The Interactive Product Design Lab

Starting with consumer electronics, user experience, and interaction design, we teach interactive technologies to our students. Most importantly, we focus on ways to shape a set of playful tools and create engaging environments.

The Interactive Product Design Lab (IPDL) supports both teaching and research by providing students access to investigate, explore and experiment with an extensive array of new technologies.

Central to this concept, the School of Industrial Design has placed a high priority on the need to foster and develop interdisciplinary team-based collaboration with other educational and research units from across the campus including School of Interactive Computing, School of Mechanical Engineering, the Graphics Visualization and Usability Lab (GVU) and the Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access (CATEA).

Recent Projects

The Sense: Applying The New Interaction In A Connected Car

By Matthew Ward, Shannon Lecates, Grant Andujar, Oluwaseyi Amole

"The Sense" is an undergraduate project from ID 3052 Junior Interactive ID Studio 2. It explores novel and tangible user interface that could help drivers reduce distraction from visual information in both built-in displays and other screens in car.

Students employ IPDL making resources and then the test environment in GM-HMI lab to create and prototype a new haptic interface based on the physical space in the back of steering wheel. The project mirrors the core tenets that shape the School of Industrial Design education:

  • Design through making platform, and design for mass-production
  • Designing the artifact with interaction and experience considerations
  • Research through design and design making.

The Light Orchard: An Immersive Display Platform for Collaborative Tangible Interaction

By James Hallam, Clement Zheng, Heydn Ericson, Noah Posner, Matthew Swarts, Ellen Yi-Luen Do

The Light Orchard is created by Ph.D. students, graduate students, and faculty. It is an installation that encourages crowds to collaboratively interact with a tangible field of information, visualized by 36 lantern stations.

The interface is presented as a stack of lantern shades, which can track user interaction through capacitive touch and motion. The system is designed as a platform capable of displaying multiple different games, animations, and simulations, and adapts to support many different group interactions.

Haptic Mirror Therapy Glove

By James Hallam

Haptic Mirror Therapy Glove is a Ph.D. student research work received the Jury Award in the Functional category at ISWC 2013 Design Exhibition in Zurich. Designer used sensor input and a multi-sensory display to augment the Mirror Therapy protocol used in post-stroke rehabilitation.

Tapping the fingers of the unaffected hand stimulates a tactile response on the corresponding fingers of the affected hand. Visual indicators reinforce the haptic pathway. When used in front of a mirror such that the unaffected hand is seen visually in the place of the affected hand, the gloves may help re-build neural pathways for sensation and motor control in the affected limb.


Ballet Hero

By James Hallam, Emily Keen, Alison McKenna, Christa Lee, Mudit Gupta

Ballet Hero is a Ph.D. and master student research work received the Jury Award in the Functional category at ISWC 2014 Design Exhibition in Seattle.

Dance training requires dedication and repetition. Students need guidance, time, and repetition to accumulate experience and begin to dance with confidence. Communicating the feeling of embodied movement is hard. Teachers have no method for communicating embodiment directly – instead they rely on gesture, metaphor, and touch.

Augmented training tools could help students learn faster. Mirrored synchronous movements enhanced with live feedback could decrease the initial complexity of learning ballet and provide earlier access to a feeling of embodiment. Ballet Hero is a garment that incorporates visual feedback inspired by animation techniques that more directly convey the essential movements of ballet. It operates using an Arduino microcontroller, and was built using contemporary e-textile materials and techniques.


Interested in working with us?

Please contact Jim Budd, Chair and Professor, Or Noah Posner, Research Scientist,