Studies on Media, Information and Telecommunication (SMIT)

At a glance:
  • Faculty: Economy and Social Sciences
  • 44 researchers
  • 21 EU Projects
  • 2 SBO's
  • Main areas of expertise:
    • Human Robot Interaction,
    • Participatory Design,
    • Co-creation,
    • User Experience and acceptance studies,
    • Business and policy analysis.

The research group Studies on Media, Information and Telecommunication (SMIT) is specialized in social scientific research on media and ICT. Her goal is:

  • to understand the impact of technology on everyday practices,
  • and to create design and strategic guidelines to shape innovation responding to user needs and expectations

SMIT research combines user, policy and business analysis with both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies. In order to develop new methodological tools, a continuing dialectic between theory and empirical research is one of SMIT's high-level objectives.

As part of the Strategic Research Center iMINDS, SMIT built expertise in demand driven research and works towards multiple valorization tracks. Her experience is available in several application domains, but also in healthcare and aging society. Her Living Lab methodology is championed in Flanders and Europe.

Current and future practices with new digital tools in healthcare and wellbeing

"Digital Health" is one of the main research focusses of SMIT. Current practices are used as a starting point and are combined with co-creation activities, real-life experimentation in lab and in everyday pilots and interdisciplinary work to ’ground’ future innovations in health and make them both desirable and economically sustainable. The unit is active in digital healthcare research since 2005 and participates in Flemish applied interdisciplinary research projects and in European projects.

In their work, the focus is put on three domains:

  • Self-management and persuasive technology: for example use and development of mobile coaching apps
  • Human-robot interaction and (in)dependency: for example use and development of surgical and care robots influence
  • People centered algorithms and decision support: for example context aware nurse call systems

Throughout these domains, we have defined four main focal points in our research questions:

  • Integration of digital innovations in the daily practices, processes and collaborations in healthcare and wellbeing
  • Digital inclusion in healthcare (from both the care receiver as (in)formal caregiver point of view)
  • Migration path towards sustainable healthcare models
  • Living Lab methodology in the healthcare domain

The output we typically deliver can be summarized as:

1. Insights on the daily use of new digital solutions in the healthcare domain.
2. New service, concept and business model ideas, with an assessment of their strengths and weaknesses.
3. Creating a fit of added value for multiple stakeholders involved.
4. Interdisciplinary methodological development and support

Some of our research projects on Human Robot Interaction offer a great view on our work:

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