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“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”

– Steve Jobs

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Interaction Designer. Educator.

NETLab Toolkit

Interaction Design & Animism

USC Rossier School of Education

The New Ecology of Things Class

Object & Screen Speculations

The New Ecology of Things

Recent Posts

Occasional thoughts on Interaction Design


Animistic Collaborators in Mixed Reality

21st June 2017 By phil

This summer I’m conducting a research project on new approaches for AI in a Mixed Reality context. The project, extends my work with Animistic Design, but takes a different approach to AI embodiment, using the integration of virtual AI entities with “Real Reality.”

I’m working with five ArtCenter students from our Media Design Practices program: Stephanie Cedeño, Xing Lu, Godiva Reisenbichler, Nan H Tsai, Nicci Yin.

Project Description

This 2017 summer research project will explore how AI based, non-anthropomorphic animistic entities could work as colleagues and collaborators in Mixed Reality.
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Animistic Design – A New Approach to IoT & AI

16th March 2016 By phil

In a newly published paper, “Animistic design: how to reimagine digital interaction between the human and the nonhuman” (Digital Creativity – Special Issue: Post-Anthropocentric Creativity), my co-author Betti Marenko and I argue that a new model is needed for design in an Internet of Things world. We think it’s time to rethink the standards of Human Centered Design, AI, and interaction design, especially for open-ended, creative contexts, whether that’s directing a self-driving car, planning a vacation, or solving a hard legal problem.

See my Medium post “Rethink IxD” on this topic.

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The grain of the material in design

10th September 2014 By phil

Technology as the designer’s material

I would argue that the modern designer’s primary material is technology. And to effectively design and make digital things, you need to deeply understand technology’s affordances, characteristics, and limits – i.e. the grain of the material. Immerse yourself in serious making with technology, and you will become a better designer, able to invent new approaches and designs through your understanding of the material.

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