Date of Award

Spring 5-2017

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Design (MDes)




Stacie Rohrbach

Second Advisor

Dan Lockton


As we move toward a world of ubiquitous computing, it is important to think about how computing should communicate with us when it is distributed in our environment. Designers of ubiquitous computing will meet two challenges. The first is the challenge of invisibility, technology will have to find new ways to communicate with us without the advantage of smartphone or desktop screens. The second challenge is that of calmness, ubiquitous technology must communicate in a way that doesn’t overwhelm the user. This thesis shows that one possible way to meet the two challenges is for computing to communicate in a way similar to the language of objects in our environment. Our environment communicates with a qualitative and experiential language. Thus, this thesis studies the simulation of experiential physical phenomena in augmented reality, to give representation to invisible processes in objects. To explore this direction of augmented reality, a body of twenty one experiments were created and tested with participants. Participant interpretations of experiential augmentations were then gathered and distilled into a three-pointed model for categorization. The study ends with a series of recommendations for designers interested in pursuing similar types of object augmentation.

Media Format