Featured Projects

Bohemian Bookshelf

Bohemian Bookshelf

Strolling through a library or a bookstore can be a very rewarding experience especially when we discover intriguing books that we were not looking for initially. However, common digital interfaces for library catalogues are more geared toward targeted search rather than open-ended explorations of books. They require the input of a search term before they display a list of books that match the query. This can be a problematic starting point when we don’t exactly know what we are looking for but just want to casually browse through a book collection and be inspired. With the Bohemian Bookshelf our intention was to create a digital parallel to the open-ended “browsing the shelves” experience that has been shown to encourage serendipitous discoveries in libraries or bookstores. The Bohemian Bookshelf consists of five interlinked visualizations, each providing a different perspective on the book collection. The visualizations represent the aesthetic and tangible qualities of books, as well as content data. By providing a variety of perspectives on books, we aim to provide different access points to the collection and to encourage a playful, open-ended yet pleasurable approach to book exploration.


G-nome Surfer


G-nome Surfer is a multi-touch tabletop user interface for collaborative exploration of genomic data. It was designed in collaboration with scientists and science educators over a three-years long iterative and participatory process. G-nome Surfer allows users to compare, annotate, share, and relate heterogeneous data including genome visualizations, publications, gene expression, and BLAST results. It provides support for early stages of genomic investigations- data exploration and hypothesis formation, as well as for later stages of analysis and reflection. These activities are often collaborative and typically take place in a conference room. We designed G-nome Surfer for small research labs that focus on the training of future scientists, where experienced researchers often work closely with novice researchers to provide guidance. Evaluation of G- nome Surfer shows that it lowers the threshold for using advanced bioinformatics tools, reduces the mental workload associated with manipulating genomic information, and fosters effective collaboration. This project is funded by the NSF.


Harvard Library UX & Library Explorer

Library Explorer on SUR40

Our team is made up of members from various corners of the Harvard community and we benefit from close collaborations with the Brown Graphics Group and the Simmons GSLIS Usability Lab. Currently, we are focused on further developing interactive software called Library Explorer, built primarily for the Microsoft SUR40, and testing the user experience, interfacing with library digital collections through new touch and gesture based systems. Both structured and unstructured usability tests, conducted in Cabot Library, and led by Dr. Rong Tang from Simmons, will evaluate how Harvard students interact with these new technologies. Software development has been done primarily by the Brown Graphics Group and we have received further support from HUIT and ITS. Three SUR40s in all have been installed in the Harvard Library at the Cabot, Lamont and Wolbach Libraries, where staff are working on additional ideas and events to engage their communities through this new interactive technology.


IntuiFace Presentation

IntuiFace Presentation

IntuiFace Presentation is a do-it-yourself authoring environment for the creation of rich multi-touch and sensor-enabled presentations that will engage any audience and enhance your message. No programming skills are necessary as IntuiFace Presentation automatically converts all of  your content – images, documents, videos, 3D models, etc. – into interactive assets you can orchestrate into stunning presentations for Windows 7 and Windows 8-based tablets, tabletops, kiosks and touchscreen walls. IntuiFace Presentation is part of the IntuiLab company, a global leader in the creation of interactive digital experiences.


MoClo Planner


Synthetic biology is an emerging field that promises to revolutionize biotechnology through the design and construction of new biological constructs useful for medicine, agriculture, and industry. Software tools for this field are currently immature. In this project we investigate how interactive tabletops and surfaces could be utilized to enhance innovation in biological design. We are currently developing MoClo Planner, a multi-touch interface, which supports the collaborative design and construction of complex biological constructs from a curated collection of biological parts. This collaborative bio-design tool simplifies the information gathering, design, and specification of complex biological constructs using the Golden Gate Molecular Cloning (MoClo) method. This is a collaborative project with the BU CIDAR research lab. This project is funded by the NSF and Agilent.


