ISAM Conference: Overview and Experience


On August 3rd, our undergraduate BRAVO team presented their work at the International Symposium for Academic Makerspaces (ISAM), where they showed their work on “Reimagining Scenarios for Autonomous Vehicles,” specifically on their use of the academic makerspace to create the prototypes in their project.

At the conference, the BRAVO team developed a two-page abstract, along with a poster to present at the conference’s poster session. The poster describes the team’s human-centered design methodologies, developed scenarios from user research, and physical chair prototypes that we developed in the academic makerspaces on campus. It provided an overview of the entire project, and how essential the academic makerspaces were in establishing the “build to think” mindset when conducting our studies. The poster is given below.

Along with the poster itself, the team also conducted a usability test for the “Stressed Sam” scenario, in order to get a better understanding of how to improve the mobile user interface, the chair prototype, and overall effectiveness of the scenario. They had put together a demo of the scenario at the conference with foam core boards, to create as immersive or an experience as possible in a small setting. Through conducting tests on 8 different attendees at the conference, the team was able to gather critical information in order to further.




The team was able to gain a lot of insights into our current prototype, and how they can go about improving the overall experience. Some key insights and observations include:

  • Overall, everyone seemed to enjoy the experience and would use it in an autonomous vehicle, 
  • It wasn’t immediately intuitive to people that you could lift up the chair handles to make room for their bodies. It had to be explained to them.
  • After inputting an option, some people would lift their head to see if the visuals had changed; a change in gaze that requires lifting of the head.
  • People tried to lean back in the chair, and one subject noted they would like to lean back if they truly wanted to relax.
  • One woman mentioned she would think that people would love incorporation of pedaling in the experience.

From these current insights, as well as future insights to be accumulated through more user tests, the team plans to continue ideating and improving our prototype’s experience this Fall, and eventually finalize a single autonomous vehicle experience for this project. Stay tuned for future work from this group!