responsive objects surfaces and spaces

Research Groups

Creative design and technology research program

Defining collaborative design solutions where emerging technologies weave physically and digitally across all facets of our everyday experiences with performance, knowledge, play, environment.

Research Groups

ACME Lab: A Creativity Machine Environment Lab
Faculty: Ellen Yi-Luen Do
Description: At A Creativity Machine Environment (ACME) Lab, Professor Do is committed to building better design tools, from understanding the human intelligence involved in the design process and leading to the improvement of the interface with computers. Her research explores new modalities of communication, collaboration, and coordination, as well as the physical and virtual worlds that push the current boundaries of computing environments for design.

Digital World and Image Group
Faculty: Michael Nitsche
Description: The Digital World and Image Group focuses on two main areas: virtual spaces and real-time imagery gathered from them. We see game spaces and game media as important forms of self-expression. That is why we work to improve creative access and the expressive range available in interactive digital media such as games. Research is conducted in a combination of theory, analysis, and practical experimentation.

Faculty: Claudia Winegarden
Description: The D-Matters research group, housed in the Industrial Design Program, investigates and experiments with technological opportunities for human communication of all kinds, especially at a distance. The group explores basic research and applications at the intersection of design, technology and communication. It is highly participatory, and its agenda reflects the interests of partner companies, industry collaborators and GT researchers.

Emergent Game Group
Faculty: Celia Pearce
Description: The Emergent Game Group (EGG) designs and researches games that facilitate emergent behavior. We study how patterns of gameplay express broader cultural norms, such as political hierarchy, and how these patterns possess holistic properties not found in their parts. We want to know how people transform game elements into social practices.

pixi lab
Faculty: W. Keith Edwards
Description: The pixi lab is a group of researchers at the Georgia Tech GVU Center who are exploring the boundaries between interaction and infrastructure. We take a human-centered approach to our research, by understanding the needs and practices of people through empirical methods, designing compelling user experiences that fit that context, and then building the underlying systems and networking infrastructure necessary to realize that user experience. We are dedicated to creating technology that is not simply usable but also useful.

Public Design Workshop
Faculty: Carl DiSalvo
Description: The Public Design Workshop is research group in the School of Literature, Communication, and Culture at Georgia Tech. The broad agenda of the Public Design Workshop is to investigate the existing and possible roles of technology and design in shaping and enabling public discourse and action. We pursue this agenda through design inquiry and our investigations take multiple forms including theory and criticism, ethnographic research, writing and media, participatory design, workshops and events, program development, critical design projects and technology development.

Synaesthetic Media Lab
Faculty: Ali Mazalek
Description: Synlab explores emerging modalities in new media. Our research focuses on tangible interaction and sensing technologies that support creative expression bridging the physical and digital worlds. Applications range across media arts, entertainment and educational domains.


Faculty: Ali Mazalek, Tristan Al-Haddad and Claudia Winegarden
Students: Martin Bednar, Mehdi Ben Yahmed, Jin Ah Chon, Jakob Crowder, Daniel Gibson, Sergio Goldenberg, April Headen, Chih-Chieh Hsu, Emily Kiel, Amelia Mendez, Jacob Porter, Ritesh Rathi, Martin Rojas, Joy Salter, Stephanie Sellers, Yang Ting Shen, Jasjit Singh, Kurt Stilwell, Jacob Tompkins, Joshua Tuminella, Theodore Ullrich, Cooper Welch, Sarah Williams, Crystal Wrenn, Steph Yang, Arseni Zaitsev
Description: Tables are artifacts around which people gather. They become organized spaces of exchange and consumption. Kitchens are organized around the dining table; meeting rooms are organized around the conference table; living spaces are organized around the coffee table. Tables perform two complementary and simultaneous tasks: bringing people together to promote intimacy and holding them just enough apart to provide security. As technology becomes a vehicle for tangible interactions, tables establish the framework for social interaction instances. The Story Table is a symbiosis of two social spaces: story and table collapsed onto one another. Created through a process of co-construction of digital and physical media, the Story Table is an interactive installation that encompasses shared engagement in cinematically-inspired narrative expressions that unfold on its surface and space.
Date: Since Spring 2008 (ongoing)

