Kimiko Ryokai

Kimiko is an assistant professor at the School of Information and Center for New Media at UC Berkeley. Kimiko received her MS and PhD in Media Arts & Sciences from MIT in 1999 and 2005 respectively. At the MIT Media Lab, Kimiko was a member of the Tangible Media Group and the Gesture and Narrative Language Group, where she developed a number of tangible interactive systems to facilitate collaborative and creative learning. Kimiko’s work has been presented at CHI, SIGGRAPH, CSCL, IUI, as well as exhibited at international venues such as Ars Electronica, Children’s Museum Kyoto, Japan, AIGA, and IDSA (Gold Award). Before joining UC Berkeley, Kimiko worked at IDEO as an interaction design and human factors specialist.

Her research focuses on building new expressive tools that take advantage of people’s familiarity with the physical world, and studying how new media expand the interaction space and the change that could be brought out in the way people perceive this extended interaction space. Her research investigates the potential of new interactive media that push us to actively expand the way we perceive the world and make new meanings.



Her work builds on people’s relationships with physical objects. Physical objects are charged with history, narratives, and memories of people, both the ones who created them and the ones who interacted with them. We usually do not have access to this information about our physical objects. Enabling access to it opens up a whole new set of possibilities, as it provides an extended space for design, communication, and learning. Right now, the link that allows us to access it is missing. Her research is about creating that link, and studying how those enabling technologies influence people’s lives.


She believes that in the future, the memories of our interactions with both digital and physical objects should coexist, and even support each other in synergy. Her approach is to allow people to breathe a new kind of life into the physical objects they interact with. This has two meanings: One is that people can breathe new life into physical objects through the creation of new meaning with the object, be it via stories, illustrations, or ideas.