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Design Futures

Filipe Magalhaes

2016 - Auburn University: BA Industrial Design

2017 - Ironhack: UX/UI Design Technical Certificate

2021 - Royal College of Art: MA Design Products - Design Futures


- Started the first annual hovercraft tournament during his high school studies

- Will be featured in the Luminaries Magazine

- Will be exhibiting his work in the London Design Festival

- Panelist of the Sharing Biological Practices Symposium

- Member of Sapiens Collective, a cross platform student led group at RCA

- Co-owner of the utility patent for PR Pro

- Design patent pending for an electric motorcycle design


2D/3D Sketching || User Research & Testing || Lean/Agile Methodologies || Model Making/Prototyping || Manufacturing/CMF Processes

Empathy || Teamwork || Public Speaking || Design Thinking || Lean/Agile Methodologies

Figma || Invision || Keyshot || Indesign || Illustrator || Photoshop || HTML5/CSS3 || SOLIDWORKS || Autodesk Fusion 360

Chromatact explores the future of human identity through prosthetics and transhumanism. It proposes an augmentation of human skin that visualises what cannot be felt by a prosthetic hand. 

Chromatact was designed to identify and enhance moments of intimacy. It does this by using thermochromic liquid crystal ink to display a heatmap of the humans and non humans it gets in contact with. Warmth leaves an imprint on the skin, and if left long enough, a visible outline is shown on the prosthetic skin. This creates a lingering emotional sensation that is made visible by the thermochromic skin, allowing the user to appreciate the moment just a little bit longer. In this project, I chose to bring the artificial closer to the biological by enhancing emotional connections. __________________________________________________________________________________________

In the future, Filipe shows heavy interest in pursuing fields such as biodesign, alternative transportation, prosthetics design, alternative material applications, sustainable manufacturability design for consumer products, UX/UI applications with physical products, and eventually something called globo-centric design, putting the earth as the most important organism over the human, and designing for a better symbiotic relationship between the two.

Heatmap With Objects
Heatmap With People

Every day, human hands come in contact with a multitude of different things, but our biological skin doesn’t really register them as anything more than pressure, vibration, or heat via cutaneous mechanoreceptors and thermoreceptors.

But where it shines the most is when it comes in contact with other humans. As seen in the image, the warmth from the person’s hand leaves an imprint of their heat signature, and if left long enough, a visible handprint will show on the prosthetic skin. This creates a lingering emotional sensation that is visualised by the thermochromic skin, allowing the user to appreciate the moment with--say a loved one or significant other--just a little bit longer.


Glove & Thermochromic Liquid Crystal Ink
Thermochromic Ink Painted on Black Silicone Flap
Heat Sensitivity Study
Color Study of Different Silicone Colors w/ Thermochromic Ink

The crystal ink is a water based protein solution, and therefore cannot be mixed directly with silicone, so it had to be applied topographically. Its incredibly sensitive, so when in direct contact with heat above 30 degrees, it reacts almost immediately. The only issue is that because silicone is smooth and nonporous, the dried ink would flake and fall off. Or if exposed to too much heat, the proteins would denature and be rendered useless. So I created a composite material where the ink is suspended between two layers of silicone to protect it. This posed another situation where since silicone is an insulator, it would take longer for the ink to react to heat, but similarly it would hold its color for longer, and subsequently have a longer lasting imprint.


Thermochromic Ink, Silicone, Leather

Iterations and experiments that led to the final result.


Plaster, Silicone, Clay, Thermochromic Ink, 3D Printed Plastic & Resin

I chose the fingerprint texture because that’s something that’s inherently human. It would give the user a closer sense of identity, building a closer relationship between human and machine, in a sense that the machine is attempting to relate more closely to the human. However, because creating skin textures in this method is quite versatile, it could be readily customized to any design the user desires. Another feature of the fingerprint texture is that it gives a more secure area to apply the thermochromic ink, as the raised portions add protection from shear pressure. And I chose prosthetics because it was a viable platform to explore the idea of transhumanism. After all, transhumanism is the idea of enhancing the human, mostly through technology, and prosthetics do just that. But the idea of enhancement is ultimately open to interpretation so the skin is simply how I chose to convey my idea of the subject. 

As seen in many of today’s cases with more customized prosthetics, having one that not only adds functional value to one’s life, but also an aesthetic value, would be a psychological benefit, especially to those who suffered traumatic experiences. In this case specifically, function and aesthetics happen to be directly correlated.


Silicone, Thermochromic Liquid Crystal Ink, Plastic

Dr Carolina Ramirez-Figueroa: Design Products + Futures, Royal College of Art

Oron Catts: SymbioticA, The University of Western Australia


Sophie Oliveira de Barata: Founder @ Altlimbpro

Oliver Wylder-Dredge: Material Scientist & Applications Technologist @ SFXC

Sapiens Collective:

  • Abi Sheng - RCA Fashion
  • Anne Ferial - RCA Fashion
  • Catherine Mondoa - RCA Textiles
  • Will Cogley

Radek Szczygiel: Luminaries Magazine

Elise Lebiga