CIID: Tangible User Interfaces, Virtually

CIID – the Copenhagen Institute for Interaction Design, now located in Costa Rica, asked us to teach their Tangible User Interfaces course – online! We partnered up with some incredible co-faculty and had a truly global experience as two of us – Vanessa and Dzl from Kintsugi Design, partnered with Olivia Prior and Omid Ettehadi from Canada,  with support from Ubaldo Andrea Desiato, on the ground in Costa Rica. For 7 – 9 hours, every night for 3 weeks, we taught 27 students remotely – across 3 time zones, and they produced what we humbly feel are stunning, and thought provoking prototypes.

You can view the final projects from the course here


The 2020 CIID Tangible User Interfaces course “Meaningful and Networked” explored Designing for Meaningfulness in the context of Costa Rica. Using Simple Radio, Wifi, or LoRa, students explored subjects such as purpose, significance, identity, relationships, the self, and time. We also explored subjects such as Object Memory, Conflict Resources, Speculative Design, Product Design Decisions, Wearables and Network Topologies.


The course was intense, demanding two concepts and prototypes per week, exploring new technologies and digital fabrication methods that the students were introduced to, in that week. Furthermore, the students had to apply the methodologies of Designing for Meaningfulness in Future Smart Products, from Vanessa’s PhD research, as part of their concepts – and go in context, in Costa Rica.


Vanessa, Dzl, Omid and Olivia designed presentations, bespoke technology tutorials, and custom guidelines (for example, how to conduct user testing in the time of COVID when you don’t speak the local language) as part of this course, and challenged students to push their creative boundaries, as they expanded their field of knowledge and embraced pura vida in Costa Rica.


This course is available for companies and other educational institutions who would like to experience 3 weeks of developing physical prototypes, exploring connected devices and meaningfulness.



With many thanks to the amazing cohort in Costa Rica who survived many hours of Zoom:

Ana Acevedo, Mohit Choudhary, Neelank Sachan, Sarah Ali, Ranjan Prasad, Rajguru Nandita, Nina Shenoy, Christoff Trexler, Alejandro Segura, Elliott Wortham, Shin Ooi Nitin Surendran, Martin Altanie, Sachin Jose, Kosuke Machida, Sammy Creeger, Norris Hung, Diana Pang, Omar A. Razo, Aakash Dewan, Herin Haramoto, Maria Jose Tamayo, Atsushi Ito, Julian Jimsa, Richard Wecker, David Álvarez, Yoshio Mikamo, and Jose Chavarria.