Trap it! A playful human-biology interaction for a museum installation

Seung Ah Lee, Engin Bumbacher, Alice M. Chung, Nate Cira, Byron Walker, Ji Young Park, Barry Starr, Paulo Blikstein, Ingmar H. Riedel-Kruse

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

52 Scopus citations


We developed Trap it!, a human-biology interaction (HBI) medium encompassing a touchscreen interface, microscopy, and light projection. Users can interact with living cells by drawing on a touchscreen displaying the microscope view of the cells. These drawings are projected onto the microscopy field as light patterns, prompting observable movement in phototactic responses. The system design enables stable and robust HBI and a wide variety of programmed activities (art, games, and experiments). We investigated its affordances as an exhibit in a science museum in both facilitated and unfacilitated contexts. Overall, it had a low barrier of entry and fostered rich communication among visitors. Visitors were particularly excited upon realizing that the interaction involved real organisms, an understanding that was facilitated by the eyepiece on the physical system. With the results from user study, we provide our observations, insights and guidelines for designing HBI as a permanent museum exhibit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCHI 2015 - Proceedings of the 33rd Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Subtitle of host publicationCrossings
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781450331456
StatePublished - Apr 18 2015
Externally publishedYes
Event33rd Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2015 - Seoul, Korea, Republic of
Duration: Apr 18 2015Apr 23 2015

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings


Conference33rd Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2015
Country/TerritoryKorea, Republic of


  • Biotic game
  • Biotic processing unit
  • Human-biology interaction
  • Interactive biology
  • Interactive microscope
  • Tangible interactive microbiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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