Speculative Design

Computational Graphics

User Experience

Creating a Knowledge Navigator¹ concept that rethinks the perception of an interface.

Creating a Knowledge Navigator¹ concept that rethinks the perception of an interface.

State of Computing

State of Computing

1. Hugh Dubberly, The Making of the Knowledge Navigator. “The main question here is not is this technology probable but is this the way we want to use technology?”

2. Ehsan Noursalehi, Why Do We Interface? As designers, our job is to consider information first and then the interface as the medium through which to interact with information."

Yuri and I began with a simple question, "What does it mean to interface?" Interfaces exist to manipulate information². The limits of the point and click hardware, however, acts counter-productively to a creator's capability.

Examples of an interface sourced from

A Compelling Opportunity

A Compelling Opportunity

3. Ted Nelson. "Text is a user interface for thought. There are many other ways you could connect ideas."

4. Ivan Sutherland, Sketchpad Demo 1963. "We want a programming system in which one simply describes his objects and the computer draws them."

5. Imran Chaudhri, Humane. "We need more human tech that helps us connect with ourselves and the essential things in the real world."

6. Walt Mossberg, The Disappearing Computer. "Computers have gotten vastly easier to use, but they still demand attention and care."

The pioneering creative tools in history have been text editors³ and CAD software⁴. Although, the industry now has mostly stagnated to process-level improvements than hardware-level innovation⁵.

After a series of grounding prompts⁶, what converged was a problem statement — "How might we reimagine collaborative workspaces for organic collaboration and seamless output?"

Prompts for highlighting the state of creativity, collaboration and creative output

Envisioning the Future

Envisioning the Future

7. Pierluigi Dalla Rosa, What If? "A workshop tool to create future projections based on facts, events and trends."

A bunch of "What if?"⁷ scenarios helped us envision our ideal world. We ideated products and then ponder secondary consequences of such experiences existing in the future.

Guide for future building exercise

Diving into the Details

8. Bill Verplank, Interaction Design Sketchbook, " If an idea is criticized before being expressed it dies prematurely."

We avoided early validation⁸, and moved to concrete sketches. Our primary idea was a table-top device that projects an interface to draw on. We aspired a seamless participation without the constraints of screens and keyboards.

Ideating interactions on the desk with sketching

Lights, Camera, Prototype!

Lights, Camera, Prototype!

9. Arvind Sanjeev, Lights Camera Prototype. "Video prototypes prioritize creating a narrative of a future and gloss over the details of how products and services actually work."

We were introduced to the idea of video sketches⁹ as a method to quickly materialize ideas, and to gather early feedback.

Yuri and I both dreamt of collaborative workspaces with an open canvas that encourages organic interactions.

VIdeo sketch for Mirrage, showcasing early ideas

Mirrage Takes Shape

Mirrage Takes Shape

We sketched, preconceived the form, and the emerging artifact was a compact rectangular device that sat on the middle of a table.

To secure the anatomy, we made paper prototypes, then iterate to higher fidelities. We kept a modular approach and respected object's functional and ergonomic facets.

Explorations on the form, interaction model and physical prototyping

Finalizing the Form

Finalizing the Form

The highest fidelity was best communicated as a series of renders. The face of the modules were turned to glass screens for each joining member.

We kept the mapping relatively simple with a power button at the center, since industrial detailing wasn't the primary focus of the project.

Final device renders featuring four touch modules

Setting Up the Hardware

Setting Up the Hardware

10. Paul Green and Lisa Wei-Haas, The Wizard of Oz 1985. "The experimenter (the "wizard"), pretending to be a computer, responds to user queries either directly or by pressing function keys to which common messages have been assigned."

11. Stephanie Houde and Charles Hill, What Do Prototypes Prototype? "The significance is not in the media or tools, but how they are used by a designer to explore or demonstrate."

With the "Wizard of Oz"¹⁰ technique, we used rapid prototyping¹¹ as a way to communicate faster and gather feedback. We sourced the gear and started brainstorming the necessary code.

Setting up the mini projector, a webcam and aligning the setup

Coding the Interface

12. Bret Victor, Magic Ink. "Interaction is at the cost center of design."

Owing to critique sessions, a recurring suggestion was to focus on the "eye of the duck" interaction. We reduced the interactions¹² to the drawing aspect of the concept.

We used a color detection ML algorithm to detect and approximate color values. A trace of line was to precisely follow the color movement. We aligned the code with the logistic setup and achieved the desirable quality.

Building the gloves, facilitating the critique sessions and coding the interface on p5.js

Demo Preparation

14. Brian Boyl, Interaction for Designers. "Consider the viewpoint of the audience. What draws them in from far away? What keeps them coming closer?"

We took time to investigate ideal ways to put together a suitable environment¹³. A dark room with ~10% light was concluded, accompanied by a poster to attract audience.

We encountered new challenges with lighting and the gear, but we patched up a good setup in the end.

Planning the environment, poster and constructing the physical setup

Prototyping Exhibition

14. CCA 2023 Showcase, a virtual capstone work presentation

The exhibition¹⁴ kicked off with inspiring creations at display. The intellectual energy from designers around the city started to pour in.

Keeping the latency low and accuracy high was a challenge. The end result wasn't perfect, but based on the feedback, the concept was communicated well. We were met by surprising reactions and thoughtful advice that deeply impacted us.

Video compilation of Mirrage exhibition experience

All good things end.