Tom van Rooij






When designing, I am result-oriented, entrepreneurial and perfectionistic. I am curious to the technical working of solutions of products. This could be electronically, mechanically as well as software solutions. I also like to pioneer with new technologies in the fields of lighting, machine learning and the Internet of Things. When I am designing, I like to integrate such technologies to self-invented, dynamic products and setups. I like to use a hands-on approach to create plenty iterations during my process. The iterations lead me to new solutions.


I like to establish social interactions between people. New technologies like tablets and phones are creating walls between people. I design socially translucent systems, allowing the users to ‘see’ each other’s interactions. My designs aim for removing these walls and limit the social implications between people. My designs bring intuitive interaction approaches. This enables the user to use the basic functionalities of my designs right away. I like to give more advanced control by using interactions that are a bit hidden. These interactions add functionality to my designs while keeping the appearances simplistic and functional.




The upcoming age of interconnected devices such as in the Internet of Things, brings new possibilities and challenges to the field of design; products can communicate to each other, not only nearby, but also to the other side of the world. Standalone products are transforming to connected products in systems.


While such interconnected products expand the systems capabilities, the complexity of the system also increases a lot as all functionalities need to be properly linked together.


As these linked products can accelerate many of our daily activities, it also increases the amount of information and actions we have to process. Advancements in technology improve the computing power of products, creating opportunities for artificial intelligence. I believe this intelligence has to take over actions from the user to reduce this information overload to reduce the cognitive load on people. While I am designing, I aim to reduce this cognitive load by creating positive experiences and atmospheres that can relax the mind.


“...We need space that liberates us from terra firma, allowing our spirits to soar and our imaginations to take flight.”

- John Saladino




Final Master Project: Scope


Scope aims for a better user experience of smart lighting systems in the living room context by enabling the user to make better use of the functionalities these systems provide. Scope is a physical controller which enables the user to apply custom light settings generated by machine learning algorithms, adjust the light settings and it enables the user to explore variations on light settings.




Research Project: Plux


Plux is an interactive controller that aims at enabling the user to control their Philips Hue lighting system, through an explorative manner in the periphery of attention. A user evaluation of Plux in the living room environment of 5 participants for a period of 3 weeks, has shown that an explorative way of controlling their lighting was evaluated positively by the users when the users were open-minded for new light settings. When the users had a very specific demand of the light setting, the users experienced Plux negatively as it was inefficient to find a light setting that matched their needs.






This project was about designing for rich and meaningful interaction in a context of growing systems. First a personal data logger was designed which had the aspects of rich and meaningful interaction. Secondly, data streams from data loggers were analyzed on emergent behavior. The observation was made that the data could be seen as a form of energy. As people spend energy on tasks, a personal data logger could log those energy investments. PowerUp enables its users to make use of that energy during daily activities.






TPSurgery is an interactive surgery assistant system. By the use of Mid-Air gestures, the user is able to adjust the surgery light in a three-dimensional atmosphere as well as controlling the information displayed on the screens. TPSurgery combines a Graphical User Interface with a Tangible User Interface for providing feedback and feedforward to properly control the system.


The prototype has been presented on the Dubai Design week and it got the Silver award in the A' Design Competition. It also won the iF Design Talent award in 2017. A paper has been accepted an published by the HCI Interantional 2017 conference.


Dubai Design Week - A' Silver Design award - iF Design Talent award - Conference paper




GLOW 2016


For GLOW 2016 I worked on two projects which were located at the TU/e campus. Influx presented a research in how crowd flow could be influenced by lighting. This is very relevant for several applications such as train stations and airports in order to guide the crowd in a smooth way. Multiple light patterns were projected in the Markthal at the Metaforum. The crowd was tracked from above using multiple Kinects. This data was later analyzed by experts in this field. My contribution was mainly in making the visual representation which was placed at the end of the Markthal. The intentions for this representation were to show what data was being logged and what the preliminary results indicated. Visitors were able to directly link the representation to the reality, making some people to walk back to the tracking area to check if their assumptions were right.


