Prototyping Experiments: a series of empirical studies examine how prototyping practices affect learning, motivation, communication, and design outcomes. (2011-2009)
Augmented Reality Façade: an embodied adaptation of the acclaimed desktop-based interactive drama, Façade, authored by Mateas and Stern. (2006-8)
The Voices of Oakland: an outdoor location-based audio experience where visitors hear stories by historical figures while moving through an ancient cemetery in downtown Atlanta, GA. (2004-5)
The Designer's Augmented Reality Toolkit: a extension to Adobe Director that supports creative applications of augmented and virtual reality. (2003-5)
Who Is Watching? a concocted bathroom video surveillance system distributes images into the public space challenging people to consider the tradeoffs of privacy and security. (2004)
Responsive Spaces: an experience where dancers wear garments with tiny computers that continuously sense movements and alter the audio-visual environment (with the Topological Media Lab). (2003)
Mobile ADVICE: a prototype mobile device towards improving accessibility for the visually impaired (part of the Wireless RERC initiative). (2002)
Haptic Dental Trainer: a force-based simulator to teach dental students the subtle tactile skills of dentistry before practicing with people. (1998-9)
How do prototyping practices affect learning, motivation, communication, and outcome in design? This research examines aspects of the creative process such iteration and comparison, two key strategies for discovering contextual design variables and their interrelationships. We found that, even under tight time constraints when the common intuition is to stop iterating and start refining, iterative prototyping helps designers learn. Our experiments also indicate that creating and receiving feedback on multiple prototypes in parallel — as opposed to serially — leads to more divergent ideation, more explicit comparison, less investment in a single concept, and better overall design performance. Most recently, we found that groups who produce and share multiple prototypes report a greater increase in rapport, exchange more verbal information, share more features, and overall, reach a better consensus.
What's our approach? We recruit people to participate in tasks where the solutions are creatively diverse and objectively measurable. We've had success using the egg drop design task where participants create a vessel to protect a raw egg. Most recently, our studies call on participants to create Web banner ads. We then place the ads in an online campaign, collect a host of analytics (e.g., click-through data), and statistically compare performance differences. The key insight enabling our research is that crowdsourcing techniques and web analytics provide an opportunity to do experimental research on creativity with objective outcomes.
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Augmented Reality Façade is an embodied adaptation of the acclaimed desktop–based interactive drama, Façade, authored by Mateas and Stern. In this experience, players move freely around a physical apartment and use gestures and speech to interact with two autonomous characters, Trip and Grace, who appear graphically imposed in the space using a video-based head-mounted AR display. AR Façade explores the combination of interactive virtual characters, non–linear narrative, and unconstrained embodied interaction and serves as an instrument for understanding the relationship between presence and engagement. The GVU Center at Georgia Tech hosted the initial prototype. The Beall Center for Art & Technology exhibited AR Façade for three months in Fall 2007.
I led the production of this experience and designed studies to empirically compare traditional desktop interaction to immersive augmented reality. My studies suggest the more immersive AR interface increased most players' sense of "presence" over desktop interaction, but this heightened presence did not always lead to increased engagement and fun. My thesis explored how mediation may be necessary for some players to engage with immersive media experiences.
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The Voices of Oakland is an outdoor location-based audio experience for historic Oakland cemetery in Atlanta, GA. Beautiful mausoleums and statues permeate the intimate urban cemetery, rich in Southern history. We explored the idea of aural augmentation in the space, using GPS technology to trigger prerecorded audio stories, told in first person from the perspective of the deceased. Visitors are able to wander freely between gravesites and listen to the voices of professional actors chronicle a faithful history of Atlanta.
This collaborative project followed a human-centered design process, iteratively testing and redesigning the experience with participants. Our user studies showed that participants would often wander away from gravesites while continuing to listen to content about that location. We redesigned the experience to loosen the connection between location and content. The Voices of Oakland project continues to evolve. Developers are porting the experience to small mobile device. Georgia Tech received a grant to create more audio content and to take the project to the public.
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The Designer's Augmented Reality Toolkit (DART) integrates real-time video, various sensors, and wizarding methods into Adobe Director to support creativity in augmented reality. We created DART to give designers and people who are not C++ programmers access to augmented and virtual reality. DART is essentially a Director Xtra (plugin) and a set of Lingo behavior scripts and its available for free on the DART download site. I helped develop DART's cue/action event system, visualizations for user studies, and capture/replay facilities. I conducted evaluations of the software, including classroom assessments and interviews with artists and designers.
DART has been downloaded thousands of times, and continues to be used by designers and researchers to build immersive experiences.
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Who is Watching? (2004)
HDE Security provides the most dependable bathroom video surveillance concept on the market. While ordinary security systems rely on employees to monitor video streams, HDE sends video from highly insecure locations––such as bathrooms––into public areas so crime can be immediately exposed and eliminated. Give up your privacy for peace of mind.
Engin Erdogan, Julie Hoffman, and I invented a bathroom video surveillance company, complete with brochures and a marketing video, to challenge how people think about privacy and security. As an exhibition during LCC Digital Media demo day, we put cameras in the men's bathroom and displayed the live feed in the public area.
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In a responsive space, dancers wear garments with tiny computers that continuously sense movements and alter the audio-visual environment. As part of the Topological Media Lab, I developed the UC Berkeley TinyOS motes, an experimental platform for novel wireless applications. Our technical goal was to optimize the network capacity to provide continuous sensor data from force sensitive resistors, accelerometers, light sensors, and magnetometers.
This highly collaborative project employed the skills of artists and technologists. The wireless sensor platform was figuratively and literally interwoven with the artistic vision of designers and dancers. I helped create simple interfaces to the streaming data in MAX/MSP.
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Mobile ADVICE (2002)
Mobile ADVICE (Accessible Device for Visually Impaired Capability Enhancement) is a prototype mobile device for improving accessibility for the visually impaired. Our multidisciplinary team interviewed people with visual impairments and created a physical prototype from electronic components and modeling clay. The software prototype allowed us to perform "wizard" evaluations with potential users; a team member triggered audio segments as visual impaired users navigated the system.
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Haptic Dental Trainer (the Iowa Dental Surgical Simulator) is a force-based simulator to teach dental students the subtle tactile skills of dentistry before practicing with people. We developed two versions of haptic devices to emulate the feel of searching for cavities. By meeting with expert dentists throughout the design and implementation process, and conducting summative usability studies to evaluate the simulator, my collaborators and I developed a useful training tool that remains an active research project. The results of this work were compiled in my undergraduate Honors thesis, "Virtual Dentistry: the Forces Behind the Pain."
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