Project 1 – Masters Of Control

Master of Control is a one week project which each students is assigned a couple of interactive product technology masterworks to research and report back about. Some of the assigned topics are conceptual pieces that portray an idea of how technologies of the future will work; others are relevant platforms or products that embody an important interactive technology, a powerful brand experience, or an idea. All of these pieces are touchstones that represent major directions or future visions in interactive design, user experience, and/or branding.

The first task is to perform careful research to get to know the assigned pieces inside and out. Then, using a combination of low-fidelity prototyping techniques, recreate the key modes of interaction.

Students should be mindful of the interactive experience of the master pieces. What inputs are available to the user? What responses would occur? What sensory modalities are engaged? What are its strengths and weaknesses? In the re-creation, students should present how things work when all is well, but also show what can happen when things go awry, or if the modality is taken too far. Full Project Brief

Guest Critic: Bradley Kreit, Research Director, Institute for the Future



Student Presentations

Lei Xiang

Assigned Masterworks: Electrolux Vacuum (1960) – Bang and Olufsen (current)

Recreation: Silent Auction

Branding is powerful. These two famous companies Electrolux and B&O both are successful branding cases. They provide products with the incredibly high price. Successful branding is one of the most important elements for them to sell products well.

I recreated a silent auction experience to show how branding and visual communication relevant to a luxury product. The product I sold is a normal flash drive, and I used the electromagnetic levitation installation make it floating. It looks pretty and high-tech. Then let classmates and professors write the price they would like to pay for this “luxury” flash drive.


Raquel Kalil

Assigned Masterworks: 1964 AT&T Picture phone & 2011 Beam Telepresence

Recreation: Talk To Me

Conversational interfaces is not a new topic, but how and when people engage with each other can affect our relationship with technology. Talk with me is a tele beam aperture for language learners to discover and practice their communication skills with strangers around the world.

This installation took place on campus, where one aperture was placed in a common space and another was set up with a French speaker from Canada. When someone engages with the aperture, the French speaker tunes in and talks to the new guest. This notion of jumping into the conversation encourages people to stop and interact with a stranger and hopefully learn a new way to say, “hello”.


Ji Won Yeom

Assigned Masterworks:  The Clapper (1985) and Kinect (2010)

Recreation: You are annoying, not convenience

Technologies often lead a major improvements in our daily life, but the user experience of bringing a new technology onto any scene can often frustration.

A quick performance named You are annoying, not convenience which took place during class session showed the real user experiences of using new technology. Originally, the Clapper allows users to control devices just by the sound of clap, but oftentimes, it is triggered by other sound factors.

The whole performance is about a person who had an exhausted day and came home to have a good relaxed moment using the Clapper which supposed to be a new convenience device. However, it is triggered by all the other noises such dog barking or honking. Eventually, the user got upset, set aside the device.

Most people might have imagined at least one that hope there are some way that they do not need to get off from the bed, but are available to turn off the light in bed. However, with the Clapper they’ll never find themselves in these annoying situations again. That is what it supposed to be.


Joyce Lu

Assigned Masterworks:  The Jetsons (1962) home scenes & iRobot Roomba (today)

Recreation: Helping hand, or…?

Domestic robots aim to bring convenience, freeing up time for us to do more. It’s perfect when it works fine, however, there’s still times when something breaks down, or when technology isn’t at our fingertips, such as when we lose our cell phone, and we’re left helpless, frustrated, not able to complete even a simple task. Helping hand, or…? is a skit that takes the class through the enactment of this through Jane’s encounters.

The skit opens with Jane waking up to a cleaned room, thanks to the Roomba, which helped vacuumed the room while she was asleep. In the next scene, going into midweek, Jane enjoys the convenience of remotely setting her Roomba to clean her home in preparation for a friend’s visit later that same evening. The skit took a turn in the closing scene, where Jane returned home to a stuck Roomba, helpless and frustrated as she couldn’t get the Roomba to work, nor had access to other cleaning tools, and her friends were due to arrive shortly.


Zhengnan Zhao

Assigned Masterworks: The Game of Work, Pavlok, & Green Goose

Recreation:  Angry Bear

Game design theory is of vital importance for interaction designers to design and create impressing experience. One of the reasons is game is invented with human nature and developed with civilization. The master pieces show successful implication of game design method: Clear goals; Clear Scorekeeping; Feedback; Rewards; and Penalties.

Angry Bear is a phone charger allows user to get rid of their social media addiction. Users set up a timer and put the mobile phone on the charger. Before the timer ends, the phone is supervised by the bear and if you remove the phone from the territory of the bear, the bear will be angrily shaking body with roars and red eyes.


Li Song

Assigned Masterworks: Design for Dreaming & Smart Things

Recreation: Smart House

Smart House, it knows human’s more than they do and give reaction depends on user’s body. For example, it plans user’s meals everyday. It learns from users, and make decisions for them. In this project, I was trying to make audiences to think What’s the edge of technology. How to balance convenience and pleasure of experience.



Assigned Masterworks:  Ubik 1969 (Novel) & Cowarobot R1 Smart Suitcase

Recreation: Smartphone with personality.

Ubik is a science fiction book about a smart house with a personality. The R1 Smart Suitcase applies a similar concept by providing intelligence to a suitcase. It’s an item that will follow you all the time. You don’t need to hold it; It’s completely hands-free. Because of the convenience, in the future, these kinds of robots will be popular in our lives.

In the future, robots will not be just robots; they will have emotions and personalities. Furthermore,  cell phones are still going to be just as popular as they are today.. However, they will have the same rights as humans because of their “humanly features”. As an example, the cell phone I created will have a human personality. This will allow a human to hold a conversation with their smart phone.


Beizi(Ricky) Zhang

Master piece: Rossum’s Universal Robots & Jibo

Recreation: Heard from you

Humanoid Robot, Social Robot and Emotion Robot seems like a evolution and trends. more and more people need robot could have emotion, can get the point of themselves and accompany them  in some moments.

This experience took place in smartphone, once you open the app, you can get in touch with Jibo and gain some feedback from robot through SSA and TTS techniques. when user want to someone heard from themselves or talk with others, they could use this to engage with it.  


Yichun Wang

Assigned Masterworks: Sony Aibo & Hasbro

Recreation: Robot Pets 

Sony Aibo and Hasbro are Robot pets that service as companions for people. Another great example is the Paro Therapeutic Robot. It can help patients feel comfortable in their surroundings and help them communicate with others. What’s the relationship between the owner and robot pet in the future? 

Divyasree Chembrolu

Assigned Masterworks: Microsoft Bob, Siri and Alexa

Recreation:  Fails and Successes

Conversational interfaces have a long history, from Microsoft Bob and Clippy to Siri, Alexa, Google Home and Jibo. They gained more layers of personalities and intuitive responses. Users started using them creatively, but they failed sometimes Inevitably.


Jessica (Jieyu) Yang

Assigned Masterworks:  Majestic & Pokemon Go

Recreation:  Redesign the Majestic game 

Majestic was designed to blur the line between reality and fantasy by actively pursuing the player in real time with phone calls, email, faxes, and instant messages – all intended to draw the player deeper into its sci-fi conspiracy-theory narrative. If ARGs can spark players to solve very hard fictional problems, could the games be used to solve real-world problems?



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