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Filippo Sanzeni

PhD Work

Soft Wearable Robotic Systems for Sensory Augmentation

MA work


Subsonic is a product system service which employs bioacoustics monitoring and machine learning to monitor in real time leafhoppers infestations, to reduce the use of pesticides and, ultimately, render them superfluous. 

Subsonic is a project focussed on the fruitful entanglement of design, science, sound and the public sphere. My goal is to advance both design and science by “thinking about the future of science in the context of design – as well as design in the context of science” (Ito, 2016) and to prototype the process in a way which is in accordance with open source and DIY methodologies. The background for this impulse lies in three loosely related notions: anti-disciplinarity, DIY bioacoustics and citizen science. 

I developed an Open Source and low-cost piezoelectric sensor, able to pick up sub-hearing oscillations produced by insects. The data generated, after being analysed by a machine learning algorithm based on a technique called t-SNE, is able to flag potential phytoplasma (a particularly destructive bacterial parasite) outbreaks in farms.


  • Filippo Sanzeni
  • PhD


    School of Design


    Design Research, 2018–

  • MA Degree


    School of Design


    MA Service Design, 2018

  • I am a designer and PhD Candidate at the Royal College of Art's Robotics Laboratory, researching human augmentation from design robotics and embodied cognition perspectives.  I am specifically looking at layering audio spatial information in mixed reality by developing a new bone conduction headset and indoor localisation system for delivering immersive content. 

    I hold a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication Design from Politecnico di Milano with a dissertation about the Phenomenology and emotion in interaction design. I then graduated with an MA in Service Design from the RCA, with a dissertation about future forecasting as a tool and methodology for the design practice.

  • Degrees

  • Bachelor Communication Design, Politecnico di Milano, 2016; MA Service Design, Royal College of Art, 2018
  • Exhibitions

  • DIY Bioacoustics: Eavesdropping on Nature, Cambridge University, Cambridge, 2017; Artificial Intelligence and Future Agency, Beirut Design Week, Beirut, 2017; Design X Designers, Via Durando 8, Milan, 2015
  • Publications

  • Filippo Sanzeni, Ashley Hall, Paul Anderson, Future Forecasting Wicked Problems: A New Framework, Design and Semantics of Form and Movement For Design 2019 – Beyond Intelligence, pp.26–34