The other project I worked on was Intermedia. The goal was to establish social interactions between people by means of walls with live generated representations of the people standing in front of it. The representations created links between random people that were standing on the opposite side of the screen. It triggered the users’ curiosity, ingenuity and playfulness as people started to dance, use animals like dogs, objects like umbrellas and their bodies to interact with the people on the other side of the screen. I formed an expert role in the realization part of the technology for this project.




Final Bachelor Project: Spot


In this project I designed a controller for lighting systems in the living room environment. The final concept enabled the user to adjust the brightness of light sources in the living room by manipulating the cups on the table. The system would recognize the type of cups and their formation to make sense of the context and to apply applicable light settings that were used in the past. A cup formation with beverage glasses could for example result in a different light setting than some cups of coffee.




Internship: Het LUX LAB


My internship was about designing for public lighting. I have been working on several projects such as the light plan for an underpass in Ede and designing a stand for the Licht2014 conference.






Budge is an interactive accessory to put on tables in restaurants. Budge responds to the physical interactions between two people at the dining table. When two people lean toward each other, the accessory will change shape, brightness and colour temperature to a more cosy and private setting. When two people lean away from each other the shape will change more open and the object will increase its brightness.






Experio is a new interactive design aimed at a more active relationship between the audience and the performer of modern electronic music. The purpose is to let the people from the crowd have an influence on the sound, so that they can take on responsibilities and shape their own experience. Three entities do interact as a system : the crowd, the crowd musicians and the moderator. The crowd is a general term for people who are dancing in a club and enjoy the music. The crowd musician, also named audience performer, is a person who challenges herself with a new way of interacting with the overall music experience, while the moderator has the skills of a DJ but is willing to co-create music. Experio is designed such that multiple crowd musicians can interact at the same time. Experio has been presented at several international venues, such as the Dutch Design Week, Beijing Design Week, Extrema Outdoor, Bright day, Night of the Nerds, Join the Beat, Kies Techniek Venray and the TU/e Open Days.


Conference paper - Audience Award DDW ID'13 2nd - Dutch Design Week - Night of the Nerds 2014 - Join the Beat






Peculux is a system designed for roller-coasters. The system allows visitors to select a theme for the roller-coaster. By this, roller-coasters' themes can be customized by the visitors which enhances the experiences, even after a couple of runs. The images are projected by single vertical LED strips. Looking at the moving strip will decrease the relative speed, and you will not see the image. By using the Persistence of Vision (PoV) phenomenon, Peculux is able to display an afterimage on your retina. With this, projections can be made in a roller-coaster by passing the system with high speeds. Since the projection is only visible when you pass the system, it is possible to add an element of surprise.




van Rooij Technology Design


As my skillset in technology is constantly developing, I also got more often requested for my expertise.

I decided to start working as freelancer to create a better financial structure. It is now easier for companies and designers to contact me and make use of my expertise. This expertise lies mostly in the development of Printed Circuit Boards (PCB). I am able to design electronic schematics and to transform them into PCBs for all kinds of projects such as controllers for IOT and lamps.

One of the projects I have been working on was [x]Changing Perspectives. I was actively involved during the technology design process. Several iterations were created to make the system work eventually. For the final design, I developed a custom PCB. All prototypes were tested during sessions at congresses and talks.




Robowars Lucid


I joined a team in a 24h marathon, developing three robots for three different challenges. The first challenge was to make a piece of art using the robot. Attaching markers to the robot and sticking an apple on a canvas resulted in a fine piece of art. The second challenge was to pop balloons which were attached to the competitors’ robots. The last challenge was to make a warbot. We attached a circular saw blade to our bot to make it running a killing spree. Creating the robots was a lot of fun and it even resulted in the first price of the overall competence!




Technology and Realization

Rapid prototyping

Laser Cutting

3D Printing


PCB Design

PCB Production

Embedded electronics

Sensors and actuators


Smart lighting systems

Machine learning


Eye for detail

Learning by doing



User evaluation

Research through Design

Scientific reading and writing

Multidisciplinary Teamwork

Business and marketing understanding




PCB Design

PCB Manufacturing

Atmel (Arduino), ESP8266, Teensy, Microchip



C/C++ (Arduino)

Java (Processing)



Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Illustrator

Adobe InDesign

Adobe Muse

Adobe Premiere Pro

Adobe After Effects


Microsoft Office



Cadence OrCAD Capture



Tom van Rooij