My dissertation project explores the intersections between ritual and the design of interactive technologies. Drawing on social science and historical examples, I examine how new interaction rituals get invented "in the wild" and develop design methods that draw inspiration from these examples. I have examined this topic through both qualitative social science and design research lenses, and my publications in this area can be found here. My qualitative research includes a project conducted at Microsoft Research's Social Media Collective, where I studied how people make sense of novel technological affordances as they adapt and invent new communication practices. I also conduct futures-oriented fieldwork to gather insights about emerging sociotechnical practices. For example, I have researched evolving methods of VR and AR design to bridge the gap between "what is" for VR/AR/MR designers and "what could be" for creatives in other fields. In my design work, I have developed a methodology I call speculative ritual design. This approach involves creating speculative prototypes that tinker with the implicit rule-sets of interaction in order to probe new forms of embodied social practice. Here are a few examples of what I mean. Lately I've also been exploring this concept of speculative ritual through immersive design fiction in VR and through a speculative film that explores how romantic relationships might be mediated by augmented reality in the near future.

Virtual Design Workspace

Project Overview: In an effort to understand how immersive design tools may impact the future of design and creative work, I led a project in USC’s Mobile & Environmental Media Lab in partnership with the Steelcase Workspace Futures group. The research involved fieldwork with VR designers and industrial designers. The insights we gathered helped inspire a series... Read more »

Leviathan (immersive narrative design)

During my time at Intel Labs I researched immersive narrative opportunities for Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan triology. As part of this process, I led immersive concept ideation sessions for Alex McDowell’s World Building Media Lab (WBMl). I facilitated the WBMl team in exploring a range of character perspectives that an immersive story experience could take in VR. One of the key... Read more »

AudienceBot Microphone 3D model

As part of an exploration of the AudienceBot microphone concept, I wrote a dystopian science fiction screenplay for a short film called American Agora. I created a 3D model for this project and tested it in this short sequence.

LoveLog: short design fiction film (in progress)

LoveLog is a Sloan awarded short film about love and augmented reality. The story explores new opportunities to record our memories colliding with the messy reality of romantic relationships. Young lovers Felix and Sadie never take off their augmented reality (AR) glasses and constantly record video of their lives as they tag and catalog their memories using... Read more »

Data Monster

At Intel Labs, I worked on a project that positioned data from mobile sensors and web APIs as the raw material for playful experience. I aimed to empower users through simple tools for experimentation, invention, and self-expression. As part of this research, I prototyped an evocative “Data Monster” which looked something like a cross between... Read more »

Open Toolkits and Data as a Raw Material for Play (Internship at Intel Labs)

Interning at Intel Labs, I researched and designed new playful ways of engaging with data in everyday life. As part of this project I conducted fieldwork with teens, prototyped “data-sandbox” toolkits, designed and led playtests with target demographics, interviewed luminaries in the field of play, and synthesized findings with emerging opportunities in the fields of IoT and quantified-self. Outside participants included... Read more »

Baby's First Touch Screen

Baby’s First Touch Screen is a design fiction short I made about a touch screen that doesn’t want to be touched. If a user attempts to touch the device too quickly, two shielding appendages close. In this short scenario, an expectant mother is devastated when her newly purchased “Baby’s First Touch Screen” device is stolen by a... Read more »

AudienceBot Microphone

The AudienceBot Microphone is an interactive platform that enables audiences to convey feedback to performers in real-time. Using a mobile application audience participants collectively determine the “mood” of the microphone. The microphone utilizes six servo motors and a motion tracking device to express a range of affective states, from inattentive to attentive and from playful... Read more »

Place-based, Ubiquitous, Connected, and Kinetic Experiences for Interactive Architecture

As a collaborator on Jen Stein’s dissertation project PUCK, I worked with Jeff Watson on datavisaulizations of the SCA building’s 100s of sensor feeds. [Project lead: Jen Stein; Dissertation Chair: Prof. Scott Fisher; MEML team: Jacob Boyle, Joshua McVeigh-Schultz, Hyung Oh, Amanda Tasse, Jeff Watson; Storyboard illustrations: Bryant Paul Johnson]

Clean Up Wall Street

CLEAN UP WALL STREET is a game-event inspired by the global financial crisis. The game explores the actions that led financial institutions to endanger the health of the global economy. Playfully assuming the roles of commodity traders and credit rating agents in the actual spaces of Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, players compete to trade... Read more »

Traffic Massage Chair

(2010) Collaboration with Michael Annetta. This design uses XML data from NAVTEQ to translate daily traffic flow at particular road sections into a rhythmic pulses that maps onto PWM voltage for vibrating motors. By the year 2060, all the humans who survived peak-oil live in giant honeycomb-like structures that contain self-sustaining mini-ecologies within each geodesic... Read more »

Temperature Sensing Eyeballs (TSEs)

