research _

Human-AI creative interactions and posthumanist design. 2022 – present
I explore the limitations but also capabilities of more than human intelligence (AI and plants) to participate in a creative process. I use mainly generative AI such as GPT-3 and text to image models, but also Music Recommender Systems. I attend to the experiences that emerge from the interactions through self-reflexive methods such as autoethnography, and art/design based methods such as narrative inquiry, collage and drawing.

Ghajargar, M., Bardzell J., Lagerkvist, L. (2022). A Redhead Walks into a Bar: Experiences of Writing Fiction with Artificial Intelligence. Proceedings of the 13th ACM MindTrek, International Technology Conference, Tampere, Finland. ACM, New York, NY, USA.
Ghajargar, M., Bardzell, J. (2022). Learning About Plant Intelligence from a Flying Plum Tree: Music Recommendations and Posthuman User Experience. Proceedings of the 13th ACM MindTrek, International Technology Conference, Tampere, Finland. ACM, New York, NY, USA.

Graspable AI: designing Human-AI Tangible and Explainable Interactions. 2020 – present
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is increasingly embodied in everyday objects in home and work environments, and it is changing not only how end users interact with computing objects, but also the nature and modalities of those interactions. As these systems automate perceptions, pattern recognitions, interpretations, and judgments formerly made by humans, they raise questions of transparency, privacy, fairness, and trust. One approach to addressing such concerns is Explainable AI (XAI), which seeks to reveal the how and why of AI decisions to user. My research contributes to the area XAI from Tangible and Embodied Interaction (TEI) design perspective.

Ghajargar, M. Bardzell, J. (2022). Making AI Understandable by Making it Tangible: Exploring the Design Space with Ten Concept Cards. Proceedings of the 34th ACM Australian Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (OzCHI’22). ACM, New York, NY, USA.

Studio in conjunction with TEI’22 conference: Graspable AI: Physical Forms as Explanation Modality for Explainable AI
Studio in conjunction with TEI’21 conference: From Explainable AI to “Graspable” AI
Workshop in conjunction with NordiCHI’20 conference: The UX of Interactive Machine Learning
Workshop in conjunction with IoT’20 conference: Human-ML Interaction Design: Challenges and Opportunities

Everyday and Evocative Forms. 2019 – 2021
This project re-explores the dual characteristics of Tools for Reflection, in that as interactive everyday useful objects are also able to evoke critical reflection in user. Informing by, and building upon, previous similar works in HCI and design, it seeks to bring criticality to the everyday life of people by focusing on usefulness, context, and the aesthetics of use and experience. Previously I applied a similar approach to the area of sustainable urban mobility behaviours using IoT technologies.

Kucheh, interactive key-hook for urban sustainable mobility behaviours. Ghajargar, M., Bardzell, J. (2021). Synthesis of Forms: Integrating Practical and Reflective Qualities in Design. In Proceedings of ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM, New York, NY, USA. 1–12. DOI:

Paradigms in Design Research. 2018 – 2021
This project is about critically engaging with different design processes and reading them through epistemological stances. For instance, how and when Pragmatism and Rationalism as two apparently opposite (?) paradigms inform design practitioners and/or design researchers during design process. It also led to formulating questions like: if they are oppositional, would it be possible that a design project achieves coherence, while it is informed by both epistemologies? This project aims to expand its purpose to include the underlying epistemologies of design education, as well!

Complementary use of paradigms in design research process, from theory to the practice. Ghajargar, M., Bardzell, J. (2019). Synthesizing opposites: Technical rationality and pragmatism in design. The Design Journal, 22(sup1): 2031-2044.

Designing Tools for Reflection. 2014 – 2019
This is a project that started as the topic of my PhD dissertation in 2014. It was concerned about researching on and designing computing tools as everyday use objects, able to evoke thinking about a particular user activity that have societal and environmental unintended consequences. In this project, I defined the design concepts by reading theoretical and philosophical stances, and then situated them within a practical everyday use setting – e.g. Sóle, an interactive lamp designed for home environment.
For more information and related publications please see the project here.
_ I worked on this project in collaboration with Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM).

