mental associations that live in our mind, it’s also tangible, measurable alterations to the product that taint it,” Baxter says. “So I’m coming up with methods for diagnosing and designing around this idea of contamination. [...] I see it as a way to frame a lot of significant design problems.”

After completing his Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering at Utah’s Brigham Young University (BYU), Baxter took on several business development roles in the energy, technology and healthcare sectors. He also worked as a Research Assistant for BYU’s Compliant Mechanism Research Group. In 2013, Baxter went on to pursue his PhD in Design Engineering at the Dyson School of Design Engineering at Imperial College London where he serves as an Assistant Professor.


“There are huge contextual shifts in how we interact with each other, how we interact with the world around us, and that has to be understood if we want to make meaningful experiences for people moving forward.”

 

Contamination and the Circular Economy

Although contaminated interactions occur in many different contexts, Baxter focuses on its impact on the Circular Economy as a Design United Research Fellow. Heralded as an alternative to the traditional linear economic model (make, use, dispose), the Circular Economy involves the reuse, remanufacture and recycle of materials. That said, contamination poses a considerable problem in relation to the perceived value of products since these goods move between uses and users.

“This becomes really important in the Circular Economy because when we talk about reusing or sharing things, we’re dealing with things that somebody else has touched or used,” Baxter claims. “We even see it in remanufactured goods. People have this concept that it’s not a pure interaction. It’s not the same interaction you would have if it was a brand new item.”

In order to address this issue, Baxter works with Delft University of Technology to abstract the principles of contaminated interaction and apply them to the design of product-service systems. “How do we integrate this into the design process?” Baxter asks. “We’re looking at how product-service systems relate to contaminated interaction and how companies can incorporate interventions to maintain the value of their products.”
 

Design in the mainstream

Taking into account the rapid changes in consumer values and the economy at large, Baxter sees design as being more accepted in the mainstream, thereby expanding the opportunities for research. In terms of contaminated interaction, the issue extends to a digital context with companies upgrading software features —such as seeing less of the person you broke up with on social media— to mitigate its effects. Baxter hopes that his research can lead to improved product-service systems through the development of creative design solutions and proper checks and balances.

“There are huge contextual shifts in how we interact with each other, how we interact with the world around us, and that has to be understood if we want to make meaningful experiences for people moving forward.”


About Weston

Personal profile of Weston Baxter
Research fellow 201
Abstracting principles of contaminated interaction”

Weston Baxter seeks to create meaningful experiences. To do so, the Design Engineer looks to the other end of the spectrum, investigating how human interactions become tainted in some way. These contaminated interactions come in many forms —from noisy office spaces, which can reduce productivity to foul odors in shared vehicles or misleading product evaluations due to paid reviews—, all of which directly impact the economy, the environment and even our personal well-being.

“Contaminated interactions are not just about these mental associations that live in our mind, it’s also tangible, measurable alterations to the product that taint it,” Baxter says. “So I’m coming up with methods for diagnosing and designing around this idea of contamination. [...] I see it as a way to frame a lot of significant design problems.”

After completing his Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering at Utah’s Brigham Young University (BYU), Baxter took on several business development roles in the energy, technology and healthcare sectors. He also worked as a Research Assistant for BYU’s Compliant Mechanism Research Group. In 2013, Baxter went on to pursue his PhD in Design Engineering at the Dyson School of Design Engineering at Imperial College London where he serves as an Assistant Professor.


“There are huge contextual shifts in how we interact with each other, how we interact with the world around us, and that has to be understood if we want to make meaningful experiences for people moving forward.”

 

Contamination and the Circular Economy

Although contaminated interactions occur in many different contexts, Baxter focuses on its impact on the Circular Economy as a Design United Research Fellow. Heralded as an alternative to the traditional linear economic model (make, use, dispose), the Circular Economy involves the reuse, remanufacture and recycle of materials. That said, contamination poses a considerable problem in relation to the perceived value of products since these goods move between uses and users.

“This becomes really important in the Circular Economy because when we talk about reusing or sharing things, we’re dealing with things that somebody else has touched or used,” Baxter claims. “We even see it in remanufactured goods. People have this concept that it’s not a pure interaction. It’s not the same interaction you would have if it was a brand new item.”

In order to address this issue, Baxter works with Delft University of Technology to abstract the principles of contaminated interaction and apply them to the design of product-service systems. “How do we integrate this into the design process?” Baxter asks. “We’re looking at how product-service systems relate to contaminated interaction and how companies can incorporate interventions to maintain the value of their products.”
 

Design in the mainstream

Taking into account the rapid changes in consumer values and the economy at large, Baxter sees design as being more accepted in the mainstream, thereby expanding the opportunities for research. In terms of contaminated interaction, the issue extends to a digital context with companies upgrading software features —such as seeing less of the person you broke up with on social media— to mitigate its effects. Baxter hopes that his research can lead to improved product-service systems through the development of creative design solutions and proper checks and balances.

“There are huge contextual shifts in how we interact with each other, how we interact with the world around us, and that has to be understood if we want to make meaningful experiences for people moving forward.”


About Weston

Personal profile of Weston Baxter
Research fellow 201
Abstracting principles of contaminated interaction”

Weston Baxter

Weston Baxter seeks to create meaningful experiences. To do so, the Design Engineer looks to the other end of the spectrum, investigating how human interactions become tainted in some way. These contaminated interactions come in many forms —from noisy office spaces, which can reduce productivity to foul odors in shared vehicles or misleading product evaluations due to paid reviews—, all of which directly impact the economy, the environment and even our personal well-being.