This design emerged from thinking about how social surveillance operates to regulate recycling practice in Japan. Unlike in the U.S. where recycling is practice by a single household, in Japan, recycling is deposited in a common neighborhood repository. All recycling must be separated and deposited in a specific manner. Paper-goods, for example, must be folded... Read more »

Popularity Prosthetics: Retweet Popularity Monitor for Face-to-Face Conversation

Designed as a critique of status monitoring in online contexts, this project presents a prototype of a prosthetic device that conversation partners wear in their mouths to provide visual and auditory feedback about the speaker’s level of online popularity (measured in retweets). The speaker with more current retweets experiences voice amplification (and their mouth glows... Read more »

Vehicular Lifelogging: Discovering Story and Remapping Context

This project extended our work with automotive lifelogging by using in-car sensors to engage drivers in ongoing discoveries about their vehicle, driving environment, and social context throughout the lifecycle of their car. A goal of the design was to extend the contexts of automotive user-interface design by (1) looking inward to the imagined “character” of... Read more »

Ambient Storytelling for Vehicle-Driver Interaction

‘Ambient storytelling’ — part of the design philosophy of USC’s Mobile and Environmental Media Lab — represents a departure from customization algorithms familiar to discussions of pervasive computing. Rather than thinking about how a car can play the role of glorified butler, anticipating its driver’s every need, instead we reposition the car as co-participant in an... Read more »

Dendritix: Inter-dimensional Gnome Hunt

Dendritix Rules This locative game was designed in collaboration with Jeff Watson, Juli Griffo, and Ed Yee. It requires partners to collaborate via mobile phones as they navigated through physical and virtual worlds. One player navigates a text-based MUD modeled after the real-life rooms of the play space while the other navigates through physical space.... Read more »

Redesigning Rituals of Public Assembly

This project consists of a series of workshops designed to explore new models of live audience interaction. I am interested here in tinkering with the interactional rule-set of audience-performer-interaction. In November of 2011 I collaborated with Kevin Driscoll and A. J. Patrick Liszkiewicz on a workshop titled Occupy this Seminar. The approach here eschews technologically... Read more »


I was a collaborator on 6under60, an installation at the Shenzhen Urbanism/Architecture Bienanale in 2011. As a key member of the interactive design team, I directed recruitment and outreach to our collaborator cities, led design of the metadata architecture for both installation and web interfaces, co-designed the concept and user experience of the installation and website, built a metadata collection interface,... Read more »


The Movie Tagger project (a continuation of work described here and here) was initially inspired by a grand vision to parse and richly tag every movie ever made. With an eye toward exploring new models of folksonomic “expert-sourcing”, I set out to interview 12 film different scholars in order to adapt their research to metadata tagging schemas and... Read more »

A Different Self?

An experimental shot in Japan, A Different Self? explores the identity transformations of bilingual speakers. Structured as a series of interviews shot shot in Japan in 2005, the piece revolves around a central question: “Are you a different person when you speak a different language?”

Wild State Touch Interface

Completed for Phil van Allen’s New Ecologies of Things course at the Art Center, this project presents prospective interactants with a touch interface that doesn’t “want” to be touched. When touch screen interface devices are found in the wild, their shielding appendages haven’t been clipped yet. As you might expect, these appendages have to be... Read more »

Pickle Crash

I made this remix in January of 2006 when Youtube was still relatively new. I remember staying up late mesmerized by this new window onto our culture, and I recall being fascinated by the way that the ethos of online video in that particular moment seemed to reiterate so much of what I’d read about... Read more »


Inspired by my own experience as a liminal subject in Japan, this project explores the tensions between my sense of self as a foreigner in Japan and the image of the westerner in Japanese media. I focused especially on the issue of translation (or translational adaptation), as the piece was originally written in English and... Read more »

Secrets for Senators

Set in the context of telecom immunity debates of 2007 and 2008, Secrets for Senators is a performative intervention in which intimate secrets are confessed over the phone to senators who support warrantless wiretapping. This work considers the current threat of pervasive surveillance and illegal spying as a kind of psychic violence inflicted by the... Read more »

Heisenberg Eyes

I’m interested in interactive systems that get completed by leaps of imagination or by social mediation. One example I’ve pointed to is the elevator close-door button. This is a device that is often non-functional yet nevertheless encourages us to assign causality even where there is none. Building on this the idea, I created a responsive... Read more »

Vox Pop Experiments

This project explores what happens to on-the-street interviews when they are driven by live online audiences. Drawing on McLuhan’s imagery of electronic media as prosthetic extensions, I designed a platform that lets online audiences conduct collaborative “on the street” interviews without actually being “on the street.” A hybrid mobile and browser-based interface enabled live audiences to speak through an intermediary wielding a camera and a phone.... Read more »

Elephant in the Relationship

Elephant in the Relationship was designed in collaboration with Andy Uehara, Michael Annetta, and Casey China. Exhibited at Game Show NYC. Elephant in the Relationship is a game for 2 to 4 players in which players try to communicate deeply troubling relationship issues. Players take on the roles of two people in a personal relationship... Read more »