Actuated Experi[ences|ments] vol. 1 / University of Chicago, Actuated Experience Lab – AxLab (US), Photo: Emilie Faracci

Actuated Experi[ences|ments] vol. 1

University of Chicago, Actuated Experience Lab – AxLab (US)

Actuated Technology that Actuates People

AxLab invents, materializes, and speculates the future of interactive ‘actuated’ technologies to design novel user experiences. The work of the lab reimagines a relationship between humans and computers/machines where dynamic, reconfigurable interactive technologies​​​​ are integrated into everyday environments and materials. The lab’s vision, manifested by ‘Actuated Experience‘, foresees to build and speculate on user experience design that engages people to interact with technology in experiential ways, exploring the dual definition of the word ‘actuate.’

In this exhibit, AxLab showcases three of their latest experimental works which explore how actuation technology and AI could shape our future through their integration into everyday spaces, toys, and materials. Via the research prototypes, the lab asks an open question, “How would actuated technologies ‘actuate’ people?”

  • Threading Space

    Threading Space

    You Li (CN/US), Emilie Faracci (FR/US), Ramarko Bhattacharya (US), Harrison Dong (US), Yi Zheng (CN/US), Ken Nakagaki (JP/US)

    Threading Space develops spatial experiences by dynamically and geometrically reconfiguring physical lines. Using a swarm of mobile robots on the floor and ceiling to control lines of thread, the work explores how human’s spatial perception can be manipulated.

  • Tomo


    Lilith Yu (CA/US), Marco Wang (HK/US), Ken Nakagaki (JP/US)

    Tomo is a physical toy that utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) to chat and play with humans. Tomo is designed to ask intriguing questions, spark curiosity, foster creativity, and encourage exploration. As people engage with Tomo, it becomes increasingly attuned to their feelings, displaying a genuine “care” for the user.

  • Xs Sculpture

    Xs Sculpture

    Skylar Liu (US), Vasco Xu (PT/US), Ken Nakagaki (JP/US)

    Xs is a shape-changing user interface with high expandability and customizability based on reconfigurable interactive scissor mechanisms. With Xs Sculpture, we explore how such mechanisms can create 3D forms as kinetic sculpture, morphing into various kinetic artifacts.

About the AxLab

AxLab, founded and directed by Ken Nakagaki at the University of Chicago, conducts research in Human Computer Interaction, Interaction Design, and Robotics. The lab intersects interdisciplinary approaches and skills, and investigates a future of interactive technology through tangible, and curiosity-oriented prototyping processes.


Lilith Yu is supported by Stamps Scholars Program, and Emilie Faracci, Ramarko Bhattacharya, and Harrison Dong are supported by the University of Chicago’s Computer Science Conference Grant.