User Experience for Humans


This morning I visited the UX meetup hosted by Designkitchen’s Samantha Rosa and Barbara Luciani along with Proof Advertising. Several breakout discussions occurred around the current state of UX design, the expanding and changing roles of the UX designer, and the evolution of the UX workflow within various organizations.

Later in the morning I attended “Leap Motion & the Disappearing User Interface.” WSJ tech reporter Jessica Lessin interviewed Leap Motion cofounders Michael Buckwald and David Holz. The two young entrepreneurs discussed their motivation in creating the remarkable hand-motion controlled user interface device. Buckwald and Holz passionately explained that user interfaces are holding computing back and continuing to separate humans from the interactive experiences in front of them. By using the oldest interactivity paradigm we have, reaching out and grabbing something, we will perceive our digital actions as real, natural, and memorable.

They also explained that attaining their desired goal, making every interface respond smartly to humans (as opposed to the other way around), is difficult and requires very advanced software algorithms to allow an interface respond intelligently to human “touch”. Dismissing gesture-based touch interfaces as a step in the wrong direction, Holz remarked that the future involves software that responds to the natural ways we interact with our world: through grip, voice, eye movement, etc.

The 24 year-old pair have been friends since childhood. Buckwald had already started and sold two companies before starting Leap Motion with Holz who is a mathematics wizard. The Leap Motion controller will launch this May for $79.99. It is now available for pre-order. For more information check out

In the afternoon I enjoyed a talk by two Japanese technologists, Daito Manabe and Kaoru Sugano. In their session titled “Creative Collaboration Using an Open Source Model” Manabe demonstrated the process of using open source to promote the Japanese pop sensation Perfume. By using an Xbox connect to capture his own dancing motions, Manube posted the motion data to Github, the open source hub ubiquitous in the development community. Fans used this data to create their own rendered videos of dancing characters using those movements to the music of Perfume and submitted them back. The results were great. Over 600 quality submissions came back. Manabe also used Github to host 3d printer models and is working on a project to open source human genome data. Sugano gave a fascinating presentation regarding his many projects including several big data projects using Twitter as a data source to predict traffic patterns and help with the tsunami relief effort.

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