Designing Tools for Reflection methodology and design process, the “make me think model”, interactive lamp Sóle prototype and its technical drawings. Ghajargar, M. (2018). Designing Tools for Reflection: A Concept-Driven Approach. PhD dissertation, Politecnico di Torino, 10.6092/polito/porto/2702550.

Nel Luogo in Cui Vivi! (the place where you live!). 2015 – 2016
Using quantitative and qualitative research methods, to understand participants urban mobility behaviours, and the connection between their everyday use objects at home and the specific means of transportation they use. We first conducted a questionnaire with more than 500 participants who live in Turin. I designed generative tools and we conducted a participatory session. This project served also to understand how could it be possible to trigger changes in an urban (outside) activity from home (inside) environment.

Nel Luogo in Cui Vivi, generative tools and the participatory session. Ghajargar, M. (2018). Designing Tools for Reflection: A Concept-Driven Approach. PhD dissertation, Politecnico di Torino, 10.6092/polito/porto/2702550.

BeekUp, Data Storage Service Design. 2015
Research and Co-design of a data storage service based on peer to peer paradigm (P2P) using Fog computing.
_ I worked on this project in collaboration with: TIM (Telecom Italia Mobile), Politecnico di Torino, Istituto Superiore Mario Boella (ISMB).

Two Co-design sessions organised at Swarm Joint Open Lab: 1) with final users of the service, 2) with IT company managers. Ghajargar, M., Mangano, G., De Marco, A., Giannantonio, R. (2017). Design Thinking applied on data storage innovation: a case study. The Design Journal. 20(sup1): 3776-3788.

INTrEPID, FP7 European Project. 2016
Development of a method and structure called, Empathy Workshop. The main objective of this session was to create a suitable environment for dialogue and empathizing between end-users and developers of smart objects and mobile applications which were developed for a pilot study within a FP7 project.

The eight steps-process of empathy workshop was inspired by two well known psychological mechanisms: emphatic understanding and empathic communication. Ghajargar, M., Gargiulo, E., Longo, L., Giannantonio, R. (2017). Empathy Workshop: When Project team and Pilot Users Exchange Experiences. The Design Journal. 20(sup1): 3837-3848.

Co-IoT: Co-designing IoT products and services for home delivery. 2015 – 2017
Co-designing a human-centred urban home delivery system using IoT technologies. A questionnaire and a co-design session conducted to 1) understand the available innovative solutions, 2) to understand the issues that main stakeholders of these services encounter, 3) ideate possible solutions or alternatives to those services using IoT technologies.
_ I worked on this project in collaboration with Poitecnico di Torino, departments of DAD, DIGEP, DAUIN, Pony Zero srl, TNT express.

Co-WOW was the title of the co-design workshop that we organised with the main stakeholders (final users, service providers, mail carriers) of the Co-IoT project. The picture above shows that the design of the generative tool was inspired by three main phases of service.

Bio-inspired design, aquaponics system. 2014
During my master’s, I was a visiting research graduate student at Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA. I was supervised by Jeannette Yen, and worked on an urban agriculture project called arkfab, at the Centre for Bio-Inspired Design (CBID).

from left to right: the analysis of the neighbourhood organic waste recycling and composting, the design of a aquaponics system, the design of worm harvesters. more info!

Design for horticultural therapy. 2014
During my visit at Georgia Tech, and as a part of my Master’s thesis entitled health 3.8: human ecology and health through a systemic perspective, I interviewed two of the registered horticultural therapists at Atlanta, USA, mainly about 1) the design of the gardens, spaces and gardening tools for patients and older adults, 2) their visions on their own practice and how they see their practice will evolve in the future, and whether they see any future for it…