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My PhD research has focused on examining the ways in which data-centric and algorithmic systems construct and are in turn constructed by the communities they are designed for. Informed by theories within the fields of Community Informatics and Science and Technology Studies, my work allows me to combine methods from the fields of participatory design research and anthropology when studying communities and technologies. For my dissertation, I focused on studying the infrastructures that were involved in bringing a community indicator data dashboard to fruition.

Previously, I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and engineering, after which I built web platforms for Fortune 500 companies. Interacting with the customers got me interested in understanding the human side of how and why people use technology. This is when I read Don Norman’s book on the Design of Everyday Things, which convinced me that Human Computer Interaction was my true calling. I applied and got accepted into Georgia Tech’s HCI program, where I worked with Dr. Ali Mazalek to build tangible and embodied interfaces. For my master’s thesis, I was inspired by Florian ‘Floyd’ Mueller’s concept of Exertion Interfaces and prototyped a system that studied the kinds of technologies that would make a throwing game more engaging for children.

After graduation I spent a couple of years as a User Experience Designer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, where I designed, researched and prototyped both mobile and web interfaces. This work although fulfilling, didn’t offer the opportunity for me to study the social impact that these technologies were having on people. This is what prompted me to go back to school to get a PhD in Digital Media at Georgia Tech.

Projects

work
Community Recipes as Stories (2014)
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Medellin: Urban Interaction Design Concept (2014)
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Mapping Edible Weeds (2013)
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Exertion Interface (2011)
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emBodied Digital Creativity (2011)
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Electronic Puppets (2013)

Publications

Refereed Conference Papers with Proceedings

O'Connell, Katie, Yeji Lee, Firaz Peer, Shawn M. Staudaher, Alex Godwin, Mackenzie Madden, and Ellen Zegura. Making Public Safety Data Accessible in the Westside Atlanta Data Dashboard . In Proceedings of Bloomberg Data for Good Exchange Conference 2016, New York City, NY, USA, arXiv preprint arXiv:1609.09756 (2016).

Firaz Peer, Michael Nitsche, and Lauren Schaffer. 2014. Power puppet: science and technology education through puppet building . In Proceedings of the 2014 conference on Interaction Design and Children (IDC '14, Aarhus, Denmark). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 221-224.

Mazalek, Ali, Michael Nitsche, Claudia Rébola, Paul Clifton, Andy Wu, Nick Poirier, Firaz Peer. Pictures at an Exhibition: Design of a Hybrid Puppetry Performance Piece, In Proceedings of the International Conference on Entertainment Computing (ICEC 2012), Berlin, Heidelberg, 2012, 130–143.

Firaz Peer, Ali Mazalek, Florian 'Floyd' Mueller and Anne Friedlander. 2011. Evaluating technology that makes physical games for children more engaging . In Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children (IDC '11, Ann Arbor, USA). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 193-196. (Masters Thesis)

Mazalek, A., Nitsche, M., Chandrasekharan, S., Welsh, T., Clifton, P., Quitmeyer, A., Peer, F., and Kirschner, F. I'm in the Game: Embodied Puppet Interface Improves Avatar Control In Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction 2011, Funchal, Portugal.

Mazalek, A., Nitsche, M., Rebola, C., Wu, A., Clifton, P., Peer, F., Drake, M. Pictures at an Exhibition: A Physical/Digital Puppetry Performance Piece . In proceedings of the 8th ACM Conference on Creativity and Cognition, 2011, ACM, New York, NY.

Mazalek, A., Nitsche, M., Chandrasekharan, S., Welsh, T., Clifton, P., Quitmeyer, A.,Peer, F., and Kirschner, F. Recognizing self in puppet controlled virtual avatars . In Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Fun and Games, 2010, Leuven, Belgium.


Conference Participation

Workshops Organized

Ari Happonen, Firaz Peer, Maria Palacin-Silva, Annika Wolff. Workshopping a Data Equity Manifesto . Workshop organized at the iConference, Washington D.C, 2019.


