Designing to provoke, motivate, and inspire

What is the Aspirational Computing lab all about?

Aspirational computing is a multidisciplinary initiative that aims to spark innovative research and design practice in human-computer interaction (HCI) at the crossroads of critical computing, psychology, and intersectional design. Our goal is to critically examine how computers affect people and societies, identify fundamental problems and opportunities, and explore novel solutions from an aspirational lens.

The subject is the relationship between people and computers. We consider a range of computer-based systems: from social media and SNS to robots and voice assistants to video games and mixed reality.

Research questions address fundamental and practical topics that reflect social and ethical concerns raised by critical computing. Explorations are grounded in theories and methods from human factors engineering and ergonomics, intersectional design, and psychology. Contributions include extensions of disciplinary theories and methods, cross-pollination among diverse modes of scholarship, and empirical foundations for social change.

Disciplinary foundations and process




Discover fundamental and practical challenges grounded in consensus on social and ethical concerns




Trace out problems, gaps, and opportunities informed by knowledge of human perception, attitudes, and behaviour




Evaluate design solutions and research outcomes that reflect human diversity and aspirations

Lab overview

The Aspirational Computing Lab, or Aspire Lab for short, was established by Tokyo Tech Associate Professor Katie Seaborn in April 2020 at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our first set of students and researchers were welcomed in 2021. For the most part, we’ve been a virtual lab.