Assistant Professor Ken Nakagaki Named Innovator Under 35 by Tech Review

October 29, 2021

Assistant Professor Ken Nakagaki was named an Innovator Under 35 from the Asia Pacific region by MIT Technology Review.

The publication chose Nakagaki, a new faculty hire who will join UChicago CS in January 2022, for his work in tangible user interfaces (TUIs), a novel type of human-computer interface that effectively connects the physical and digital worlds. The list identifies "young innovators doing exciting work that could shape their fields for decades," and past winners include Mark Zuckerberg, Sergey Brin, and Andrew Ng.

The publication wrote:

Ken Nakagaki, a recent graduate of Ph.D. in Media Arts and Sciences at MIT Media Lab, has been devoted himself to the research of the future of TUIs since 2014, especially with the integration of dynamic actuation and transformation capabilities, or Actuated Tangible User Interfaces (A-TUIs).

A-TUIs aim to physically convey digital information and dynamically adapt bodily interactions through actuation, such as shape-change and movement. Nakagaki specifically focuses on merging physical materials with computational and robotic technologies for creating a tangible interaction experience, which consists of three primary agendas: Hardware Form, Perceptual Design, and Passive Material Activation.

Nakagaki’s previous work has shown the development of new hardware devices to explore interactivity with the form factor of ‘Line-based materials’ like strings, ropes, and wires. He designed the prototyped shape-changing A-TUIs, ‘LineFORM’ and ‘ChainFORM’, that utilize inherent affordance in those materials, resulting in flexible modular snake-shaped electronic devices and displays.

Read more about Nakagaki's work and the other featured innovators at the Tech Review website.