Daniela Rosner

Autumn 2017

Building a Tiny Home: Exploring Design with Living Materials

Led by PhD student Kristin Dew and Assistant Professor Daniela Rosner

Tuesdays 3-5 p.m., Gould Hall fabrication yard

From robot swarms to self-healing screens, technology designers have begun to incorporate materials that grow, learn, change, and regenerate. As researchers and designers exploring living materials, we bump up against a need for tools, procedures, and pedagogies for working with them, particularly given a context of diminishing natural resources. In this year-long series of 3 DRGs, we will explore the intersections of DIY, craft, and living materials in the domestic environment through a series of design and fabrication projects with a tiny house located on campus. Students will learn how to work with living, changing materials like wood; explore their properties and fabrication processes through a series of projects blending wood and computational materials; and collaborate as co-researchers and co-participants in developing an understanding of the relationships between living material, making, and meaning.

In the first DRG starting this autumn, students will collaborate with PhD student Kristin Dew to finish enclosing a tiny house using a variety of tools to work with wood, developing an embodied understanding of the primary material driving this inquiry. Each meeting will comprise building time and documented discussion of our experiences working with wood within the frame of our research questions: How might living forms such as wood extend digital craft materials? And how might we better understand living materials and natural forces as non-human design collaborators? We will use these discussions to inform the winter quarter’s DRG activities, which will include blending wood and computational materials in a design project. In the spring DRG, the design artifact will be incorporated into a workshop and/or design probe activity.

No woodworking experience is required, and we seek a mix of students with diverse interests and skills in:

  • architecture and urban plannig
  • design materials
  • design theory
  • human-building interaction
  • multispecies interaction
  • biodesign
  • physical computing

If you’re not sure where your interests and skills might fit in, please feel free to email Kristin at to chat about it first.

A few considerations before applying:

  • Priority will go to students who intend to fully participate in all meetings, all three quarters. Scheduling for winter and spring will be determined by participating students.
  • The 2-hour weekly studio/meeting will tentatively be held on Tuesdays from 3-5pm at Gould Hall’s fabrication yard. Please be prepared to spend a significant amount of time outdoors - rain or shine!

To apply, please send a CV and brief personal statement covering your interest in this research and skills you bring to the group, as well as any skills you want to learn or develop further to and


Autumn 2017

Understanding Kids’ Mealtime Experiences: Toward Playful Mealtime Technology Design

Led by PhD student Ying-Yu Chen

We are looking for up to three students to participate in a study on understanding how kids age 2-6 eat with their caregivers. In this group, we will interview parents and/or kids’ caregivers to understand how kids eat, how they notice and analyze qualitative data, and how they come up with questions and insights that inform the design of a mobile application. The result of this DRG will be observations and understandings of eating habits among young children that we will use to inform design sketches and prototypes. In future work, we will use our insights and design sketches to organize workshops for kids, build a creative mobile application, and deploy the mobile application with families.

We are looking for students who have 1) experience conducting user interviews; 2) the ability to learn and do qualitative coding and data analysis; 3) the ability or willingness to do design sketches.

Students are expected to enroll 3 credits to HCDE 496 (undergraduate) or HCDE 596 (graduate). The time commitment is a weekly meeting for 1.5 hours and about 4 hours of work outside the meeting. If you’re interested, please fill out the following survey by September 8, 2017:

Daniela Rosner's Directed Research Group archive: