Ken Nakagaki is an interaction designer and HCI (Human-Computer Interaction) researcher from Japan. As a Ph.D. Candidate in the Tangible Media Group of the MIT Media Lab, he focused on inventing novel user interface technologies that seamlessly combine dynamic digital information or computational aids into daily physical tools and materials. He is passionate about creating novel physical embodied experiences using such interfaces through curiosity-driven tangible prototyping processes.

Before joining the Media Lab, he received Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in interaction design from Keio University. His research has been presented in top HCI conferences (ACM CHI, UIST, TEI) including 9 full paper publications (two of them received the Honorable Mention Award). His works were also demonstrated in international exhibitions and museums such as the Ars Electronica Festival and Laval Virtual. He has received numerous awards, including the MIT Technology Review’s Innovators Under 35 Japan, the Japan Media Arts Festival, and James Dyson Award.

Please read my blog about joining the University of Chicago.


Focus Areas: Human-Computer Interaction, User Interfaces, Robotics

‘Actuated Tangible User Interfaces’

My HCI (human-computer interaction) research focuses on designing and developing Actuated Tangible User Interfaces (A-TUIs). A-TUI is an emerging type of user interface that can physically actuate (shape-change and move) for novel user interaction.

While modern computer interfaces (laptops, smartphones/watches, IoT, VR/AR, etc.) have remained physically static and visually dominant for information display and interactivity, A-TUIs can physically convey digital information and dynamically adapt to bodily interaction.

My research in A-TUI merges physical materials with computational and robotic technologies for creating a seamless tangible interaction experience.


Human Computer Interaction

Exploring the interfaces between people and technologies

News & Events

UChicago CS News

UChicago CS Labs Join Museum of Science & Industry For Robot Block Party

Apr 20, 2022
In the News

Assistant Professor Ken Nakagaki Named Innovator Under 35 by Tech Review

Oct 29, 2021
UChicago CS News

Trio of New UChicago CS Faculty Join for 2021-22 Academic Year

Sep 16, 2021
Past Event

Ken Nakagaki (MIT) – Designing Actuated Tangible UIs that blend the Joy of Physical Interaction, Robotic Actuation, and Digital Computation

Apr 08, 2021
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