Search  

Ajanta Sen

Welcome to my web space


Product Semantics HomeAbout:


- About
- Contact
- Home
- Invited Talks
- Research & Projects
- Thoughts & Writings
- Webspaces
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . .


Areas of Research:
- Social Computing
- Collaborative Environments
- Culture, Design and Technology
- New Media Design and Interaction Design
- Designing for Children - 'Play and Learn' environments

Some of her noteworthy and ongoing projects are with the MicroSoft Corporation and MicroSoft Research, Redmond, USA, Motorola India Research, Bangalore, Yahoo Research, Sunnyvale, USA, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL), India, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), India, the Khadim’s Group, India, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, among others.
 
. . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . .

 

Research and Projects:
  • 'Project Solar Eclipse': an ongoing project initiated in August 1997 as a collaborative initially between Falmouth College of Arts (FCA), Falmouth, UK and IIT Bombay and then joined in by the Edward James Foundation/West Dean College, Chichester, UK, amongst others.
    An exploratory project rallying around
    the use of the computer-mediated technologies to "connect up" communities located at great physical distances, particularly those from different cultures. Project has sought to experiment with children and other non-technology users as the chief user-constituency and attempted to interface them with the networking technologies (both emerging and conventional) with an aim toward collaborating and creating across pre-designated themes on the Net.
    Project designed around 'events' (virtual 'Holi', collaborative sundials, virtual solar eclipse, collaborative Bombay-Cornwall mural, etc.,) which have happened for the first time in the world in a combination of design-technology interventions. Some of the key concerns examined relate to (i) the idea of a virtual-physical continuum, (ii) the combined use of synchronous with asynchronous modes of technology use, (iii) intuitive interfaces as a design device to make technology-use enjoyable rather than intimidating, (iv) digital archiving of online interactions, (v) the emergence of the concept of 'time-void' via synchronous interactions on the Net as a singular way to drive home factors of cultural and geographical differences  (vii) collaborative practices on the Net fostering lack of inhibitions between cultures and between user groups of varying age groups and (viii) children as singular determinants of an environment characteristic of a 'carnival'.
    Project has since been recognized with over hundred international awards.
  • 'Sharing Personal Media': an ongoing project commissioned in December 2002 by the Social Computing Group, MicroSoft Research (MSR). The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay chosen by MicroSoft as one of a small select group of schools from around the world to participate in their ‘Design Expo’
    A conceptual project aimed at building future scenarios for application of rich media content that can be shared by people and organizations. Have been invited by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay to co-direct/co-guide the Project. Major role has been to apply theoretical perspectives from the domain of social precepts such as 'conviviality' etc., to microprocessing-driven applications within contemporary cultural contexts. The effort has been to humanize the incorporation of computing devices into everyday products and product systems, specifically those from the domain of personal media. And to make them amenable towards the act of sharing. This means a shift in focus from the existing emphasis on product material and processes to product interaction with user.
    A certain iterative methodology devised by us and acclaimed through other commissionings has been applied to carry out this 'pressure project'.
  • 'Humour in Computing': Project executed between July 1996 to July1997 and commissioned to Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) by the Interval Research Corporation, a technology innovation setup located at Palo Alto, California, and funded by computer visionary Paul Allen, co-founder, Microsoft Corporation and Silicon Valley veteran David Liddle.
    Project aimed at exploring interaction design as a front-end driver for conceptualizing and prototyping chip-driven product(s) meant to address the larger and often neglected issue of how to make computers laugh. Invited by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) to co-direct the Project, a major role has been to frame issues, map out concepts and foresee technology that will matter in the future.
    A significant input to the project was in terms of  locating significant social links between microprocessing technology-enabled products and their relationship with user groups, eventually resulting in a conceptual wireless chip-driven product named 'Samas' (Sanskrit for 'waiting') - a product meant to perform the critical function of 'human socialisation', especially while waiting long hours away from family and loved ones on the long-haul commuting trail of Mumbai. 
    Project won awards in league with the MIT Media Lab, Stanford University, USA and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), USA and New York University (NYU), USA,  with the other invited participants being the Royal College of Art (RCA), UK, The Glasgow School of Art, UK,  and the Hochschule fur Gestaltung, Germany
  • 'Project New Century': ongoing project initiated in June 2002, located at IIT Bombay, and part-funded by the Microsoft Research Corporation. An applications project aimed at designing a cross-cultural collaborative environment for children's learning on the Internet and a direct outcome of Project Solar Eclipse. Applications intended for a global audience/user group.
  • DreamSubmit.net: Project initiated in January 2000 and resulting in an applications/product/service facility on the Net for reaching websites to search engines and directories. Also, comprehensive information embedded in product about how to make the process of submission easy and transparent.
    As project promoter, chief involvement in background research, information content generation and content structuring along with team members.
  • 'Vision 2000': Project commissioned (1994-1998) by the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) to IIT Bombay and related to revamping the entire corporate identity of the company's petroleum retail outlets to incorporate futuristic and user-friendly interactive designs. Invited to work on background research and application of design principles for design concepts suggested and subsequently implemented as part of Vision 2000.
  • Street Furniture for the City of Ahmedabad: Project commissioned by the private sector on behalf of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) in 1997-'98.
    A one of a first of its kind prototype of how public domain design and facilities can work in interface with private sector sponsorships and investment. Co-cordinator of project along with chief coordinator at IIT Bombay.
  • Area Development Plan: Project commissioned by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) on behalf of the Ministry of Tourism, Govt of Gujarat, 1995-1996 to develop an schematic for locating potential tourism spots from given areas and circuits in Gujarat through application of spatial planning and modeling.
  • Formulation of Vision and Mission Statements for Larsen and Toubro, 1994. Since adopted for use by the Company.
  • Project outline for the National Commission of Urbanisation, 1993
  • Project Name-Search, commissioned by the Mercantile Essential Oil Company, USA,  1991-92, to formulate a Structural Framework for examining the semantics, the syntactics and the pragmatics involving actual and potential names of perfumes and to facilitate their future selection for the international perfume industry.
  • 'Script of the Gods': Project commissioned by the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), 1988-'89. Project involved scripting and co-designing an audio-visual project on Siddham Calligraphy. Project commissioned on the occasion of the World Exposition on Calligraphy, New Delhi, and attended by President Mikhael Gorbachev, Head of the erstwhile Soviet Union, in November 1988.
  • 'The Kinetics of  Calligraphy': Project commissioned as part of the World Exposition on Calligraphy, New Delhi, by the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), 1988-89, and resulting in a video film, acclaimed amongst others, by the late Bert Haanstra, Dutch film maker and maestro of the documentary film movement.
 
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . .