Category Archives: School

These are all true statements.

We are done with graduate school.

We are moving to San Francisco.

We are road tripping across the country.

We are currently in Moab, Utah.

The best way to keep track of us is through Twitter.

Or through Kate’s blog.

Outside In: Evoking a Sense of the Natural World in Indoor Spaces

Last night I delivered my thesis presentation, effectively completing my master’s degree in human-computer interaction design. Over the last seven months I’ve been conducting a design exploration into the ways we find nature meaningful to us, and uncovering ways to enliven indoor environments with a sense of the outdoors.

Here is the 20-minute presentation:

A big, hearty thanks to everyone who came out to see it live and in person!

Outside In: Bringing The Outdoors Indoors

"Outside In" Capstone Sketches

For my capstone project, I’m exploring ways to help outdoor enthusiasts maintain a connection to the outdoors when they need to be inside. Sadly, not everyone can work as a ski instructor, mountaineering guide or tree planter their whole lives. As these people make their way into the great indoors for the majority of their working lives, how can we make it a less alienating experience for them?

"Outside In" Capstone Sketches

"Outside In" Capstone Sketches

"Outside In" Capstone Sketches

"Outside In" Capstone Sketches

More sketches are available in the Capstone gallery at my Flickr account.

From Analog Interactions to Tangible Bits

I spent a great deal of time this past summer turning the idea of “analog interactions” over in my head, carving and sanding and refining it through a series of essays.

It largely started in my post Analog Interactions, where I discussed my recent forays into Arduino and my increasing interest in historic, richly tactile interactions. Following that, in Scope I offered a brief summation of my obsessive excursions to the Musée Mecanique (caution, the link is LOUD) in San Francisco, studying their incredible collection of turn-of-the-century penny arcade machines.

Most recently, last week Adaptive Path published my blog post regarding my vision for the future of computing, as an embedded series of tangible, tactile interactions that reimagine the input and output devices we traditionally use to interact with computers. Off The Desktop and Into The World is thus my latest effort to describe a world of computing that naturally integrates with our rich human tradition as physical, feeling beings that exist in a physical, richly sensual world.

In pursuing my capstone project this year I’m continuing with this line of inquiry, but within a more specific context. As I move to introduce a level of academic rigor to my interest in these analog interactions, I believe Hiroshi Ishii’s Tangible bits: towards seamless interfaces between people, bits and atoms is going to be a key on-ramp into the conversation.

UPDATE: Holy shit. Did I read this paper in a dream or something? The parallels are uncanny. For instance:

As an example, they described two cold steel benches located in different cities. When a person sits on one of these benches, a corresponding position on the other bench warms, and a bi-directional sound channel is opened. At the other location, after feeling the bench for “body heat,” another person can decide to make contact by sitting near the warmth.

What Ishii describes here is effectively a networked version of the Hot Seat:


Multitask This

Ironic that this article at, which cites a study that reveals multitasking may harm one’s ability to filter out distractions, is interspersed with five headlines and hyperlinks to irrelevant articles on

I Enjoy Myself

Today I saw a gal riding a bicycle in high heels. “How did that work out for her?” you might ask. The answer is apparently not well at all, as her right ankle was all scabbed and bandaged up.

I hope she said yes.

I biked out to Ocean Beach this afternoon via Golden Gate Park, and spent some quality time in the Botanical Garden. It’s truly a beautiful, remarkable place, all split up in worldly biomes that let you trot the continents without leaving your skinny jeans and All-Stars. Really, it was the orange construction fences, road cones, weed whackers and front-end loaders that made it such an enlightening experience. I don’t know where I would have been without the delightful serenade of heavy machinery in reverse.

Gah. You ever wear the coat of sarcasm for so long that you don’t know how to shrug out of it? No really, I loved the Botanical Garden. The redwood forest was almost spiritual, with its cool damp air, soft mossy ground and towering trees. The garden even features all sorts of fun, interactive exhibits:

Poison Oak

Some of which border on the truly ludic:


All in all I biked about 17 miles today. It’s reassuring how quickly I’ve been able to abandon that bullshit graduate school lifestyle and instantly reengage with my formerly active self. It gives me hope that if I can endure one more year of satisfying the sedentary demands of academia, I can actually enjoy being myself again.

Freshening up my sewing skills.

You *wish* you were bookbinding.

That’s right, you wish you were bookbinding tonight.

Don’t make me experience prototype your face.

I have at least three projects due in the next week, each of which demands that I know a different piece of Adobe® software, including Illustrator, Premiere Pro, InDesign and After Effects. My love affair with Adobe® is well-documented, as is their software, which features tons of videos put together by kind people who explain things slowly, and in basic terms that I should be able to understand.

Nevertheless, after spending the entire evening trying to learn After Effects, I have thusly concluded that I cannot be taught. For me it will have to be scissors, construction paper and lots of hand-waving, from now until the foreseeable future.

Fame and Fortune

There’s just something kinda cool about being in the ACM Digital Library:

Our CHI paper has found its way into the ACM Digital Library.

If you’re a hopeless nerd, that is.

This Ain’t Yo’ Mama’s Press Release

But it is ours. Hooray for fame!

Now if only I could hire someone to help me cash all these giant cardboard checks…

UPDATE: The IU Home Pages newsletter for Indiana University has picked up our story!