Cati VaucelleAlumni

Cati Vaucelle
Through an interdisciplinary lens that brings together engineering, art, cognitive science, and healthcare, I explore the anthropomorphic nature of hybrid physical/digital objects and their promise to be catalysts towards unforeseen discoveries. I design objects to offer anima and perspective: from the haptic jacket that an autistic patient wears to express to the doctor what it means to be sensory defensive, to the electromagnetic field detector bracelet that transforms invisible information into visible data for a feeling of empowerment, or an environment where instead of you taking care of your avatar in massive online games, your avatar turns around and takes care of your biological needs.

This trend in designing objects with perspectives led me to a fundamental quest in exploring the simplicity of tangible and gestural object interaction combined with the flexibility of digital systems.

For my PhD, I define the framework, Gesture Object Interaction, expanding on the fields of Tangible User Interaction and Gesture Recognition. I generated a suite of automatic film assembly tools accessible to diverse users. The tools that I designed allow for capture, editing and performing to be completely indistinguishable from one another. Gestures integrated with objects become a coherent interface on top of natural play. I built a distributed, modular camera environment and gesture interaction to control that environment. The goal of these new technologies is to motivate children to take new visual and narrative perspectives, engendering social growth.

Cati Vaucelle is currently a research assistant and Ph.D. candidate in the Tangible Media Group at the MIT Media Lab under the guidance of Dr. Hiroshi Ishii. She specializes in the design of hybrid physical/digital objects for play, performance and psycho-physiotherapy exploring the simplicity of tangible and gestural object interaction combined with the flexibility of digital systems. This research yields applications in fields as diverse as video making, technology-mediated storytelling, gaming and clinical intervention. With over a decade of professional and academic experience, Cati’s expertise includes human-computer interaction, prototyping (software, hardware, fabrication), educational toys, cognitive science and healthcare. Cati is a 2008 Rockefeller Foundation New Media Fellow Nominee, a 2005 John F. Kennedy Scholar for her studies at Harvard University and former Mattel Fellow for four consecutive terms. Her technology-infused artworks and installations have received numerous grants, awards and recognitions.

Cati Vaucelle graduated from MIT in 2002 with a Master’s in Media Arts and Sciences and then from Harvard University in 2006 with a Master’s in Product Design. Knowledge shopper at heart, in France, she received BS degrees in computer science (computational linguistics, AI) and applied math (economics), with a minor in fine arts (photography) as well as a master’s in computer sciences in conjunction to the French equivalent of an MFA. Cati is the author of over thirty peer-reviewed academic publications. Her work has been featured in various internationally recognized design, art and sciences publications including the I.D. Magazine Annual Design Review, the New Scientist, LA Times, Make Magazine, Boston Herald, Boston Globe, The Sydney Morning Herald, Televisual Magazine and in over 300 international blogs with project references and interviews such as Boing Boing, Engadget, PopScience, CNET news, Make, Forbes, Discovery Channel, Tech TV, WoW Insider, Gizmodo and We Make Money Not Art. By regularly consulting with various technology and consumer electronics firms, Cati’s research has been incorporated into several innovative products by Fischer Price, Lego, and Mattel.

Blog: Architectradure

Contact: cati [at] media [dot] mit [dot] edu

Doctoral Dissertation Defense



Play it by eye, frame it by hand! Gesture Object Interfaces to enable a world of multiple projections.Thesis 2010
WOW podCHI 2010
Design of Haptic Interfaces for PsychotherapyCHI 2009
Play-it-by-eye! Collect Movies and Improvise Perspectives with Tangible Video Objects. Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing (AIEDAM) 2009
Cost-effective Wearable Sensor to Detect EMFCHI 2009 2009
Picture This! Film assembly using toy gesturesUBICOMP 2008
From Touch Sensitive to Aerial JewelryFashionable Technology, The intersection of Design, Fashion, Science, and Technology 2008
The Everyday CollectorUbicomp 2008, ACM Press. 2008
Electromagnetic Field Detector Bracelet Ubicomp 2008 2008
Interfacing Video Capture, Editing and Publication in a Tangible EnvironmentINTERACT 2007
Touch . Sensitive ApparelCHI 2007
Jabberstamp: Embedding sound and voice in traditional drawingsIDC 2007
Jabberstamp: embedding sound and voice in traditional drawings SIGGRAPH 2007
The Texture of LightSIGGRAPH 2006
Affective TouchCastingSIGGRAPH 2006
PlayPals: Tangible Interfaces for Remote Communication and PlayCHI 2006
TapTap: A Haptic Wearable for Asynchronous Distributed Touch TherapyCHI 2006
Dolltalk: a computational toy to enhance children's creativityCHI 2002
Hover: Conveying Remote PresenceSIGGRAPH 2002