Robot hand reaching for human hand

Let’s jump into the dawn of the new interactional future together!

Activity Rebekah Rousi

The new team at VME would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and an even better New Year! The year 2021, has been marked by changes, challenges and new opportunities. Read Rebekah Rous’s review of the past year and ideas for developing the lab.

Good morning and Merry Christmas!

Let’s jump into the dawn on the new interactional future together!

Robot Graphic VME has been undergoing a process of re-awakening. Very soon after project funding was granted by Pohjanmanliitto to originally develop the Interaction Design Environment, COVID-19 hit, forcing everything to come to a screaming holt. In the first situation like this of post-industrial times, everyone and every organization was at a stand-still in terms of knowing what to do, and more importantly, what to do next.

This year, some important moves were accomplished in order to re-activate VME’s development and activity at an excitingly rapid rate. Firstly, some of the superb teaching staff Laura Havinen, Sebastian Laitila and Minna-Maarit Jaskari (to name some) began by moving their courses and students back into the space and blowing the dust off the equipment. Secondly, a fabulous, ambitious and completely modest cognitive scientist and Associate Professor of Communication and Digital Economy – Rebekah Rousi – was told to take the reigns of the environment’s research development. While smiling wide and pretending she knew what she was doing, Heini Pensar held the fort and worked like a machine to sync plans with people, with stakeholders, with energy and, most importantly, with scientific and Startup life.

To enable amazing things to happen, Professor Heidi Kuusniemi, the even more brilliant director and leader of the Digital Economy Platform, recognized the need to hire more help. Thus, Hannu Honkanen was recruited as VME’s Research Assistant. Hannu’s assisting in anything and everything to do with the practicalities of the environment, right down to increasing accessibility through creating instructions for the equipment. Vaiva is a project researcher, experience research specialist. She’s organizes incredible workshops and hackathons.

Robot Arm GraphicMaria Raatikainen and Eloise Väisänen are our new Coordinators, Communication and Marketing experts. These incredible individuals have extensive experience in industry and are not only beefing up VME’s profile, but are glad to see how they can help out with our partners too.

At VME we are dedicated to creating synergies between science and business. Our main focus is on connecting people (sorry Nokia – but you don’t use it anymore anyway), science and creating new opportunities of all types – business, networks, knowledge and value creation, you name it. We see the value of new scientific discoveries happening at the intersection of learning-by-doing. Students, teachers and researchers are eager to jump into cases and problems that our partners provide. We have some stunning business partners who are also an essential part of our steering committee – ABB, Visma and Wärtsilä – and are extremely excited and open to forging new partnerships with all companies concerned with user interface and interaction design, BIG or small.

VR GlassesAt our hub, everyone’s a learner (teachers, students, societal and business partners), and everyone is a part of our open science community. Our focus is on interaction design development with new technologies and in emerging technological scenarios. Once again, we are extremely focused on value and knowledge creation, and to do so in an ethical, accessible and sustainable way. Our core team has strengths in user experience, interaction design, communication, human logic (cognitive-affective processes), business innovation and are linked to the hardcore side of development – AI programming, 3D printing and fabrication, robotic development and more.

We have smashed our way through the end of this year, and are revved to get into 2022. Please stay tuned and don’t hesitate to reach out! We want to hear from you!

Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! And see you then…

Kindest regards,

Rebekah Rousi
Happy Head of the VME Crew
Associate Professor, School of Marketing and Communication, Communication Studies


Rebekah Rousi Photo

Rebekah Rousi holds a PhD in Cognitive Science. Rousi takes an embodied semiotic approach to examining human experience in the context of technology design.
Since 2009, she has specialized in numerous modes of User Experience ranging from human-robot interaction, elevator travel, graphical user interface interaction and icon design, learning technology interaction design and even industrial design experience. Key topics that have been central to her studies include emotions, trust, ethics and mental wellbeing promotion. Rousi also has a background in cultural studies (MA in Nordic Arts and Cultural Studies – Digital Culture) and as a trained and practicing contemporary artist (performance and printmaking).

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