Calvino Tables
Faculty: John Peponis, Kenneth Knoespel, Tristan Al-Haddad, Ali Mazalek and Claudia Winegarden
Students: B Baird, H Cai, E de la Cruz, J C Elder, Daniel Gibson, Sergio Gill, D Jimison, J Magner, Ritesh Rathi, M Romero, Jacob Tompkins, Joshua Tuminella, Alice Vialard
Description: Starting in the fall of 2006, graduate students from architecture, LCC, CoC and industrial design have collaborated to design six tables taking Italo Calvino's book Invisible Cities as a point of departure. Each table expresses one of the six structural metaphors that underlie the book.
Date: Since Fall 2006 (ongoing)

Collaborative Meeting Spaces
Faculty: Keith Edwards, Beth Mynatt, Ali Mazalek
Students: Meekal Bajaj, Kirti Goel, Chris LeDantec, Darryl Prince, Puja Verma, Steve Voida, Manvesh Vyas, Andy Wu
Description: This project aims to create, deploy, and evaluate a system of technical infrastructure that will help rather than hinder the sorts of fluid collaboration that are increasingly core to knowledge work. We couple the digital infrastructure - the services, applications, protocols, and devices in a space - to the physical infrastructure of that space. In doing so, we expect to achieve three broad goals. First, we will make the digital infrastructure responsive to actions taken in the physical realm; second, we will make the physical infrastructure a medium for conveying affordances and feedback of the digital capabilities in a space to its users. Finally, through this coupling we will also allow the fluid movement of information and collaborative artifacts from the physical domain to the digital, and vice versa. Our outputs include a set of digital services designed to enhance collaboration, a deep integration of those services into the physical environment, and a set of design guidelines, principles, and evaluation methodology for how to successfully blend the physical and the digital to better support fluid collaboration.
Support: Supported in part by Steelcase Inc. & NSF
Date: Since Fall 2005 (ongoing)

Faculty: Carl DiSalvo
Students: Jisun An, Courtenay Bird, Pamela Griffin, Heerin Lee, Joel Linderman, Adam Rice, Will Riley, Jasper Sluijs, Daniel Upton
Description: How does one engage sensing and visualization from a design and humanities perspective? And once so engaged what new knowledge and forms of expression result? Over the course of Spring semester 2008 we investigated the opportunities and challenges of participatory sensing and experimental information visualization. Although sensing and visualization are often cast as distinct fields and efforts, we chose to bundle them because from a design perspective sensing necessarily gives way to visualization: the data collected must be expressed. In particular, we were motivated to explore and understand sensing and visualizations as social practices and artistic mediums.
Support: Supported in part by Intel Corporation
Date: Since Fall 2007 (ongoing)

Flourishing Future
Faculty: Elise van den Hoven
Students: Kim, Imke, Jeanine
Description: Flourishing Future is a digital tabletop game developed to support collaboration among children. The players interact with the game on a digital tabletop by means of tangible tools. The goal of Flourishing Future is to develop an environmentally friendly city. The environmental status of this city is reflected in the amount of leaves growing on a tree. In order to achieve this goal the children can place objects on the board, for example a tree or an airport. These objects can influence the environmental friendliness positively or negatively. Each child gets its own set of objects and related game character. By dividing the objects among the children, they are encouraged to collaborate to reach the goal. The game was developed as a platform for three different research purposes. The first research subject is sound analysis. Auditory icons and physical sounds are used to see which of the two the children liked better for feedback on their actions. For the second research subject, the effect of different material properties on the child's haptic experience is tested. Four tools with different hardness are haptically explored by the children, while they express their perceptions. The third research subject is about testing collaborative learning amongst children. Two sets of tangible tools are compared on the amount by which they invoke collaborative interactions between the children.
Date: Fall 2007

