D3 2012: Speak Human

A week ago today, Kicker Studio held its 3rd Device Design Day conference. This year’s conference was a resounding success. Over 150 attendees gathered at the gorgeous San Francisco Art Institute for a full day of inspiration. From robots that get things done to Jinn to haptic prototypes to a bionic eye, D3 had something to offer everyone.

This year, Kicker Studio chose to focus the day on a topic close to home: Natural User Interface. As Jennifer and Jody explained in their opening remarks, the “Natural” in NUI is synonymous with “real” or “human”. Kicker’s message for D3: We are all at the frontier of product design, and it is time to teach technology to speak human.

Some of our favorite moments:

Tom Chi at Device Design Day

Hearing Tom Chi’s advice: learn fast, not guess fast or fail fast; rate-based goals increase the chances of success.


Dr. Alan Rorie at Device Design Day

Discovering that designers have much more in common with neuroscientists than they think, according to Kicker collaborator Alan Rorie. And, the bonus: hundreds of years of neuroscience research can inform and enhance design work.


Matt Powers at Device Design Day

Accepting that Johnny 5 is not alive, but, as roboticist Matt Powers pointed out, robots are really tools to get jobs done, and design is the key element in making these machines work for humans.



Exploring this year’s Robot Petting Zoo, which included a 15-foot inflatable robot strolling around the quad and a flaming cocktail robot warming up our cocktail hour.


Prototypers coerced outside to take a break!

Finding out that during the afternoon tracks, Andrew Milmoe and the Immersion crew couldn’t even get their workshop attendees to take a break from bringing stuffed animals alive with haptics.

We will post speaker slides and videos as soon as they are all collected. Stay tuned!

Photos by: Ulrika Andersson