Karey Helms1985

PhD Student researching Smart Implicit Interactions at KTH Royal Institute of Technology

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Dec 2016 – Current

PhD Student in Human-computer Interaction | KTH Royal Institute of Technology | Stockholm, Sweden
As part of the Smart Implicit Interaction project, I’m investigating:
* Machine Learning as a design material, making ML tangible, sensible and approachable for designers
* Unpacking of implicit interaction across scale and medium into information, intents and infrastructure
* Misuse as a design method to reflect upon, defamiliarize with and investigate new paradigms of interaction while simultaneously exposing implications

Sept 2012 – Jun 2014

MFA in Interaction Design | Umeå Institute of Design | Umeå, Sweden
My thesis sought to critique and challenge society’s relationship with energy through a near future speculative fiction that asked “what if you were required to produce all the energy you desire to consume?”

August 2013

UrbanIxD Summer School 2013 | Split, Croatia
Participated in an eight day interdisciplinary, workshop-style summer school on urban interaction design through a critical design lens.

Sept 2003 – May 2007

BS in Architecture (High Honors) | University of Virginia | Charlottesville, Virginia
Pursued design studios and electives that focused on kinetic and robotic architectural systems explored through fabrication technologies, physical prototyping and parametric modeling.


Mar 2015 – Dec 2016

Senior Interaction Designer | Zebra Technologies | London, UK
Zebra Technologies is an enterprise IoT company that builds tracking technology and solutions to generate actionable information and insight, giving physical things a digital voice.
* Service Design Lead for multiple Transportation & Logistic co-creation projects
* Ethnographic and user research across enterprise and consumer industries within UK and USA
* UX and UI design for in-house cross-platform interfaces (web-based and mobile applications)
* Synthesize emerging technology trends into actionable insights
* Research, test, and advocate new digital and physical prototyping tools
* Led internal cross-disciplinary workshops on future product development and business strategy
* Co-managed Service Design Intern with Senior Design Researcher

May 2007 – Dec 2013

Interaction Designer & Front End Developer | Self-employed | Washington, DC
Freelanced full-time working directly with clients from contract to concept to deployment.
* Delivered user flows, wireframes, visual designs, and motion graphics
* Developed custom WordPress themes, hosted eCommerce sites, and responsive solutions
* Worked with HTML5/CSS3, Canvas, object-oriented JavaScript, jQuery, various APIs
* Responsible for direct client engagement and business operations.

Jan 2011 – June 2013

Interaction Designer & Front End Developer | The John F. Kennedy Center | Washington, DC
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is America’s living memorial to President Kennedy as well as the nation’s busiest arts facility.
* Responsible for user flows, wireframes, and front end development of Center’s mobile website
* Lead programmer and information architect for lobby directional and educational interfaces
* Main everyday roles included UX/UI design, motion design, and front end development
* Worked part-time in-house in an agile environment

Aug 2007 – Dec 2007

Architectural Design Assistant | Future Cities Lab | Charlottesville, Virginia
Future Cities Lab is an experimental design studio, workshop and architectural think tank.
* Assisted in the fabrication of a kinetic installation project (VIVISYS) displayed in Chicago
* Participated as part of the Grow [DC] team in the History Channel’s City of the Future competition

May 2007 – Dec 2007

Digital Information Designer | The Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities | Charlottesville, Virginia
IATH is a research unit of the University of Virginia exploring and developing information technology as a tool for scholarly humanities research.
* Responsible for the design and construction of Flash and HTML sites for IATH
* Main roles included user research, information architecture, web design and development


Conference Papers

Karey Helms. Leaky Objects: Implicit Information, Unintentional Communication. ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS 2017), Edinburgh, Scotland, UK 2017.

Workshop Papers

Karey Helms. Implicit Interaction: Information, Intention and Infrastructure. ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS 2017) Workshop “People, Personal Data and the Built Environment”, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK 2017.

Karey Helms. The Family Circuit: A New Narrative of American Domesticity. ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2016) Workshop “Making Home: Asserting Agency in the Age of IoT”, Denver, Colorado, USA 2017.

Karey Helms. Phygital Party Mode: A Relationship with Relationships. ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2016) Workshop “Designing the Social Internet of Things”, Denver, Colorado, USA 2017.

Master’s Thesis

Karey Helms. The Family Circuit: A New Narrative of Domesticity. Interaction Design, Umeå Institute of Design, Umeå, Sweden 2014.

Speaking & Outreach

November 2017

Speaker | “Internet of Everything. But what is everything?” | Internetdagarna 2017 | Stockholm, Sweden
Technological forecasts have long predicted that someday in the future everything will be smart and connected. And while ambient intelligence and ubiquitous computing are seemingly possible with innovations within neural networks, embedded sensors, and autonomous algorithms – what actually is everything? And what are the implications for consumers, businesses and stakeholders of everything being smart and connected?