Navigating the Giza Pyramids: Archival data and 3D interfaces


The Giza Project, a non-profit international initiative based at Harvard University, assembles information about all the archaeological activity at the most famous site in the world: the Giza Pyramids and surrounding cemeteries and settlements (3rd millennium BCE to present). Using digital archaeology, the Project unites diverse documentation to produce powerful online and traditional academic research tools and new teaching technologies. It presents academic information about Giza at all levels of expertise for the world community and strives to provide a model of archaeological information management.




NUIverse is an application for exploring “Natural User Interaction” with a large, multi-dimensional dataset, in this case the solar system and surrounding universe. This build for the Samsung SUR40 with Microsoft PixelSense demonstrates multi-touch gestures, multi-user and multi-directional UI, and object-interaction with transparent “tagged” objects. This demo session will provide an opportunity to see a live demonstration and to ask questions about the design, development, and interaction with the application.


Smithsonian The Wonder of Light: Touch and Learn!

Microsoft Surface at Smithsonian - Wonder of Light 2

The Wonder of Light: Touch and Learn exhibit was created by Smithsonian staff along with experts from the InfoStrat Advanced Technology Group. The exhibit encourages  children to explore multiple dimensions of light such as: light and shadow in paintings, Thomas Edison’s lightbulb, fire as a source of light, prisms, stamps depicting lighthouses and even deep-sea, underwater fish that thrive despite a lack of sunlight in a whole new, interactive way.  The Microsoft screen in the exhibit is activated by both light and touch and can be used simultaneously by all who can fit around it. Museum-goers can use everyday tools, such as a flashlight, paintbrush, magnifying ring, a prism and lightbulb models, to interact with the display since it also recognizes real, 3-D objects. For example, children can start a virtual fire by rubbing real sticks above movable, on-screen logs—simulating how friction can ignite a flame.


TAG: Touch Art Gallery and WorkTop, a desktop for the humanities


Touch Art Gallery (TAG) is a Windows 8 Metro Application that enables museums to showcase exceptionally large, fragile, or otherwise difficult to display artworks.  It uses Microsoft’s DeepZoom technology to smoothly load portions of images at different resolutions, allowing a user to rapidly pinch-zoom, for example, from the entirety of the 370 foot long, 50 gigapixel “Garibaldi panorama” to the brushstrokes on the ocean in one square inch. TAG is a touch-first system that can run on devices ranging from the Microsoft Surface tablet to an 82″ interactive whiteboard. Content authoring gives curators full control over the display of artworks, exhibitions, and “guided tours” in the style of Ken Burns “pan-zoom” narratives,  as well as the metadata, style, and branding of the entire application. Simplicity of operation has been the key design goal for both viewers and curators.

TAG is an application within the WorkTop hypermedia framework. It permits users to interconnect and annotate collections of documents, ranging from PDF and MS Office files to audio, video, and browser files, in an unbounded 2D work space.  Users can save, and later restore, time-encoded snapshots of the 2D layout, thereby being able to capture different perspectives and levels of detail in their workflow.


The nsquared application suite


For last five years nsquared has had a mission to put digital tables everywhere. The nsquared application suite consists of a number of software applications designed enhance conversations that happen around a table.

With a focus on learning and improving collaboration the nsquared software suite contains applications targeting K-12 students, and software designed to improve the experience at a meeting table.

This suite of applications uses the digital table as a place to display and share virtual documents, annotate ideas, display calendars, find available meeting rooms and share media.

Please come and explore a number of applications that are already running in universities, libraries and meeting rooms around the world.


Windows 8 – Windows Reimagined for gesture based computing


Windows 8 has been reimagined to focus on your life. The beautiful, fast, and fluid design is perfect for a range of hardware: from compact, touch-enabled slates and lightweight laptops, to large, powerful all-in-ones. With Windows 8, you don’t have to choose between a touch device and a PC because you can have it both ways.  We will also review the Microsoft Surface hardware family.


World Wide Telescope

World Wide Telescope

From web to desktop to full dome planetarium, WorldWide Telescope (WWT) enables you to explore the universe, bringing together imagery from the best ground and space-based telescopes in the world and combining it with 3D navigation. Experience narrated guided tours from astronomers and educators featuring interesting places in the sky. You can research and import your own data and visualize it, then create a tour to share with others.