London Design Biennale 2016

At the London Design Biennale you will see installations curated by the leading museums and design organisations in the world, including Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum (USA), DAMnation (Belgium), German Design Council, the MAK and Austria Design Net, Moscow Design Museum (Russia), Triennale Design Museum (Italy), India Design Forum, Southern Guild (South Africa), The Japan Foundation, and Victoria and Albert Museum (UK). Design teams include architects, designers, scientists, writers and artists.

Taking over the entirety of Somerset House, including The Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court and River Terrace, the London Design Biennale will explore big questions and ideas about sustainability, migration, pollution, energy, cities, and social equality. You will see engaging and interactive installations, innovations, artworks and proposed design solutions - all in an immersive, inspiring and entertaining tour of the world.

TEI 2016


This proposal presents a modular system design for a set of programmable tools with various form factors inspired by the relations between human body parts and industrial elements. By providing functional forms to sensors and actuators, and tangible methods of programming behaviors to the objects, we propose a more customizable experience in the area of the Internet of Things. We explore the design space through studying motions in everyday elements and introduce applications of digitally enabled modules in form factors such as hinge, joints, zipper etc. Lastly, we investigate physical ways to program these modules that affords playful interactions in the tangible world. The workshop will first focus on using probes, brainstorming toolkits to generate the design ideas related to themes such as super-powers, environments as extension of the body and next generation of ubiquitous computing [5]. By using the resources and tool-kits provided by the workshop organizers, participants will generate proof-of-concept prototype as final deliverables. Participants are required to bring personal laptops.

Austin S. Lee and Dhairya Dand. 2016. MeMod: A Modular Hacking and Programming Toolkit For Everyday Objects. In Proceedings of the TEI '16: Tenth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction (TEI '16). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 757-761. DOI:

TEDx Seoul National University 2016

Interpretation of the future in Science Fiction has become a reality and increasingly more available to the mass market. How can designers prepare for today and tomorrow’s successful design in a world where technology is catching up with the future visions from the past? Professor Lee talks about design methods that can help designers navigate at the intersection between design and emerging technologies to design for the future.

Professor Lee is interested in how progressive user interface, such as augmented reality can influence our daily lives. A former UX Designer at Microsoft, Lee took part in the design of Skype's HoloLens companion experience. Previously, at the MIT Media Lab’s Tangible Media Group, Lee has explored system design for collaborative drawing and sharing 3D information in virtual settings. Lee is currently an assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon School of Design where he teaches vision-driven interactions and progressive user interface design.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

ACM Multimedia's International Workshop, Immersive Media Experiences, Brisbane, Australia | 26-30 Oct 2015

3D Collaboration Method over HoloLens™ and Skype™ End Points


This paper describes a new Augmented Reality (AR) system called HoloLens developed by Microsoft, and the interaction model for supporting collaboration in this space with other users. Whereas traditional AR collaboration is between two or more head-mounted displays (HMD) users, we describe collaboration between a single HMD user and others who join the space by hitching on the view of the HMD user. The remote companions participate remotely through Skype-enabled devices such as tablets or PC's. The interaction is novel in the use of a 3D space with digital objects where the interaction by remote parties can be achieved asynchronously and reflected back to the primary user. We describe additional collaboration scenarios possible with this arrangement.

Henry Chen*, Austin S. Lee*, Mark Swift, and John C. Tang. 2015. 3D Collaboration Method over HoloLens™ and Skype™ End Points. In Proceedings of the 3rd International Workshop on Immersive Media Experiences (ImmersiveME '15). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 27-30. DOI=

*contributed equally

Paper Link

CHI 2013 (WIP), Scaled Reality: Interfaces For Augmenting Information On Small Scale Tangible Objects, with Kshitij Marwah, Paris | 27Apr - 2May 2013

Scaled Reality: Interfaces For Augmenting Information On Small Scale Tangible Objects


In this paper, we introduce the concept of Scaled Reality with a set of interfaces to distort, deform and resize our comprehensible spatial world to help us augment and visualize information on physical objects that cannot be accessed otherwise due to their size or orientation. We introduce three interfaces: a mirrored table top, a see through lens system and a L-shaped display to scale, view and manipulate object forms in novel ways. As a proof-of-concept application, we show augmentation and retrieval of information tagged onto tangibles with a relatively microscopic form factor.

Austin S. Lee and Kshitij Marwah. 2013. Scaled reality: interfaces for augmenting information on small-scale tangible objects. In CHI '13 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA '13). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 985-990. DOI=10.1145/2468356.2468532

Download Paper

5th ACM SIGGRAPH Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques in Asia, Emerging Technology | 29November - 1December 2012 | Shunichi Kasahara, Valentin Heun, Austin Lee / Second Surface co-authors, collaborators under advisement of Hiroshi Ishii

SIGGRAPH ASIA 2012 Emerging Technologies (Awarded Emerging Technologies Prize)


An environment for creative collaboration is significant for enhancing human communication and expressive activities, and many researchers have explored different collaborative spatial interaction technologies. However, most of these systems require special equipment and cannot adapt to everyday environment. This constraint prevents the interactive system from becoming a flexible platform for intuitive spatial expressions in physical environment. We introduce Second Surface, a novel multi-user augmented reality system that fosters a real- time interaction for user-generated contents on top of the everyday environment. This interaction takes place in the physical surroundings of everyday objects such as trees or houses. Second Surface uses image based AR recognition technology that recognizes natural image as the target. Based on the AR recognition, we estimate the pose of user’s device from the target object. Then our system allows users to place three dimensional drawings, texts, and photos relative to such objects and share this expression with any other co-located users who use the same software at the same spot. Our system can provide an alternate reality space that generates playful and natural interaction in an everyday setup for multiple users. Our goal is to create a second surface on top of the reality, invisible to the naked eyes could generate a real-time spatial canvas on which everyone could express themselves. We believe that our system can create an interesting and new collaborative user experience and encourages playful content generation. We also believe that our system can provide new ways of communicating within everyday environment such as cities, schools and households.

