Workshop Details

Date: 22nd Nov 2020, Sunday
Time: 1:30PM (CET) / 7:30AM (EST)
Duration: 4 hours
Location: Virtual Workshop
Registration is free: send an email to to get access to the workshop.


Modern sensor-equipped mobile devices, personal computers, and other off-the-shelf sensing and computing platforms are sufficiently advanced to support cross-device and tangible interactions with digital media. However, building such interactive experiences is hindered by the complexity of setting up and managing the underlying communication and limited tools to explore the opportunities and challenges of these new modes of interaction. In this workshop, we present the Responsive Ecologies Toolkit (RE/Tk), a cross-platform development environment that provides tools to ease the prototyping of cross-device and tangible applications. Participants will be introduced to key concepts in cross-device and tangible interactions in the first sessions. Participants will then learn the workflow and features supported by RE/Tk. In the second session, participants will design and develop cross-device and tangible experiences of increasing complexity, using devices at hand, within the RE/Tk environment. We expect participants to explore and understand different modalities of interaction within cross-device environments.

Audience and Background

In this workshop, we will focus on the design and development of cross-device tangible interactions using web technologies by researchers and designers with different levels of programming expertise. Some knowledge of HTML5 and JavaScript would be a plus. Participants will get to attend the workshop virtually using their personal computers for design and development. Participants will be encouraged to use additional devices at hand (smartphones, tablets etc) for testing the applications created using RE/Tk.
Note: If you are interested in participating in this workshop please send an email to

Workshop Structure

This is a half-day remote participation workshop. In the first part of the workshop, we will introduce key concepts in cross-device interactions and tangible interactions within responsive ecologies as well as the theoretical framework of RE/Tk. In the second part of the workshop, the participants will get an opportunity to familiarize with the toolkit and build custom interacive experiences.

  • HOUR 1: We will start off with introductions and then present key concepts in cross-device interactions and tangible interactions along with examples from literature. We will also engage in a discussion highlighting the challenges and opportunities present in this field.
  • HOUR 2: We will introduce the theoretical framework of RE/Tk and present the design rationale, system architecture and features of the toolkit. Participants will learn to use RE/Tk by building simple examples.
  • HOURS 3 & 4: Participants will get to design and build applications with cross-device and tangible interactions in groups.
  • Wrap-up: We will share the outcomes and discuss the participants' experiences with the workflow of the toolkit.

Suggested preparations for the workshop: Aside from your desktop/laptop, you can have a mobile device handy to try out our toolkit.
We will add further details and instructions for the workshop cloer to the workshop date.

Reading Materials


Aneesh P. Tarun

Aneesh is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Synaesthetic Media Lab, Ryerson University. His research interests include developing toolkits for cross-device interactions and designing spatial and embodied interactions for novel technologies. As a part of his doctoral research, Aneesh designed and developed prototypes using multiple flexible displays that mimics handling of physical paper while supporting cross-device interactions.


Victor Alexandru

Victor received his Bachelor of Biomedical Engineering from Ryerson University. Victor is currently working on the designing and building prototyping tools for cross-device interactions. His interests include machine learning, bioinformatics, and MCUs. He hopes to make the world a better place by working towards making healthcare cheaper and more accessible.


Sarthak Marwaha

Sarthak recently graduated from the Master of Digital Media program at Ryerson University. Sarthak is currently working on designing tangible tools to support programming for New Media artists. He has previously worked in various creative and design fields like Interaction Design and Media Production. His research interests include human-computer interaction and user experience research as well as making design easy and accessible.


Ali Mazalek

Ali is the director of the Synaesthetic Media Lab, a playground where physical materials, analog sensors, and digital media happily co-exist and come together in novel ways to support creativity and expression across both science and art disciplines. As a digital media and human-computer interaction researcher, she has spent nearly 20 years trying to get digital technologies to fit better into her physical world and life, rather than letting them drag her into the pixelated depths of her computer screens. At the same time, she has a deep interest in how computational media can support and enhance creative practices and processes, supporting new forms of expression and new ways of thinking and learning.