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Global Innovation Design (MA/MSc)

Douglas Yueming Lai

Douglas Yueming Lai designs and studies engaging experiences for human-computer interaction. 

He is a user experience designer and researcher who is passionate about discovering new perceptions and interactions to advocate positive change for future human experiences. He is broadly interested in how speculation can translate into actionable innovation, how humans collaborate and communicate with AI and automated systems, and how sensory interaction can enhance this experience. 


MA/MSc in Global Innovation Design - Royal College of Art & Imperial College London (2020-2023)

Bachelor of Engineering in Industrial Design - South China University of Technology (2016-2020)

International exchange:

Semester Abroad at Pratt Institute, New York, US (2021)

Semester Abroad at Keio University, Tokyo, Japan (2021)

Exchange student at National Yunlin University of Science and Technology (2018)

Visiting Student at Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, US (2018)


Head of Local Committee - AIESEC in Mainland of China (2018-2019)


Finalist - 'Beyond Smart' by OPPO, NoBound

Semi-finalist - 'Sparkling Hackathon' by BP, Tubo

'The Future Happened: Designing the Future of Music' by LADdesign x CCA Design Futures Lab x Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA), InnerSleeve

Douglas Yueming Lai's portrait

I see design not just as a way of problem-solving, but also as an opportunity that inspires and educates people’s behaviour for a better society.

In GID, I have integrated my knowledge in product design with future methodology and design for playfulness to create delightful and enchanting experiences for people’s everyday life.

My inspirations come from the city I wandered, the story I lived and the people I found. Through observation and culture fusion, these experiences have in turn become the design opportunities for me.

My practice has focused on Human-machine Interaction, Sensory Experience Design and Human Factor & Ergonomics. I am passionate about using a human-centric approach to enable human-perception AI advocating positive change in society and enhancing service experience.  

ZooKA Product
ZooKA is a virtual driver system designed with zoomorphic behaviour traits to provide emotional engagement building trust between rider and autonomous vehicle.
Affective Perception
Affective PerceptionHuman thinking begins with an intimate association with emotions and feelings. Emotional response can make a fundamental contribution to safety and performance.
Zoomorphic Driver Design
Zoomorphic Driver DesignZooKA driver identity is presented as an embodiment of the Autonomous Vehicle algorithm allowing riders to receive cognitive and affective responses to form a relationship.
Multi-sensory Interaction
Multi-sensory InteractionZooKA allows riders to seamlessly communicate with ZooKA drivers from their mobile phones to the vehicle control board facilitated by identical visual interface intuitive movement.
When the driver has been taken away, the emotional communication originally undertaken by the taxi driver is missing. ZooKA uses zoomorphic behaviour traits to give emotionless self-driving taxis a reliable soul.
ZooKA Service
ZooKA ServiceTurn a passive passenger into an active rider, transforming the existing human-vehicle communication model to design a human-AV system with affective communication. Through interaction, trust is developing.
Design Process
This project followed an iterative process, to observe and empathise with people. It embraces a speculative design approach, gathering insights from potential users and reflecting on existing ride-hailing services to create a unique experience.
Design Fiction Workshop
Design Fiction WorkshopThe speculative journey begins by setting the context and inviting users to construct a narrative, where they embark on a ride with a driverless car imbued with the essence of an animal soul.
Historical Analysis
Human-Vehicle RelationshipThrough visual research, this project explores the impact of automobile technology and the dynamic relationship between humans and vehicles capturing it has transformed over time.
Zoomorphic Behaviour Traits
Zoomorphic Behaviour TraitsBy analyzing user speculation, it unveils four distinct zoomorphic behavioural traits: Loyalty, Empathy, Etiquette, and Personality. These traits serve as guiding principles for the design and development of the ZooKA Driver system.
Conversational AI
Driver Conversational AIhas been thoughtfully designed and programmed based on ZBT, incorporating public data gathered from existing products. Potential users are invited to engage with the conversation and proofread it to ensure its coherence and logical consistency.
This project has gone through an iterative user testing process, resulting in the development of a compelling proof-of-concept. It offers participants an immersive experience through an on-road "Wizard of Oz" experiment, allowing them to directly interact with the technology and gain a deeper understanding of its capabilities.
NoBound Application
Visual Augmentation
Spacial Scanning
Spacial Scanning

Reconnect Your Sense to The City

NoBound is an innovative augmented reality digital platform designed to enhance the underground travel experience. It empowers tourists to reconnect their senses to the city and expand their perspective beyond the confines of the underground space. Traditionally, travelling underground has meant disconnection and isolation. However, with NoBound, tourists can utilize their favourite mobile apps without an internet connection to locate themselves, enjoy the cityscape above ground, and uncover the stories behind the city.

NoBound provides an exceptional experience for passengers to enjoy city views, discover intriguing narratives, and navigate effortlessly while utilizing the connectionless underground service.

  • The Sightseeing mode offers a wealth of information about famous landmarks, parks, and nearby shops and restaurants. It creates a playful experience for tourists, allowing them to immerse themselves in urban architecture and gain a sense of their position within the city.
  • The Navigation modes ensure that tourists can travel efficiently and joyfully throughout the tube station, from finding the correct entrance to knowing exactly where the doors will be located.

Read More 🔗

In Collaboration with:

Lijun Chu, Shike Zhang, Yihan Bian

Product Model
Play with TaSH
TaSH Model

Unlock The Sensory Pleasure Stored in Your Fingertips

Focusing on the feeling of touch, this conceptual controller design aims to create a distinctive and immersive sensory experience, both physically and emotionally. By incorporating brush bristles as input buttons, it expands the tactile dimension for gamers, enhancing focus and heightening gaming pleasure.

This gamepad delves into the context of an immersive gaming experience through the sense of touch, not just visual and auditory. Featuring smooth soft nylon bristles, it provides continuous pressure and vibration stimulation to the fingertips, amplifying the overall sensation.

This project started from a factory visit at Braun Brush, a notable brush-making company in the United States, that fosters the artistic aspects of brush innovation. Looking at the different types of bristles, the feelings it brings has shown the potential to shape sensory interaction. Additionally, the concept draws inspiration from the comfort and pressure-relieving effects observed when people engage with therapeutic brushes through touching, sweeping, and pushing actions.

In Collaboration with:

Braun Brush

Relocata is a pop-up piazza built by NYC overdue and homeless scaffoldings, designed to remove the annoying construction architecture from the street. It reimagines these scaffolds as a creative and recreational asset for both New Yorkers and visitors alike. Relocata seeks to restore the sidewalk as a safe and convenient space for pedestrians and building residents, fostering a sense of community and reclaiming urban spaces.
Visual Rendering
Pop-up Piazza
Scaffolding Future
Speculation of Scaffolding Future in NYC
How it built

Relocation for Recreation

Why Relocata?

In New York City, urban construction is a constant presence, with the city in a perpetual state of repair. Over 40% of existing scaffolding construction has been marked as overdue which causes the long-standing problem that influences the city image and pedestrian experience. The key reasons for this situation are high repair expenses and lack of storage space. To face these challenges, a pop-up public recreation project has been introduced to rethink the future urban construction and potentially solve the long-standing problem

How is it designed? 

Relocata is a conversation to the scaffolding future, which is why it’s designed as a key shape to open the space for a better construction environment in New York City. The main structure is comprised of three distinct sections: the central stage, the Experimental area, and the exhibition area. Each part functions independently while maintaining a seamless connection, resulting in a space that is inclusive and accessible to all city dwellers. Its complex structure duplicates the nosy and annoying scaffolding environment, but more importantly, it provides a dedicated space for pedestrians to engage, relax, and experiment freely.