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Robert Phillips

PhD Work

The Bee Lab kit: activities engaging motivated lay users in the use of open technologies for Citizen Science activities

Supervisors: Professor Ashley Hall and Dr Sharon Baurley


  • Robert Phillips
  • PhD


    School of Design


    Design Products, 2011–2015

  • Robert Phillips is a product designer and has worked on a wide range of projects, across mass manufacture design to bespoke ceramics. He has initiated patents, developed techniques for ambulance fittings and worked on bulletproof cars. He has worked for DMR bikes for 15 years on limited-edition products and concepts that have been produced for 10 years by manufacturers in the United Kingdom and Taiwan. He helped establish the design manufacturing and applications for material development company d3o with clients ranging from Quicksilver and Puma to Victorinox, GB Athletes and the Ministry of Defence (MOD). Currently he is completing a PhD in Design Products at the Royal College of Art, investigating Citizen Science and Open Design for grassroots initiatives. He collaborates with organisations including Technology Will Save Us, The Honey Club, Horizon Digital Economy Research and the British Beekeepers Association to deliver beehive-monitoring devices for the Bee Lab project. His main focus is aligning design or technological interventions with end users desires and needs.

  • Publications

  • Phillips, R., Dexter, M., Atkinson, P. & Baurley, S. (2014) Standard Deviation: Ensuring Quality and Replicability in Open Design Practice (pending); Tooze, J., Phillips, R., Smith, S., Foote, E., Silve. S. & Baurley, S. (2014) ‘Clip-it-on, Actively Testing Rapid Manufacture in a Retail Space with Lead Users’ (The Design Journal pending); Tooze, J., Phillips, R., Smith, S., Foote, E., Silve. S. & Baurley, S. (2014) ‘Open Design: Contributions, Solutions, Processes and Projects’ (The Design Journal accepted); Phillips, R. & Baurley, S. (2014) ‘Exploring Open Design for the Application of Citizen Science; a Toolkit Methodology’, 8th Design Research Society conference: Design’s Big Debates (Umea, Sweden 16-19 June 2014); Phillips, R., Silve, S. & Baurley, S. (2014) ‘Open Design and Citizen Science: Workshop Findings’, Design Issues, 30:4 (forthcoming); Phillips, R., Blum, J., Brown, M. & Baurley, S. (2014) ‘Testing a Grassroots Citizen Science Venture Using Open Design, “the Bee Lab Project”’, ACM. CHI’14: Proceedings of the 32nd international conference on Human factors in computing systems, 1951–6; Phillips, R., Lockton, D., Baurley, S. & Silve, S. (2013) ‘Making Instructions for Others: Exploring Mental Models Through a Simple Exercise’, Interactions, 20: 5, 74–9; Phillips, R., Ford, Y., Sadler, K., Silve, S., & Baurley, S. (2013) ‘Open Design: Non-Professional User-designers Creating Products for Citizen Science, a Case Study of Beekeepers’, Human Computer Interaction International, United States: Springer, 54; Phillips, R., Silve, S. & Baurley, S. (2013) ‘What Are The Opportunities in Partnering Open Design with Citizen Science for Bespoke Monitoring within Hobby or Niche Communities?’, ResCon 13, London: Brunel University; Phillips, R., Silve, S., & Baurley, S. (2013) ‘The Practical Maker: Investigating the Definitions and Requirements of and Exploring the Motivations Behind Bespoke Making’, Crafting the Future, 10th European Design Conference (EAD), Gothenburg University; Phillips, R., Silve, S., & Baurley, S. (2012) ‘The Trust of a Maker and Making to Trust’, Future Everything 2012, Manchester: Future Everything; Gaver, W., Boucher, A., Bowers, J., Blythe, M., Jarvis, N., Cameron, D., Kerridge, T., Wilkie, A., Phillips, R., Wright, P. (2011) ‘The Photostroller: Supporting Diverse Care Home Residents in Engaging with the World’, CHI’11, Vancouver, British Columbia