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Innovation Design Engineering (MA/MSc)

Fergus Laidlaw

Fergus is a creative technologist who thrives when collaborating with diverse teams to create impactful projects.

His work focuses on human interaction with emerging technology, often exploring tangible physical mediums. He is driven to make the leading edge of technology accessible to those that need it most, using design as a tool to translate. 

He studied architecture at Cambridge University, where he learnt to design as a craftsman, considering human interaction with the built environment. Since then he has worked on a variety of projects - physical, digital and hybrid, prioritising rapid iterative prototyping within his design process and always seeking real world validation.

blonde man in denim jacket in front of brick wall

My favourite design tool is an early prototype. That can take many forms but fundamentally I love making things that I can give to people and watch their response. I love the moment where they use something in an unexpected way, or when I see excitement or confusion on their face. That moment of validation, whether positive or negative, is the most exciting part of the process for me. 

That prototyping started off being mostly physical, prototyping architecture and furniture and observing how people respond to interventions in the built environment. But has developed through a huge variety of mediums. For the last few years my focus has been on mediating digital interactions, particularly in the field of artificial intelligence, which constantly drives and inspires my work as can be seen in my major project Kleio.

I love collaborating, so please reach out!


Kleio is a platform for generative inspiration. It allows users to explore visual concepts intuitively by navigating canvases created by others. Kleio then allows users to take images and concepts that have inspired them and use them as inputs for their own generations. In this way inspiration can be externalised and become an act of creation itself. 


Below are some examples of canvases generated by users, inputting three prompts to generate a canvas that can be explored by changing the values of each prompt.

Example canvas 1An example canvas generated by an architect exploring three concepts: A tall gothic cathedral-like atrium A cherry blossom courtyard, in the style of Isamu Noguchi A Luis Barragan inspired geometric feature wall
Example canvas 2An example canvas loosely based on three concepts: A romantic landscape painting, with a hint of Van Gogh A dense forest, tall straight trees White fluffy clouds, appearing like cotton wool

User testing

I tested Kleio with a group of six architects, benchmarking against two other platforms for ideation and inspiration Pinterest and Midjourney. The results were fantastic, with each of them inputting creative prompts and generating engaging canvases for architectural inspiration. 



Man coughing holding pleural device to his chest
PleuralPleural is the first smart airway clearance device for mucus related respiratory conditions that empowers users to perform chest physiotherapy autonomously. Our device provides users with immediate relief from breathlessness whilst reducing the risk of infection.
custom playing cards with experiments drawn onto them
Rapid experimentationWe used custom playing cards with each of our experiments, technologies and users on them to ideate in a divergent way, and easily bring collaborators and stakeholders into the design process.
a co-creation session to help design pleural
Collaborative design processCo-creation was at the heart of our design process, resulting in a device is able to guide the user to carry out comprehensive chest physiotherapy with confidence in the comfort of their own home.
lots of diverse prototypes laid out on the ground
PrototypingThrough a series of prototypes and experiments, we developed a handheld device based on clinically proven techniques including external percussion and vibration for mucus removal. While performing therapy, we wanted our device to give personalised feedback to the user through intelligent analysis of mucus levels in the lungs.
Pleural on a bedside table
AccessibilityBy integrating Pleural into their routine, users can take control of their airway clearance and better manage the progression of their lung condition.