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Cindy (Hsin-Liu)

Kao

Assistant Professor
Design + Environmental Analysis
Office

MVR 2411

Phone

Dr. Kao directs the Hybrid Body Lab, which focuses on the invention of culturally-inspired materials, processes, and tools for crafting technology on the body surface. Designing across scales, we explore how body scale interfaces can enhance our relations with everyday products and both natural and man-made environments. We conduct research at the intersection of Human-Computer Interaction, Wearable Computing, Digital Fabrication, Fashion Design, and Body Art. We synthesizing this knowledge to contribute a culturally-sensitive lens to the future of designs that interface the body and the environment. Our current investigations include:
 

Wearable Technology & On-Skin Interfaces
We develop novel wearable interfaces and fabrication processes, with a focus on skin-conformable or textile-based form factors. By hybridizing miniaturized robotics, machines, and materials with cultural body decoration practices, we investigate how technology can be situated as a culturally meaningful material for crafting our identities.
 

Designing Skins Across Scales
‘Many different types of machines that were parts of architecture have become parts of our bodies.’ --Bill Mitchell, Me++

We design “skins” that can be adapted across scales, from the architectural to the body scale. We investigate the interactions of a wearer’s body-borne interface with its surrounding ecology. This includes its interaction with other people, objects, to environments. We are also interested in developing skins that can be deployed across scales -- from the body to architectural.


Understanding Social Perceptions Towards On-Body Technologies
Wearable devices have evolved towards intrinsic human augmentation, unlocking the human skin as an interface for seamless interaction. However, the non-traditional form factor of these on-skin interfaces may raise concerns for public wear. These perceptions will influence whether a new form of technology will eventually be accepted, or rejected by society.  We investigate the cultural and social concerns that need to be considered when generating on-body technologies for inclusive design.

  • DEA 1110: Making a Difference By Design 
  • Ph.D. MIT Media Lab
  • M.S. in Computer Science, National Taiwan University
  • B.S in Computer Science, National Taiwan University
  • B.B.A. in Technology Management, National Taiwan University
  • Diversity committee for the College of Human Ecology, representing the DEA Department
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