Developing Networks, Augmenting Bridges

Studio leader: Adam Mekrut
CogSci 180, Friday 11:00-12:10pm
CogSci 180, Friday 12:20-13:30pm

While the internet has the potential to develop new connections, it often just mirrors the connections we have in the physical world. We still face barriers to connection and risk becoming increasingly insulated from those outside of our network. This studio will be taking a deeper look at networks, both physical and online, and look at the larger communities that they are embedded in.

  • How do we augment networks that exist in physical space with digital tools?
  • How do we support nascent connections that already exist? How do we strengthen underdeveloped networks?
  • How do we support interdisciplinary and inter-group collaboration and discussion?
Check out the studio tumblr for examples of related issues from the campus, the region and the international community and tools that were designed to address them. Tumblr:

Extended Sensing

Studio leader: Alvin Li
CogSci 272, Friday 10:20 - 11:30am
CogSci 272, Friday 11:40 - 12:50pm

We have survived in the world using wit and our five senses for millennia but modern technology offers many opportunities to expand our natural capabilities. Internet connected devices can bring us a wealth of information. While phones are relatively convenient to use compared to laptop or desktop computers they still are no match for the naturalness of using our biological senses. The theme of this studio is to improve how relevant information is brought to us as we move about in daily life, this includes both determining what new information can be useful as well as creating intuitive ways of presenting this information to users.

  • What are situations where we would want to have more information than what our five senses tell us?
  • What kinds of information about their surroundings would a user want to have access to?
  • What is the best way to present this information to users?

Storytelling, Empathy, and Metaphor

Studio leader: Kevin Lim
Atkinson Hall 5204, Friday 11:40 - 12:50pm
CogSci 272, Friday 13:00 - 14:10pm

The ubiquity of online technology has made it easier for creating, sharing, and experiencing stories. Today we can empathize with many more people through these stories than was ever possible. This studio will be taking a deeper look at generating empathy through storytelling. Effective stories, those that move us emotionally, usually employ metaphors in some way. A fable uses animals in place of humans, and in fact any story can be thought of as a metaphor for life events.

What are some metaphors, either in technology or the physical world, that we can utilize to make us better(more empathetic) storytellers? How can they improve our ways of sharing those stories?

Look over the examples listed in the studio tumblr to find interesting uses of technology for storytelling. Tumblr:

Campus Life

Studio leader: Purvi Desai
Atkinson Hall Room 5204, Friday 9:00-10:10am
Atkinson Hall Room 5204, Friday 10:20 - 11:30am

Campus life has a myriad of diverse aspects associated with it ranging from classroom activities to social hours. While campus life is undoubtedly a lot of fun, there are stressful times when you wished for things that could make life easier on campus. As students you would often find yourselves wishing that someone could help you with selecting your courses for the quarter, or keep you informed about car rides for errands, not to forget information about free food!

This studio theme urges students to analyze and address a problem faced in campus life that appeals most to them. Crowdsourcing is our friend; a model where students help one another is great!

  • What are the typical issues that one faces as part of campus life?
  • What are some ways to tackle these issues using technology? Is there any model that currently exists but you wish it was better?
  • What enhancements do you propose?
Think outside of the box and come up with something that would make campus life better! Tumblr: 90

Becoming Better Students

Studio leader: Vineet Pandey
Atkinson Hall Room 5204, Friday 13:00-14:10pm
Atkinson Hall Room 5204, Friday 14:20-15:30pm

Being a student involves performing a wide range of activities: attending classes, finding relevant information from professors/peers/online resources, understanding new topics, solving problems, preparing for tests, clarifying doubts and many more!

Technology in the form of simple mobile apps can help in multiple ways. They can make some of these activities more efficient and fun, or allow us to engage with our peers in classes in interesting ways not thought of before! Apps can help us stay on target in custom ways (not everyone grooves to the same tune!), they can coalesce vast information available online and in books and cut down on time we waste looking for some popular content. They can help us bridge gaps between logical world of books and knowledge and physical world of classrooms.

Sky’s the limit!

Design for the Community

Studio leader: Yu Xia
CogSci 272, Friday 9:00 - 10:10am
CogSci 180, Friday 13:40 - 14:50pm

Everyone is part of certain community, and every day you maybe involved in different communities at different time, no matter how the community is defined, either by being in the same geographical location or by sharing the common interests, as part of the community, you can help the community become better with the technologies you designed.

  • Are there unmet needs or underexplored designs and implementations for certain community?
  • Can we create good within a community or enrich our involvement with the community even further?
  • What other things, both tangible and intangible, can be utilized?


Robert J Gougelet
CogSci 180, Friday 8:20 - 9:30am
CogSci 180, Friday 9:40 - 10:50am

“If, then, I were asked for the most important advice I could give, that which I considered to be the most useful to the men of our century, I should simply say: in the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.” ― Leo Tolstoy

Awareness is the first step on the path towards mindfulness and emotional intelligence. Unfortunately, today’s technology demands more attention than does our emotional and intellectual well-being. What if we brought the user’s cognitive and emotional states into awareness for them? How might we know and inform them when they are productive, prosocial, attentive, happy, hungry, angry, tired, isolated, or etc.? Together we will design interfaces that imbibe a cyborg-esque layer of “technological mindfulness” in the user.

By probing for seemingly mundane information about the user and their (digital) environment, we will design various pedometers for the user’s digital footprint. We then infer the user’s cognitive and emotional states, with a stretch goal of more passive, “unsupervised” approaches. With some creative data mining we might predict the user’s comfort with a lengthy stationary GPS signal at home, their happiness from the frequency and content of their emails, SMS, or chats, or their productivity by time spent at the library or in a word processing app. A simple, well-timed, and elegant display of such predictions to the user might be all it takes to empower them with mindfulness of what they are thinking, feeling, and doing. As such, a big component of this brief involves information visualization. We will explore design possibilities, as well as discuss the scientific, sociocultural, and spiritual implications of this new form of mindfulness. Tumblr: