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Information Experience Design (MA)

Yuchen Cao

Yuchen Cao, hailing from Suzhou, China, is a cross-disciplinary designer, design theory researcher and entrepreneur. His educational and professional journey has taken him across China mainland, Taiwan, Tokyo and London. Prior to his enrollment at the Royal College of Art, he conducted research at Musashino Art University in Japan, exploring visual communication theory, Pierce's semiotics, and phenomenology, investigating the psychological and behavioral impact of images on individuals. Since then, he has been working for several months at a blockchain strategic consulting company in Tokyo, specializing in the design and development of emerging Web3 products.

His background in design strategy and service design has equipped him with the knowledge to focus on exploring how information visualization, virtual experiences, and speculative design methods can be applied to propose fresh perspectives and solutions for challenging real-life issues. He believes that emerging digital media technologies and immersive interactive experiences can assist individuals in envisioning idealized solutions to problems existing in various domains within society. This, in turn, helps drive the development of corresponding technologies and policies in the right direction, ultimately benefiting social innovation and well-being.


Educational Background:

2022-23 Master of Information Experience Design, Royal College of Art - London, United Kingdom

2020-22 Master of Visual Communication Design, Musashino Art University - Tokyo, Japan

2014-18 Bachelor of Commercial Design, Chung Yuan Christian University - Taiwan

Yuchen Cao's portrait photo

I have a deep passion for exploring this diverse world and observing society from multiple perspectives, encompassing politics, economics, religion, and ethnic cultures. The artistic mindset enables me to perceive various issues in the diverse world from different perspectives, while my background in design empowers me to seek solutions to these problems through logical and rational means.

I believe that the development of emerging digital media technologies and immersive interactive experiences provides individuals with greater opportunities for creativity and imagination, assisting them in contemplating and constructing idealized solutions. Through digital media technologies, individuals can employ tools such as virtual reality, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence to simulate and experience various scenarios, thereby enhancing their understanding of problems and facilitating the search for solutions.

Such creative and interactive experiences facilitate individuals in thinking about problems from different angles, offering greater possibilities and innovative perspectives. This immersive interactive experience has the potential to ignite people's creativity and innovation capabilities, enabling them to effectively address the issues prevailing in various domains of society.

Furthermore, the emergence of these individual visions and innovative solutions also drives the development of related technologies and policies. As people propose and implement various novel solutions, the associated technologies and policies adapt and improve accordingly to meet people's needs and expectations. This mutually reinforcing relationship brings about progress in technology and policy, ultimately fostering societal innovation and well-being.

Based on this viewpoint, in addition to my involvement with the RCA, I have also collaborated with various startups in fields such as digital healthcare, circular economy, and children's education, employing emerging digital media technologies and design thinking to contribute my efforts towards advancing innovation in these respective domains.

The Eternal Fear

This project is a speculative design endeavor that reimagines the ecological environment of the nuclear radiation exclusion zone surrounding the Fukushima nuclear power plant from a non-human perspective. Due to the accumulation of vast amounts of unmanageable nuclear waste on the ground within the radiation exclusion zone, although humans have long evacuated the area, numerous wildlife species are still prone to encountering this radioactive waste. Frequent contact and radiation exposure of local wildlife pose significant threats to their health, reproduction, and ecological integrity. Hence, in this project, I integrated knowledge from ecology, animal behavior, and acoustics, collaborating with researchers from relevant fields.

By designing an artificial device that emits a special frequency sound capable of inducing fear in wildlife without the need for artificial energy sources, I propose a novel hypothesis for mitigating the environmental consequences of the nuclear disaster. Ultimately, this hypothesis is presented using virtual reality technology, allowing individuals to immerse themselves in the role of wildlife, experiencing firsthand the severity of the nuclear waste issue and the potential impact of this design solution in addressing environmental problems.

Pictures of the artificial device
Pictures of the artificial device
Pictures of the artificial device
Pictures of the artificial device
Pictures of the artificial device
Pictures of the artificial device
Pictures of the artificial device
Structure Design 1
Structure Design 2

A Study on Animal Perception and Behavioral Responses to Fear from the Perspective of Design

This research examines the ecological impact of nuclear disasters on wildlife. I aim to develop a fear-inducing device to protect wildlife in nuclear disaster zones from the harmful effects of radiation. During a site visit to the Fukushima nuclear power plant area, I observed the extensive storage of nuclear waste in bags and barrels. Despite government measures, wildlife remains exposed to high radiation levels without adequate protection. To address this, my project investigates animal fear instincts and designs artifacts to trigger instinctive fear in animals near the nuclear waste storage area, offering crucial protection for wildlife in the region.

In some studies, such as Dean Mobbs and LeDoux JE explore fear behavior in animals. Fear is described as a conscious response to danger, crucial for survival in different environments. Animals experience fear when perceiving threats, leading to defensive actions like running and screaming. Predation avoidance is a key factor driving this fear response across species. In the contaminated area near Fukushima, wild animals also fear predation and natural predators. A study by the Chinese Academy of Sciences suggests that animals genetically possess a fear response, triggered by the sudden approach of a dark shadow resembling a predator. Understanding animal fear aids in comprehending their survival strategies in the face of threats.

To deter wild animals from approaching the nuclear waste storage, an innovative device was developed. It projected fast, unpredictable shadows over the dump area, aiming to prevent animals from becoming accustomed to them. Inspired by the physics concept of the "pendulum wave," the device featured random and disorderly movements. Positioned above the storage facility, a nuclear battery, utilizing the energy from radioactive decay, provided a continuous power supply for the device, potentially lasting for centuries. This solution aimed to protect wildlife from the hazards of the nuclear waste while utilizing sustainable and long-lasting energy sources.

Research diagram 1
Research diagram 2
demo picture 1
demo picture 2
demo picture 3


Research / Speculative Artefact