Friendly Media emphasizes the sustaining and supportive role that technological interfaces can play in human interaction
Games Research Lab
Body and Interface
Embodied Conversational Agents






The Friendly Media project, led by Professor Katherine Isbister, seeks to bring more joyful and humane qualities to interactions with and through computer technology. Today's interfaces frequently limit our physical movement, emotional expression, and subtleties of social rhythms, forcing us to become more machinelike ourselves. If we consider the development of other technologies past and present--musical instruments, sports equipment, furniture--we can see that this is neither an inherent quality of tools nor a necessary sacrifice. Rather it is an inadvertent omission worthy of revisiting and reparing as these technologies move deeper into our everyday lives.

The Friendly Media project engages in research and design efforts shaped by these criteria:

  • Interfaces should be enjoyable and physically and emotionally engaging--experience is as important as outcome.
  • Interfaces should be designed to support and enhance human expressive capabilities.
  • The research and design process should be in and of itself engaging, supportive, and humane.

The Friendly Media project currently includes three main initiatives: research on the social and physical qualities of gaming in the Games Research Lab, Body and Interface explorations, as well as work focused on Embodied Conversational Agents.


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