More information

SIGGRAPH ASIA 2012 | Emerging Technology Exhibition 29Nov-1Dec | Emerging Technologies Prize
Second Surface, a collaborative work between MIT Media Lab and Sony Corporation was introduced at the Emerging Technologies, SIGGRAPH ASIA 2012 and was awarded the Emerging Technologies Prize. (Main contribution: concept development, visual effects support, paper submission)

Shunichi Kasahara, Valentin Heun, Austin S. Lee, and Hiroshi Ishii. 2012. Second surface: multi-user spatial collaboration system based on augmented reality. In SIGGRAPH Asia 2012 Emerging Technologies (SA '12). ACM, New York, NY, USA, , Article 20 , 4 pages. DOI=10.1145/2407707.2407727

Download Paper

25TH ACM UIST SYMPOSIUM, Cambridge MA, US | 7-10 October 2012 | Austin S. Lee, Misha Sra, Gonglue Jiang and Sheng Ying Pao, co-presenters/co-authors for Demo session

UIST (ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology)


Traditional writing instruments have the potential to enable new forms of interactions and collaboration though digital enhancement. This work specifically enables the user to utilize pen and paper as input mechanisms for content to be displayed on a shared interactive whiteboard. We introduce a pen cap with an infrared led, an actuator and a switch. Pointing the pen cap at the whiteboard allows users to se-lect and position a “canvas” on the whiteboard to display handwritten text while the actuator enables resizing the canvas and the text. It is conceivable that anything one can write on paper anywhere, could be displayed on an interac-tive whiteboard.

Point and Share: From Paper to Whiteboard | Refereed Demo
On Monday, October 8 from 19:30 -22:00, our collaborative work done at the Tangible Interfaces class, Point and Share was demoed at the UIST '12 conference.

Misha Sra, Austin Lee, Sheng-Ying Pao, Gonglue Jiang, and Hiroshii Ishii. 2012. Point and share: from paper to whiteboard. In Adjunct proceedings of the 25th annual ACM symposium on User interface software and technology (UIST Adjunct Proceedings '12). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 23-24. DOI=10.1145/2380296.2380309

Download Paper

Industrial Designers Society of America(IDSA)'s 2012 International Conference, Boston, US | 15-18 August 2011 | Austin S. Lee, Yuseung Kim, Sam Luescher and Kshitij Marwah, Presenters for poster session

IDSA International Conference: FUTURE IS


It is obvious that as the boundaries of diverse disciplines are blurring, the role of designers is evolving rapidly. It is crucial for designers to develop a broad understanding of our profession and the surrounding world through interdisciplinary practices. In this paper we introduce Self-Organized Design Education, a curriculum that aims to transform designers into innovative thinkers, disruptive technologists, inventors, creative leaders and entrepreneurs within the emerging paradigms in design and technology. Self-Organized Design Education offers student-driven workshops as a process that allows students to tinker and “make as a way of thinking”, which is balanced with regular coursework that focuses on more rigorous research methods. Our goal is to widen designers’ perspectives, empowering them to become today’s problem solvers as well as speculators of the near future.

Our core questions are:

A. How should we structure a flexible ecosystem that builds upon student’s intrinsic motivation to pick up the skills needed in such an evolving context? The keywords are self-learning, knowledge management and independent teaching of peers.

B: What would a curriculum look like that provides freedom for individual exploration, while maintaining a strong connection to a post-educational world that demands commercially viable products?

Download Paper

Graduate Student Conference at the School of Visual Arts, NY, US | 3 December 2011 | Yuseung Kim and Austin S. Lee, Presenters

An interdisciplinary graduate student conference examining the contemporary dialogue between art, media and technology. Sponsored by the MFA Art Criticism and Writing Department at SVA, the Critical Information graduate conference provides a critical forum for current scholarship exploring the juncture of media, theory, criticism, and the visual arts. | Presenters
Download Paper

6TH SWISS DESIGN NETWORK CONFERENCE | NEGOTIATING FUTURES, DESIGN FICTION Design Conference at University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland Academy of Art and Design
Basel, Switzerland | 28-30 October 2010 | Austin S. Lee and Yuseung Kim, Workshop Organizers

The theme for the 6th Swiss Design Network Conference was Negotiating Futures-Design Fiction. Designers see the world not simply as it is, but rather as it could be. In this perspective, the world is a laboratory to explore the contingency of the existing and the thinking in options. Imaginations of the contra factual are a key source for the creation of alternative political, technological, social, or economic constellations of artifacts, interfaces, signs, actors, and spaces. At the same time, strategies of materialization are pivotal to shifting the boundary between the fictional and the real and to finally bring possible new realities into being. The conference addresses the questions of how fictions are designed and how the multiplicity of possible new futures is negotiated and realized. | Workshop Organizers