“Contaminated interactions are not just about these mental associations that live in our mind, it’s also tangible, measurable alterations to the product that taint it,” Baxter says. “So I’m coming up with methods for diagnosing and designing around this idea of contamination. [...] I see it as a way to frame a lot of significant design problems.”

After completing his Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering at Utah’s Brigham Young University (BYU), Baxter took on several business development roles in the energy, technology and healthcare sectors. He also worked as a Research Assistant for BYU’s Compliant Mechanism Research Group. In 2013, Baxter went on to pursue his PhD in Design Engineering at the Dyson School of Design Engineering at Imperial College London where he serves as an Assistant Professor.


“There are huge contextual shifts in how we interact with each other, how we interact with the world around us, and that has to be understood if we want to make meaningful experiences for people moving forward.”

 

Contamination and the Circular Economy

Although contaminated interactions occur in many different contexts, Baxter focuses on its impact on the Circular Economy as a Design United Research Fellow. Heralded as an alternative to the traditional linear economic model (make, use, dispose), the Circular Economy involves the reuse, remanufacture and recycle of materials. That said, contamination poses a considerable problem in relation to the perceived value of products since these goods move between uses and users.

“This becomes really important in the Circular Economy because when we talk about reusing or sharing things, we’re dealing with things that somebody else has touched or used,” Baxter claims. “We even see it in remanufactured goods. People have this concept that it’s not a pure interaction. It’s not the same interaction you would have if it was a brand new item.”

In order to address this issue, Baxter works with Delft University of Technology to abstract the principles of contaminated interaction and apply them to the design of product-service systems. “How do we integrate this into the design process?” Baxter asks. “We’re looking at how product-service systems relate to contaminated interaction and how companies can incorporate interventions to maintain the value of their products.”
 

Design in the mainstream

Taking into account the rapid changes in consumer values and the economy at large, Baxter sees design as being more accepted in the mainstream, thereby expanding the opportunities for research. In terms of contaminated interaction, the issue extends to a digital context with companies upgrading software features —such as seeing less of the person you broke up with on social media— to mitigate its effects. Baxter hopes that his research can lead to improved product-service systems through the development of creative design solutions and proper checks and balances.

“There are huge contextual shifts in how we interact with each other, how we interact with the world around us, and that has to be understood if we want to make meaningful experiences for people moving forward.”


About Weston

Personal profile of Weston Baxter
Research fellow 201
Abstracting principles of contaminated interaction”

Weston Baxter seeks to create meaningful experiences. To do so, the Design Engineer looks to the other end of the spectrum, investigating how human interactions become tainted in some way. These contaminated interactions come in many forms —from noisy office spaces, which can reduce productivity to foul odors in shared vehicles or misleading product evaluations due to paid reviews—, all of which directly impact the economy, the environment and even our personal well-being.

“Contaminated interactions are not just about these mental associations that live in our mind, it’s also tangible, measurable alterations to the product that taint it,” Baxter says. “So I’m coming up with methods for diagnosing and designing around this idea of contamination. [...] I see it as a way to frame a lot of significant design problems.”

After completing his Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering at Utah’s Brigham Young University (BYU), Baxter took on several business development roles in the energy, technology and healthcare sectors. He also worked as a Research Assistant for BYU’s Compliant Mechanism Research Group. In 2013, Baxter went on to pursue his PhD in Design Engineering at the Dyson School of Design Engineering at Imperial College London where he serves as an Assistant Professor.


“There are huge contextual shifts in how we interact with each other, how we interact with the world around us, and that has to be understood if we want to make meaningful experiences for people moving forward.”

 

Contamination and the Circular Economy

Although contaminated interactions occur in many different contexts, Baxter focuses on its impact on the Circular Economy as a Design United Research Fellow. Heralded as an alternative to the traditional linear economic model (make, use, dispose), the Circular Economy involves the reuse, remanufacture and recycle of materials. That said, contamination poses a considerable problem in relation to the perceived value of products since these goods move between uses and users.

“This becomes really important in the Circular Economy because when we talk about reusing or sharing things, we’re dealing with things that somebody else has touched or used,” Baxter claims. “We even see it in remanufactured goods. People have this concept that it’s not a pure interaction. It’s not the same interaction you would have if it was a brand new item.”

In order to address this issue, Baxter works with Delft University of Technology to abstract the principles of contaminated interaction and apply them to the design of product-service systems. “How do we integrate this into the design process?” Baxter asks. “We’re looking at how product-service systems relate to contaminated interaction and how companies can incorporate interventions to maintain the value of their products.”
 

Design in the mainstream

Taking into account the rapid changes in consumer values and the economy at large, Baxter sees design as being more accepted in the mainstream, thereby expanding the opportunities for research. In terms of contaminated interaction, the issue extends to a digital context with companies upgrading software features —such as seeing less of the person you broke up with on social media— to mitigate its effects. Baxter hopes that his research can lead to improved product-service systems through the development of creative design solutions and proper checks and balances.

“There are huge contextual shifts in how we interact with each other, how we interact with the world around us, and that has to be understood if we want to make meaningful experiences for people moving forward.”


About Weston

Personal profile of Weston Baxter
Research fellow 201
Abstracting principles of contaminated interaction”