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Yong-Gyun Ghim, IDSA

Assistant Professor, University of Cincinnati

Yong-Gyun Ghim, IDSA

Yong-Gyun Ghim is an Assistant Professor of Industrial Design at the University of Cincinnati. He holds an MDes in Human-Centered Product Design from the IIT Institute of Design in Chicago and an MS in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Seoul National University in South Korea.

Before joining UC, he had worked as an industrial designer for LG Electronics in Korea and Midea in China for thirteen years. Among his many design works, robot vacuum cleaners for LG earned him several international design awards. His current research interests are a systematic design process for emerging technologies and robot morphology.

A Product-Service System Approach for Designing Mobile Robots

Education Symposium

Rapid Fire Group A

August 25, 2023

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM


There has been an increasing need for new robot development as more robots get introduced in homes and public spaces. Accordingly, industrial design programs are facing the demand of having robots covered in their curricula. However, dealing with robots in studio courses is challenging for design educators due to robots’ unique nature of autonomous and dynamic behavior, and their connectivity to a bigger system. While traditional industrial design practice has focused on discovering user needs and translating them to desirable, feasible, and viable physical products, the complex nature of robots asks for new design approaches and methods. This paper proposes to view a robot as a product-service system based on systems thinking and examines the methods for designing mobile robots that have been applied to studio projects at a university’s industrial design program. It starts with analyzing the characteristics of mobile robots from the literature on human-robot interaction (HRI), which leads to a need to understand and design robots from a large system perspective with service as one of the core components. At the same time, robots are interactive physical artifacts with complex internal components. Accordingly, visual mapping tools from service design and interaction design are examined and their adjusted forms are proposed to better fit designing mobile robots. By taking three years’ accumulation of studio projects as case studies, this paper further looks into the application of the proposed approach and tools, design process, and outcomes, followed by discussions on the effectiveness and limitations of this approach.

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