Katherine Isbister, Director. Katherine Isbister is a full professor in the University of California, Santa Cruz's Department of Computational Media, where she directs the Social Emotional Technology Lab, and the Center for Computational Experience. She has a Research through Design practice at the intersection of Human Computer Interaction and Games/Play, focused on interactive experiences that heighten social and emotional connections and wellbeing. She is the author of more than 100 peer-reviewed publications, and has shown games and playful experiences at IndieCade (Yamove! and SceneSampler), as well as at museums including the San Francisco Exploratorium and the Liberty Science Center in New Jersey. Her most recent book from MIT Press is How Games Move Us: Emotion by Design, winner of an American Library Association award. Isbister is a recipient of MIT Technology Review's Young Innovator Award, and is an ACM Distinguished Scientist. Personal page: http://www.katherineinterface.com / Email: katherine.isbister@ucsc.edu

Ph.D. students

Ferran Altarriba Bertran, Ph.D. candidate. Ferran is a Playful Interaction Designer, and currently a Computational Media Ph.D. student at UCSC. Ferran's research explores how to design everyday-use technologies that afford playful engagement with mundane activities and situations. As part of his research into playful technology, Ferran also investigates how to add an element of play to Human-Food Interaction—that is, the interplay between humans, food and technology. Ferran holds a double BA (Hons) degree in Multimedia and Interaction Design from the University of Girona (Spain) and the University of Lincoln (UK). He also graduated as an MSc in IT Product Design at the University of Southern Denmark, where he specialized on Participatory Innovation, and Playful and Embodied Design. In between his BA and MSc studies, Ferran did a one-year visiting scholarship in the Human Sensing Lab at Carnegie Mellon University. He's also been a visiting student at PHL Hasselt (Belgium) and TU/e Eindhoven (Netherlands). Personal page: www.ferranaltarriba.com / Email: ferranaltarriba@gmail.com
Suzanne B. da Camara, Ph.D. candidate. Suzanne is currently a Computer Science Ph.D. Candidate at UCSC. She is broadly interested in using technology to gain insights into human behavior. Her doctoral research concerns the research space of fidget objects and focuses on gaining new insights into fidgeting patterns, behaviors, and possible benefits. Her work includes both the study of the use of fidgets as well as the design of a smart fidget that records fidgeting interactions.
Peter Cottrell, Ph.D. candidate. Peter Cottrell has been studying at UCSC since 2009. He completed his BS in Bioengineering with a concentration in Rehabilitation under Sri Kurniawan working on LASSIE, an assitistive-living robot designed to help older people living alone. He continued onto his Ph.D. looking at designing embedded sensor devices to help record daily usage of objects for stroke recovery in hopes of improving recovery and tracking fidgeting habits of young children through Fidgit Widgets for detection of anxiety. He works in robotics, computer vision and user testing.
Ella Dagan, Ph.D. student. Ella creates interactive artifacts and experiences. She works at the intersection of fashion, technology, social psychology, storytelling, remembrance, and wonder. Currently she is a Computational Media Ph.D. student at UCSC. Ella’s research explores ubiquitous and embodied technology interventions and its potential to enhance co-located social experience and support people’s psychological wellbeing. Before starting her doctoral research, Ella earned a Masters degree from the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at the Tisch School of The Arts at New York University. The topic of her thesis there was an interactive, fully functioning installation exploring notions of intimate relationships and means of sharing memories with others through tangible artifacts infused with digital content. Previously, Ella worked for several years as a fashion designer in various market categories, and as a costume designer for art performances. Her familiarity with and experience in fashion design inspired her interest in wearable technology as a social mediator. Ella also earned dual Bachelors degrees in Psychology and Film & Television from Tel Aviv University, and a diploma in Fashion Design from Istituto Marangoni. Personal page: www.elladagan.com / Email: ella@ucsc.edu
Jared Duval, Ph.D. candidate. Jared Duval double majored in Computer Science and Information Technology for his Bachelor’s degree at Western New England University. He is currently a PhD student in the Computational Media Department studying under Sri Kurniawan in the ASSIST Lab and Katherine Isbister in the SET Lab. Jared is the creator of SpokeIt, a speech therapy game designed to improve the speech therapy experience for children born with orofacial cleft. He is interested in creating serious games for health and therapy that make use of novel technology that integrate into existing healthcare contexts. Jared has experience working as a respite nurse and has worked with people with developmental disabilites since he was a child. Jared is a performer at heart, funneling his creative passions into the games he makes. Research interests include serious games for health, Human-Computer-Interaction, assistive technology, participatory methods, and user testing. Personal page: www.jareduval.com
James Fey, Ph.D. student. James Fey is a current Computational Ph.D. student that has been a member of the SETLab since 2016. While completing his BS in Computer Science: Computer Game Design, he worked on various branches of the Social Wearables Project exploring applications of wearable technology in serious and game-based social settings. Since becoming a graduate student, he has continued working on social wearables along with expanding his research into maker kits and DIY learning. He is a frequent collaboratior on hardware projects in the SETlab and in 2019 he was a visiting researcher in the interaction lab at the Univeristy of Saskatoon. Email:jfey@ucsc.edu
Anya Kolesnichenko, Ph.D. student. Anya Kolesnichenko is a UX designer and presently a PhD student in Computational Media at Jack Baskin School of Engineering at University of California, Santa Cruz. Her research focuses on advancing user experiences in social VR and Mixed Reality platforms, fostering multidisciplinary approaches and games industry collaborations in design and development processes. With BS and MS degrees in Psychology from St. Petersburg State University (Russia), and Master of Arts degree in Human Computer Interaction and Game Design from Michigan State University, Anya has dedicated her professional journey both in academia and industry to create interactive and engaging virtual products that serve people’s needs, bring more fun to the world, and support social interactions. LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/anyakoles / Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnyaKoles / Email: akolesni@ucsc.edu