September 2017

Speaker | “Implicit Interactions: Implied, Intangible and Intelligent” | EuroIA 2017 | Stockholm, Sweden
As ambient agents, intelligent assistants and proactive bots drive this shift from explicit to implicit interactions in our information spaces, what are the implications for everyday user experiences? And how do we architect dynamic, personal information in shared, phygital environments?

October 2016

Speaker | “Insights in Self-centered Design” | Interact London 2016 | London, UK
The definition of products is transitioning from isolated hardware and software to integrated systems and agents. In order to create these new systems we must not only design the tangible elements, but also the intangible interconnections. Therefore, as Interaction Designers, how do we make sense of and design these ambiguous, emergent, and invisible relationships?

June 2015 – Oct 2016

Assistant Local Organizer | Interaction Design Association (IxDA) London | London, UK
Guest host and assistant organizer for IxDA London chapter events
* Implicit Interaction
* Enterprise IxD: Wicked Solutions for Complex Problems.
* Urban (IxD) Dictionary: Designing for the Contemporary City

February 2016

Speaker | “Making the Invisible Physical” | World IA Day 2016 | Bristol, UK
Gave a 20 minute talk on personal design projects in which I prototype physical manifestations of invisible interactions from the mundane moments of my daily life. Insights from these playful Internet of Things explorations inform how I makes sense of complex sociotechnical systems and dynamic information exchanges to design meaningful enterprise solutions.

February 2016

Conference Volunteer | Lift16 | Geneva, Switzerland
For one week I volunteered at Lift conference helping setup before and assisting the stage manager during. I worked closely with speakers during rehearsals and stage technicians to ensure smooth operations.

October 2015

Lightning Talk | “Making the Invisible Physical” | Push Conference 2015 | Munich, Germany
Gave a 10 minute lightning talk on Making the Invisible Physical.

June 2014

Conference Volunteer | Design Research Society Conference 2014 | Umeå, Sweden
For four days during the Design Research Society’s 2014 conference in Umeå, Sweden, I was a student volunteer assisting in conference workshops, debates, conversations and paper presentations.


Fall 2017

Assistant | DM2799: Advanced Project Coursey | KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Course administration, project supervision, and examination.

Assistant | DM2601: Media Technology and Interaction Design | KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Project supervision, examination, and lecture on working in industry as an Interaction Designer.

Assistant | DM2350: Human Perception for Information Technology | KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Project supervision and examination.

Spring 2017

Assistant | DH2629: Interaction Design as a Reflective Practice | KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Course administration, project supervision, and examination. Wrote design brief Manuals of Misuse.

Guest Lecturer | DM2578: Social Media Technologies | KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Guest lecture on Insights in Self-centered Design: Making the Implicit Explicit.

Guest Lecturer | DH2628: Interaction Design Methods | KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Guest lecture on my experiences as an Interaction Designer working in Agile teams and environments.

Spring 2014

Guest Lecturer | Service Design | Umeå Institute of Design
Gave a guest lecture and presentation on Service Design to one year Industrial Design Intensive students.

Fall 2006

Assistant | ARCH 541: CAAD 3d Modeling & Visualization | University of Virginia
Assisted weekly workshops, held personal office hours for individual student aid, graded assignments, and delivered individual feedback.

Assistant | ARCH 101: Lessons of the Lawn | University of Virginia
Responsible for eight first year students and lead weekly meetings for the introductory architectural design course, graded assignments, and delivered individual feedback.

HCI Community Service

ACM TEI 2018 Web Chair (design and development)

Academic Service

2017 – 2018

KTH PhD Student Representative

2013 – 2014

Umeå Institute of Design student council (Ställverket)

2004 – 2007

UVa School of Architecture Tour Guide for Prospective Students

2006 – 2007

UVa School of Architecture President

2006 – 2007

UVa School of Architecture Student Senate

2006 – 2007

UVa Lawn Selection Committee Chair



Selected to exhibit and present thesis at Semcon Student Exhibition in Göteborg


Awarded 1st place in OzCHI 24-Hour Student Design Challenge


Award for Design Excellence from UVa Faculty of Architecture


Award for Public Service to the School, the University & the Community from UVa


Member of University of Virginia’s The Raven Society


I am an avid travel hiker:
Nepal, 20 days Annapurna Circuit (5,416 m / 17,769 ft), 10 days Ganesh Himal
Chile, 10 days Torres del Paine (Circuit trek)
Argentina, 5 days Los Glaciares National Park
Sweden, 5 days Kungsleden (Kebnekaise 2,106 m / 6,909 ft), 2 days Höga Kusten
Columbia, 4 days Ciudad Perdida
Norway, 4 days Lofoten Islands
Peru, 4 days Inca Trail (4,215 m / 13,829 ft)
United Kingdom, 4 days South Downs Way
Panama, 2 days Volcan Baru summit (3,474 m / 11,398 ft)
Indonesia, 1 day Mount Batur (Volcano)
Turkey, 1 day Lycian Way, 2 days Cappadocian Valleys
New Zealand, 1 day Abel Tasman

Sometimes I blog about it: happyspooner.com