Exploring your city is a great way to make friends, discover new places, find new interests, and invent yourself. Spotz is an Android app where everyone collectively defines the places they visit and the places in turn define them. Spotz allows you to discover yourself by discovering places. You tag a spot, create some buzz for it and, if everyone agrees the spot is 'fun' this bolsters your 'fun' quotient. If everyone agrees the spot is 'geeky' it pushes up your ‘geeky’ score. Thus emerges your personal tag cloud. Follow tags to chance upon new places. Find people with 'tag clouds' similar to your own and experience new places together. Create buzz for your favorite spots and track other buzz to find who has the #bestchocolatecake in town!

Misha Sra and Chris Schmandt


LocoRadio is a mobile, augmented-reality, audio browsing system that immerses you within a soundscape as you move. To enhance the browsing experience in high-density spatialized audio environments, we introduce a UI feature, "auditory spatial scaling," which enables users to continuously adjust the spatial density of perceived sounds. The audio will come from a custom, geo-tagged audio database. The current demo uses iconic music to represent restaurants. As users move in the city, they encounter a series of music and the perception enhances their awareness of the numbers, styles, and locations of nearby restaurants.

Wu-Hsi Li and Chris Schmandt is a project to build tools for consensus deliberation in an asynchronous, online context. It aims to help organizations communicate and make decisions more effectively, with greater participation and buy-in from all stakeholders.

Charlie DeTar and Chris Schmandt


The experience of being in a crowd is visceral. We feel a sense of connection and belonging through shared experiences like watching a sporting event, speech, or performance. In online environments, though, we are often part of a crowd without feeling it. ROAR is designed to allow very large groups of distributed spectators have meaningful conversations with strangers or friends while creating a sense of presence of thousands of other spectators. ROAR is also interested in creating opportunities for collective action among spectators and providing flexible ways to share content among very large groups. These systems combine to let you feel the roar of the crowd even if you're alone in your bedroom.

Drew Harry and Chris Schmandt

Tin Can

Communication technology has long strived to recreate the experience of being face-to-face with someone far way from you. But is the feeling of 'being there' enough to make communication and collaboration effective, engaging, and efficient? In the Tin Can series, I explore ways of connecting both geographically remote and co-located groups using tablet-based applications to provide better awareness about the interests and attitudes of other people. Although these projects focus on different kinds of contexts, they share an interest in giving people new non-verbal ways to express themselves. These new kinds of participation expand ideas about what legitimate participation in a meeting or conversation looks like. Perhaps you're not talking actively, but are helping to curate future ideas or tasks that will be useful to everyone after the meeting.

Drew Harry and Chris Schmandt

On the Run

Going for a run is a great way to get exercise and feel rejuvenated, but it can also get repetitive and boring. By contrast, digital games can be very engaging and addictive but traditionally force players to be physically inactive. This project is a mobile phone application that transforms a run into an immersive game by presenting a series of story-based running tasks to motivate the player. Requiring that the game be played while running constrains the design in terms of both input and output, and this system demonstrates ways to manage those constraints while still providing a compelling experience. A six person evaluation validates the concept and offers useful design feedback.

Matt Donahoe


The living room is the heart of social and communal interactions in a home. Often present in this space is a screen: the television. When in use, this communal gathering space brings together people and their interests, and their varying needs for company, devices, and content. This project focuses on using personal devices such as mobile phones with the television; the phone serves as a controller and social interface by offering a backchannel to convey engagement, laughter, and viewer comments, and to create remote co-presence.

Andrea Colaço and Chris Schmandt

Guiding Light

Guiding Light is a navigation-based application that provides directions by projecting them onto physical spaces both indoors and outdoors. It enables a user to get relevant spatial information by using a mini projector in a cell phone. The core metaphor involved in this design is that of a flashlight which reveals objects in and information about the space it illuminates. For indoor navigation, Guiding Light uses a combination of an e-compass, an accelerometer, proximity sensors, and tags to appropriately place information. In contrast to existing heads-up displays that push information into the user's field of view, Guiding Light works on a pull principle relying entirely on users' requests and control of information.

Chris Schmandt, Jaewoo Chung, Ig-Jae Kim and Kuang Xu

Merry Miser

Merry Miser is a system to help beat impulse spending and save money. It provides useful and persuasive information at the right time and place, using your mobile phone.

Charlie DeTar

My Second-Bike

This project is a novel concept for a social TV application, targeting the demographic of viewers enjoying live sports events, such as road bicycle racing. We intend to enhance the viewing experiences of spectators with sensor-fitted bikes tied to an interactive biking environment on television. The system enables a new form of personalized, physical, and virtual-reality interaction between viewers and a TV program, as well as interactions within or among communities of friends. We have created a prototype, My Second Bike, which uses a 3-D mirrored world environment (Google Earth) to visually represent participating spectators, competing athletes, and outdoor bikers. We contend that the system has the potential to attract and support a large user base on account of its scalability, ease of deployment, and ability to promote audience participation in live sports events on TV.

Chris Schmandt, Jaewoo Chung, Andrea Colaço and Kuang Xu

Presentation Spaces

Presentations in virtual environments tend to suffer from a number of common problems: presenters are easily overwhelmed by unfamiliar audience activity, communication among audience members is often difficult and distracting to the presenter, and managing what you're looking at is difficult for both presenters and audience members. In this project, we designed a set of standalone components for Sun Microsystem's Project Wonderland virtual environment that can be combined into a system that addresses these core issues with presentations by taking advantage of the spatial properties of virtual worlds and creating presentation experiences that are more than recreations of face to face experiences. This work was done at Sun Labs in collaboration with the Project Wonderland research group.

Drew Harry, Jordan Slott and Nicole Yankelovich

Sharemote: Collaborative TV

Watching TV with multiple people can be an enjoyable social experience, but control of the television is still limited to a single person with the remote. The goal of this project is to improve group interactions by allowing everyone in the room to share control of the television. Traditionally everyone must wait for a single person to flip through the channels in order to find interesting content to watch. With our system, each person can look for content on their individual device and then share it with the group by sending it to the television.

Chris Schmandt and Matt Donahoe

SpaceBox: Location-Based Messaging

SpaceBox explores the addressing of location-specific messages (text, voice, images) to an intended recipient or group of recipients. Its key features include tagging places of interest when a sender is physically present at that location and projecting messages to a specific location. The recipient would receive such messages only when in the vicinity of the tagged location.

Chris Schmandt, Andrea Colaço and Jaewoo Chung


How many decisions does it take before you hear a desired piece of music on your iPod? First, you are asked to pick a genre, then an artist, then an album, and finally a song. The more songs you own, the tougher the choices are. To resolve the issues, we turn the modern music player into an old analog radio tuner, the Radio-ish Media Player. No LCDs, no favorite channels, all you have is a knob that will help you surf through channel after channel accompanied by synthesized noise. Radio-ish is our attempt to revive the lost art of channel surfing in the old analog radio tuner. Let music find you: your ears will tell you if the music is right. This project is not only a retrospective design, but also our reflection on lost simplicity in the process of digitalization. A mobile phone version is also available for demo.

Wu-Hsi Li, Chris Schmandt and Barry Vercoe