Ir. Kernan Freire, S.

Samuel Kernan Freire is a PhD candidate at the department of Sustainable Design Engineering, Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering. Samuel is primarily focused on exploring how voice-enabled AI can elicit knowledge from human experts about complex systems in the wild whilst maintaining user acceptability.

Academic Background

Samuel's PhD research is linked to the H2020 project, COALA, which aims to research and develop a human-centred, trustworthy and voice-enabled digital assistant for the manufacturing workforce. The project has involved field research as well as international and multi-disciplinary collaboration.

Prior to his PhD, Samuel's MSc graduation project involved developing a Conversational AI Agent that could automatically generate a maintenance report based on a conversation with an industrial maintenance worker. The context of this project was DIAMOND, an EIT manufacturing project, whereby field research was performed in factories in Poland and Germany.

Samuel has worked and interned for various companies, including high-tech startups and a design agency, Spark design & innovation. His contribution to the companies involved product design, software engineering and R&D.


  • 2020 ─ Present
    PhD, AI Assistant for the Cognitive Support of Manufacturing Workers, Sustainable Design Engineering Department, Delft University of Technology
  • 2018 ─ 2020
    Master of Science, Integrated Product Design, Delft University of Technology
  • 2015 ─ 2018
    Bachelor of Science, Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology
  • 2010 ─ 2014
    Bachelor of Science (partial), Aerospace Engineering, Delft University of Technology


  • 2019 ─ 2020
    Industrial Design Engineer / Software Developer, Spark design & innovation, Rotterdam
  • 2018
    Industrial Design Engineer / Software Developer, Dental Robotics, Delft
  • 2016 ─ 2017
    Industrial Design Engineer, VPDelta, Delft

Lectures and/or coaches students on:

  • Educational activities: 
    Mentor of masters graduation projects. These include the design and development of a conversational agent for production line issue descriptions and ethical operator tracking.
  • Teaching activities: 
    Coach of the BSc elective course, Software IO3040.

Involved in the research project(s):