Dan Chen is an interaction designer and improvisational engineer. He inspires people through working prototypes, investigates ways for crafting a better user experience.
He has several degrees including a MAS from MIT, an MFA in digital media from RISD and a BFA in communication design from UConn. He has over 7 years of design experience and now works at Johnson & Johnson as Senior Interaction Designer. Previous positions include Senior Interaction Designer at IDEO, Product Designer, and developer at The Economist Group and Morningstar Inc.
His personal work has been featured in CNET, The Huffington Post, the verge, Engadget and Daily Mail. Dan was invited as a speaker at TEDx Vienna on the future of intimacy in 2016. His work is included in Hello, Robot: Design between Human and Machine exhibitions in Vitra Design Museum, MAK Wien & Design Museum Gent between 2017 to 2022.
Working in the realms of robotics, communication design, interaction design and product design, Dan explores the new ways of communication and human experience through working prototypes and storytelling, inviting a reflective evaluation and implication.Download Résumé
The desire to create relationships and environments that make us feel comfortable, provide a sense of security, and facilitate sensations of belonging, is inherent to human nature. Human to human interaction is critical to mental and physical health, but how about human to machine interaction? Does replacing our most intimate human relationships with machine interactions rob our life of its meaning?
Exploring interactions that use Robotic Intimacy Technology (RIT), this research raises questions regarding the quality of intimate sensations offered through technology — comfort versus discomfort, sincerity versus insincerity. Ultimately, I would like to ask: What is intimacy without humanity?
As a producer (part improvisational engineer, part philosopher-designer), I develop a series of functional robots capable of reenacting basic common human social behaviors. I do this to place in full view questions about how social intimacy is delivered. By making the fictional real, bringing our fantasies into play, I confront the ontological conundrum of the validity of a programmed intimacy. As sculptural studies and experience designs, these devices reveal how RITs might work for us; as transitional objects providing an emotional placebo effect, instead of emotional life support.