René van Egmond Photo
Segal Seminar Series

René van Egmond

October 19, 2010, 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center
1.350 ITW Classroom
2133 Sheridan Rd. Evanston, IL 60208

Product Sound Design and Perception: Making Sense of Sound


I will present an overview of our research on the design and perception of product sounds. In product sound design we distinguish between two main groups of product sounds: consequential sounds, which are a result of the operating of the mechanical parts of an appliance, and intentional sounds, which are intentionally incorporated into a device, e.g., alarm sounds and feedback sounds. Each of these types of sounds needs different design skills and relates to different perceptual processes. People often use information radiated from products (e.g., domestic appliances) subconsciously. We have initiated a research program to determine the perceptual categories of product sounds and their semantic associations. We applied this knowledge to projects for industry (e.g., Philips, P&G, Gillette). In addition, we conducted research on the design of alarm sounds, the use of sounds in branding, and the use sounds in ambient environments. Our most recent research focuses on the interaction between different perceptual modalities (visual, auditory, and tactile).


René van Egmond is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering of the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft). His research interests are related to the perception and the design of industrial products. He has a background in musical acoustics, psycho-acoustics, experimental psychology, music theory, and music psychology. He obtained his PhD at the Nijmegen Institute for Cognition and Information (NICI, University of Nijmegen). After he worked as a university post-doctoral fellow at The Ohio State University, he was awarded an Individual Post-doctoral Grant by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) and returned to NICI. In 2000, he joined the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering of TU Delft. At TU Delft, he initiated a research program on Product Sound Design and Perception. In addition to his research, he teaches several courses on auditory perception, product sound design, methods and techniques for research, and statistics.

Learn more about Product Sound Design.

Co-sponsored by the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and the Segal Design Institute

Contact Phillip Jacob at 847-467-3533 or for further questions.