Master's students

Sean Fernandes, MSc student. Sean Fernandes is a Computational Media Master's student with a focus on Social VR augmentation. His work explores the use of playful interactions in VR space to improve group experiences, particularly with problem solving tasks. He also holds a BA degree in Cognitive Systems from the University of British Columbia.

Visiting students and interns

Muskan Gupta, undergraduate intern. Muskan Gupta, Intern. Muskan is a final year Industrial Design Undergrad at Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati, India. How we can create rich human experiences that make us feel is something Muskan is passionate about. Contemplating human existence, observing people and inquisitive questioning are some of her other interests. Being deeply fascinated by the subjective nature of humans, she adopts an emotion-driven approach in her design process. In her past projects, she has worked on the themes of wellbeing, human connection and communities. Some explored topics were using technology to implicitly encourage family bonding and designing immersive experiences for relaxation among students. As a project trainee at Bosch UX studio, she worked on projects involving conversational UX and visual design. At SET lab, she wishes to further her goal of creating people-centred delightful and meaningful experiences. Personal Page: https://issuu.com/muskanguptamay / Email: muskanguptamay@gmail.com
Alexandra Pometko, graduate visiting scholar. Alexandra is a Masters student in cognitive engineering at the Graduate School of Cognitics in Bordeaux (France). Her interest lies at the intersection of human factors and technology. She participated in academic and industry projects involving new technology for senior citizens and immersive experiences for chronic pain reduction, assessing their usability and acceptability in living labs. Alexandra also engaged in entrepreneurship in the fields of playful physical activity and disability with the goal to make physical activity enjoyable for people with chronic diseases. Her interest for interactive experiences with strong emotional impact led her to an internship at the SET lab to further investigate the social and emotional aspects of technology. LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/alexandra-pometko / Email: apometko@gmail.com

Alumni

Elena Márquez Segura is a design researcher in the areas of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Interaction Design (IxD), and Games & Play and works in application domains involving movement and social interaction, such as physical training, and movement-based social games. She designs and studies technologies that are closely and intimately related to the body, including bio- and movement-sensing technologies, and wearables, and she has led several wearables projects in the domains of games and physical training. Currently Elena works as a Beatriz Galindo Distinguished Researcher at Carlos III University in Madrid. Elena specializes in novel embodied design methods for the design of technology-supported physical and social activities. During 2016- 2017, Elena worked at the SETLab as a postdoctoral researcher, where she kicked off and led two projects: the Social Wearables and the Social VR project.
Joshua McVeigh-Schultz is an assistant professor in the School of Design at San Francisco State University. He holds a PhD in media arts and practice from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. He completed a postdoctoral position at UC Santa Cruz where he studied how virtual reality designers can shape pro-social interaction in social VR. He has published on a range of topics spanning: speculative ritual design, virtual reality, design fiction, animistic design, lifelogging, affordance theory, and civic media. At USC he worked as a design researcher in the Mobile and Environmental Media Lab (MEML). He has researched and consulted for a range of industry partners including Intel Labs, Microsoft Research, Mozilla, BMW, Cisco, and the Institute for the Future. He earned an MFA from UC Santa Cruz’s Digital Arts & New Media program and an MA in Asian studies from UC Berkeley. He also holds a BA in anthropology and cinema & media studies from the University of Chicago.
Pardis Miri, PhD, recently received her doctorate in the area of human computer interaction from University of California Santa Cruz. As a PhD student, she spent the last 3 years of her training at Stanford University under the supervision of Dr. Marzullo, Dr. Gross, and Dr. Isbister. For her dissertation, she took a multidisciplinary approach in using technology for affect regulation. More specifically, she explored the placement and pattern, and personalization of a vibrotactile breathing pacer system that she developed during her graduate studies. Her work was funded by the National Science Foundation and Intel labs. Prior to being a Ph.D. student, Miri earned her Master’s degree in computer science from the University of California San Diego in the area of Systems and Networking. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University conducting research in using vibrotactile technology to aid affect regulation in neurotypical and neurodiverse populations.
Raquel Robinson obtained her M.S in Computational Media from the University of California, Santa Cruz back in 2018 under the supervision of Katherine Isbister. During her Master's degree, she designed a tool called `All the Feels'—an overlay which adds game live streamers' biometric data onto the stream in order to enhance the spectator experience. Raquel is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada where she continues to collaborate with the SET lab. She is broadly interested in using affective physiological communication to enhance game experiences.
Jimmy Zhou obtained his M.S. in Computational Media from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2019. For his thesis project, he created a collocated, cooperative, dance VR game that used social touch and proximity to augment both the players and the spectator experience. After graduation, he moved on to become a UX Lab Analyst at Epic Games for a year. Currently, he's working at Riot Games as a researcher focusing on the gameplay side of League of Legends.