Startle Response
Exploratorium, San Francisco

Funding: $1.75M NSF award
User research: formative / summative  

A burst of air inflates a small balloon, startling the user whose expression is recorded and instantly replayed for them in slow motion.

People used to believe facial expressions differed across cultures, until Dr. Paul Ekman (exhibit team advisor) proved otherwise. I attended a talk Paul gave when his lavelier microphone accidentally dropped hitting the podium with an amplified "boom!" and he announced "what an amazing set of startle responses!" An exhibit idea was born, and I showed up at our next team meeting with video camera, balloons and a pin.

In collaboration with Erik Thogersen.