Welcome! This site presents an overview of my professional work. For the past fifteen years, that's been designing virtual and ubiquitous technologies for real people. I'm especially interested in multimodal forms of human communication, and how the applications of new interface technologies can be informed by social context, as well as physical and perceptual constraints.
mixed and immersive realitiesCurrently I am a senior research scientist at the FX Pal Alto Laboratory, leading the Mixed and Immersive Realities group. We are experimenting with 3D virtual environments and mixed realities, with particular focus on the application of these technologies for the enterprise. We see powerful applications in remote collaboration, industrial collaboration, and process visualization and control. Right now we are building a virtual factory to "mirror" real processes in a real-world factory, importing sensor data from the factory into the virtual environment. We are also tracking the everyday use of a virtual collaboration environment for the office.
usable smart environmentsA few years ago, I led FXPAL's Usable Smart Environments group, which addressed smart environments in the workplace, in particular conference rooms - an area with decades of rich research and plenty of interesting implementations, but with a long way to go yet in usability as well as functionality. The Usable Smart Environment project (USE) focused on designing multimodal interfaces for easy-to-use, highly functional next-generation conference rooms. Our first design prototype was a "no wizards" room for an American executive; that is, a room the executive could walk into and use by himself, without help from a technologist. The second generation of the USE technology is currently installed in two multi-screen conference rooms at FXPAL, and is in daily use by the company.
experiments in the future of readingAt Xerox PARC, I was a Senior Member of the Research Staff, working at first in the Computer Science Lab and later in the RED (Research in Experimental Documents) group. We examined emerging technologies for their impact on media and the human relationship to information, and we built working prototypes to illustrate our ideas. My role there combined a number of aspects of research: project initiator and team lead, designer, builder, evangelist, and writer. Much of my research focuses on analysis and design methods for creating an efficient, practical user experience: how to build real-world, socially informed applications for new technologies. Often, this involves creating robust working prototypes and putting them in public spaces. (A busload of ten-year-old kids can be a pretty rigorous reality check.) For example...
We were invited to create a gallery exhibition at Silicon Valley's new Tech Museum of Innovation. We chose to focus on the intersection of reading with digital technology, and to build real working prototypes of some of our ideas. "XFR: Experiments in the Future of Reading" ran from March to September 2000, and tours to other technology and science museums through 2003. I created and was project lead for several of the exhibits. You'll find images and more details about them on the associated sites below, as well as some further embodiments for education and assistive applications.
physical instruments for digital systems
Recently I've been teaching a couple of courses at UC Berkeley, in human-computer interaction, user experience, and design. One course, a graduate class at the UC Berkeley Institute of Design called "Design Realization: Physical Instruments for Digital Systems." We explored forms and functions appropriate for personal instruments that turn complex datasets into working knowledge. The course was project-based and gave equal weight to mechatronics, programming, social aspects of design, and physical design and form. You can see the syllabus here.
assistive and educational technologies
augmented realities and virtual environments (older work)
audio engineering and sound designAudio design and engineering is one of my specialties (I spent many years as a professional audio engineer, for high-end recording studios and for professional theater). For example: using audio as a feedback/response system for information visualization environments, or developing an audio augmented reality for exploring peripheral data, or augmenting tactile or gestural controllers with audio tools. I also work in the related disciplines of data sonification and auditory display. I am very interested in how people understand sound and other dynamic processes, and how good design can take advantage of this understanding.
If you like, check out my CV.
thanks for stopping by.