Faculty: Ali Mazalek
Students: Ari Velazquez, Dan Gibson, Steph Yang, Jimmy Truesdell, Peter Watanabe, Tatum Clanton, Andy Korzik
Description: The research focuses on tangible interaction and sensing technologies that support creative expression bridging the physical and digital worlds. The gamewell project brings digital content and computational game engines to the table to enable new forms of multi-player tabletop game play. Gamewell is a platform and manager for tangible and multi-touch tabletop games that allows us to explore novel interaction methods and game genres for digital tabletops. Research questions addressed include: what interaction methods can generalize across different tabletop games, what interaction methods are specific to certain games or game types, what can we learn from past tabletop or arcade game forms, and how can we redefine the design methods for this new modality. Gamewell is developed in XNA. The first games include ColorCross, a Twister-inspired cooperative game, and Space Vectors, a multi-player tabletop strategy game.
Date: Since Spring 2008 (ongoing)

Moons Over You
Faculty: Ali Mazalek
Students: Hyun Jean Lee, Chih-Sung (Andy) Wu, Yang Ting Shen
Description: Seeing multiple moons visible overhead is not our normal experience in the real world. Even though we can picture this kind of experience in our imaginations, we cannot properly share it with others. It can only visually exist in our own individual minds. We would like to share this experience by creating a poetic installation space of virtual and physical, where multiple moons can follow us around. In this gallery room, the audience can share their own imaginative and individual experience with others.
Date: Since Fall 2007 (ongoing)

Next Generation Play (NGP)
Faculty: Janet Murray, Michael Nitsche, Celia Pearce
Students: Shashank Raval, HeeRin Lee, Sergio Goldenberg
Description: The project combines existing TV IP with ubiquitous 4G handheld technology. NGP connects players not only to a virtual community but also to their real neighborhood via our localied multiplayer concept. We use the players' TV preferences to drive our dynamic world generation that generates 2D multiplayer game levels on the fly.
Date: Since Fall 2007 (ongoing)

Tangible User Interfaces for Real-time 3D Worlds (TUI3D)
Faculty: Ali Mazalek, Michael Nitsche
Students: Tarandeep Gill, Tandav Krishna, Shashank Raval
Description: 3D interactive performance space, such as machinima, lacks intuitive control mechanisms. Set direction and acting are limited by the technical toolsets available to creators, as the tools were designed to create video games rather than cinematic works. They do a poor job of capturing the performative expression that characterizes the more mature medium of film. The TUI3D project is joint research between Synlab, the Experimental Games Lab and Machinima Group at Georgia Tech that addresses production and performative challenges involved in creating machinima. We are developing a suite of tangible interfaces that could be used to create and control three aspects of 3D virtual environments in real-time: character, camera, and space. Tangible interfaces can help bridge gap between computer film creators and the established base of traditional film creatives and their knowledgebase. We also anticipate deeper and more convincing expression with these more user-centered tools.
Support: Supported in part by NSF
Date: Since Fall 2006 (ongoing)

Faculty: Michael Nitsche
Students: Evan Mandel, Cameron Aubuchon
Description: Continuing our work on camera control, this projects aims to provide a simple live editing interface for camera control in the 3D real-time world of the UT2K4 game engine. Editors can select their "target" and from a range of pre-defined cameras on a tablet PC to access a wide range of virtual cameras active in the scene.
Date: Since Fall 2007 (ongoing)

Tangible Comics
Faculty: Ali Mazalek
Students: Ozge Samanci, Yanfeng Chen
Description: Tangible Comics is a computer vision based full-body interactive storytelling environment that also functions as a comics generator. Prevailing applications of full-body computer vision have not used the full storytelling or performance potential of these environments. Our aim is to produce an environment that can create a space for redefining the conventions of comics, performance, film, photography, and animation. In relation to that, we are exploring the design problems that can arise when computer vision technology is contextualized in an interactive story telling environment of tangible interfaces to control characters in 3D game environments. The goal is to enrich the expressive range of virtual worlds and simplify animation.
Date: Since Fall 2006 (ongoing)