Doctoral Colloquia

At the iConference, Washington D.C, 2019.

At the ACM FAT (Fairness Accountability and Transparency) Conference, Atlanta, GA, 2019.


Paper-a-thon

Ahmed Elnoshokaty, Yi Wang, Shuyuan Deng, Tom Meservy, Mohamed Elsaied, Firaz Peer, Omar El-Gayar. Recommender Systems in Online Platforms for Social Campaigns In Proceedings of the 39th International Conference on Information Systems – ICIS 2018, San Francisco, USA


Workshop Papers

Nitsche, Michael, Crystal Eng, Firaz Peer. Ownership in Making Puppets. At the Co-Creation Workshop at International Conference on Computational Creativity (ICCC), Atlanta, GA, 2017.

Firaz Peer, Mueller, F, Agamanolis, S, Sheridan, J, How to facilitate physical skill development in exertion games. In Proceedings of a Workshop on Embodied Interaction, pp. 1-4. Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), 2011.

Mueller, F, Peer, F, Agamanolis, S, Sheridan, J, Gamification and exertion In Proceedings of the Workshop on Gamification at the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 1-4. Association for Computing Machinery, 2011.


Posters

Firaz Peer. “Data Dashboards as Infrastructures for Data Literacy” At the iConference, Washington D.C, 2019.

Teaching

Primary Instructor

Principles of Visual Design, (Fall '14, Spring '15, Spring '16, Fall '16, Spring '17, Fall '17, Spring '18)


Teaching Assistant

Visual Culture and Design, (Spring '14) - Led by Prof. Nassim JaffariNaimi

Experimental Media, (Spring '11) - Led by Prof. Ali Mazalek

Academic Service

Reviewer

Tangible Embedded and Embodied Interaction (TEI), 2019

IEEE Teaching, Assessment and Learning for Engineering (TALE), 2019

CHI Play, 2018

Participatory Design Conference, 2018

Design of Interactive Systems, 2018

New Interfaces for Musical Expression, 2011

Presidents Undergraduate Research Awards 2010, Georgia Tech


Student Volunteer

Human Computer Interaction Student Committee, 2011, Georgia Tech

Conference on Human Computer Interaction, 2010

Other Fun Stuff

I participated in the Stitchfest Hackathon at Upenn in the Spring of 2014, with Andrew Quitmeyer. We had a great time building an Arduino powered stimulating toy, and also managed to get a lot of press for it.

Curbb was another fun little project I hacked together with some other friends at Atlanta's first Govathon, where we won third place.

Education.

Georgia Institute of Technology

PhD in Digital Media 2013 - Present

Research examines the ways in which interaction design and digital media construct and support civic life. Projects and research in this area include the use of information design for public argument, the development of participatory and co-design methods for community engagement, and new modes of public interaction mediated by technology.

Georgia Institute of Technology

Masters in Human Computer Interaction - Graduated: 2011

Research focused the interaction design of wearable technologies and tangible interfaces that support learning and creativity. Published a paper on "Evaluating technology that makes physical games for children more engaging" as part of my masters project.

Bangalore Institute of Technology

Bachelors in Computer Science & Engineering - Graduated: 2005

Research focused understanding the workings of Linux based operating systems. Electives included Linux Internals, Operating Systems, Game Theory and Computer Systems Design and Architecture.

Skills

Part prototyper, part design researcher, I bring ideas to life.

Design
Research
Prototype
  • Adobe Creative Suite
  • Interaction Design
  • Information Studies
  • Design Research
  • Informal Learning
  • HTML5, CSS & Javascript
  • Electronics, Microcontrollers & Sensors
  • 3D Printer, Laser Cutter

Contact me

Email is the best way to get in touch with me, but if you don't have it, drop a line here and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.

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Atlanta, GA