Faculty: Elise van den Hoven
Students: Manon Spermon, Marigo Heijboer
Description: Totti is a game developed for (high functioning) autistic children. The goal of the game is to increase the level of collaboration between the children, since autistic children tend to have difficulties with social contact and relationships in general. The game is developed on a digital tabletop, which enables the enforcing of rules in the game. In order to improve collaboration, the players have one general goal that needs to be achieved. Each turn, players need to discuss the possible actions and need to confirm the actions for the game to proceed. The game objects are used to identify the different powers of the Gods and are helpful to visualize the collaboration process (by exchanging objects and placing them in different spots).
Date: Fall 2007

TViews Table
Faculty: Ali Mazalek, Matt Reynolds, Glorianna Davenport
Description: As digital media applications continue to evolve, there is a need for new kinds of platforms that can support shared media interactions for everyday consumers. The Tviews Table is a multi-user digital/tangible media table that supports interaction through the real-time tracking of tagged tangible objects on a coincident display surface. The first implementation of TViews used electromagnetic sensing technology combined with an overhead-projected display. Later versions incorporate an extensible acoustic-based sensing architecture that functions through the glass surface of an embedded display and enables real-time tracking of a virtually unlimited set of uniquely identified wireless objects that can be used on the surface of any similar table. These objects can be physically customized in order to suit particular applications, and can provide additional functionality through external input and output elements on the objects themselves. TViews has been used for the development of a number of a variety of media content applications, including games, story engines and map-based media content browsers.
Support: Supported in part by Samsung
Date: Since 2003


ROSS faculty members have been highly active in developing research projects that further the ROSS vision, and in seeking external sources of funding. They have submitted proposals for funded projects to a number of agencies and sponsors, including:

Investigators: C. DiSalvo Year: 2007 Title of Project: Neighborhood Networks Activity Location: Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA in collaboration with CMU Robotics Institute, Pittsburgh, PA Sponsoring Agency: Intel Corporation Status: Active Funding Type: Gift

Investigators: C. DiSalvo Year: 2007 Title of Project: City as Learning Lab Activity Location: Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA in collaboration with CMU Robotics Institute, and University of Pittsburgh, Learning Research & Development Center Sponsoring Agency: NSF Status: Active Duration of Grant: 4 years

Investigators: K. Edwards, B. Mynatt and A. Mazalek Year: 2008 Title of Project: Physical and Digital Design for Fluid Collaboration Activity Location: Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA Sponsoring Agency: NSF HCC Amount Received: $898,955.00 Status: Awarded Duration of Grant: 3 years

Investigators: A. Mazalek Year: 2006 Title of Project: Tangibles for Collaborative Workspaces Activity Location: Georgia Institute of technology, Atlanta, GA Sponsoring Agency: Steelcase Inc. Amount Received: $125,000 Status: Active Duration of Grant: 2 years

Investigators: A. Mazalek Year: 2006 Title of Project: Tangible Comics Activity Location: Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA Sponsoring Agency: Turner Broadcasting Amount Received:: $100,000 Status: Active Duration of Grant: 2 years

Investigators: A. Mazalek and M. Nitsche Year: 2007 Title of Project: Unlocking Body Memories for Creativity: Controlling Virtual Characters with Tangible Interfaces to Augment Expression and Cognition Activity Location: Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA Sponsoring Agency: NSF Creative IT Amount Received: $224,843.00 Status: Awarded Duration of Grant: 2 years

Investigators: J. Murray, M. Nitsche and C. Pearce Year: 2007 Title of Project: Next Generation Play (NGP) Activity Location: Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA Sponsoring Agency: Alcatel-Lucent Amount Received: $93,288 Status: Active

Investigators: M. Nitsche Year: 2005 Title of Project: Machinima Activity Location: Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA Sponsoring Agency: Turner Broadcasting Amount Received: $25,000 Status: Active

Investigators: C. R. Winegarden Year: 2008 Title of Project: Designing the Design Classroom of Tomorrow: Merging Physical and Digital Technologies Activity Location: Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA Sponsoring Agency: Polyvision, A Steelcase Company Amount Received: $180.000 (approximately) Status: Completed Duration of Grant: Semester Funding Type: Gift