Katherine Isbister
Research Director

Founding Research Director of the Lab, Isbister is an Associate Professor jointly appointed in the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering Computer Science department, and the NYU Tisch Game Center. She is a Human Computer Interaction researcher and designer, focused on creating more compelling emotional and social qualities in games and other computer-supported experiences. Isbister's team builds and studies research prototypes with support from NSF, Microsoft, Bell Labs, and other funders. Projects have been featured by Wired, Scientific American, and NPR. Her group's games have been shown in venues including IndieCade (Yamove! Finalist in 2012), the World Science Festival, and museums such as the Liberty Science Center. Isbister’s book on game character design—Better Game Characters by Design: A Psychological Approach—was nominated for a Game Developer Magazine Frontline award. Her edited volume, Game Usability, brings together best practices in game playtesting and user research. Isbister is a recipient of the MIT Technology Review Young Innovators award.

Andy Nealen
Assistant Professor in Game Engineering, Computer Graphics, Perceptual Science

Andy is a faculty member in the Department of Computer Science at NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering, where he teaches and researches computer graphics, game design, and game engineering. Some time ago he studied Architecture and Structural Engineering, and worked in those fields before turning his attention to the study and design of games and computer graphics. He obtained his PhD in computer science at TU Berlin, helped out with the Apple-Design-Award-winning game Osmos, published work at SIGGRAPH, and has spoken at international game and computer graphics conferences. Some of his current obsessions include minimalist game design, tabletop game design, interactive shape modeling and animation, the semiology of graphics, perceptual science, and minimal graphical user interfaces. When not thinking about design, research, and/or traveling, he indulges in sessions of StarCraft, Street Fighter, Chess, Go, and too many other video and tabletop games. Click here to reach his website.

Kaho Abe

Kaho Abe is currently the Artist in Residence at the Game Innovation Lab at NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering where she researches and builds games that utilize technology to bring people together face to face. Some of her projects include Hit Me!, Mary Mack 5000 and Ninja Shadow Warrior. Kaho's work is largely focused on improving social and personal experiences through the use of technology, fashion and games. Her projects have appeared in shows and conferences in NYC, Boston, San Jose, the UK, Greece, China and Japan, and have been discussed in various publications including I.D. Magazine, Kill Screen Magazine, CNET News, NBC, NY1 and Asahi Shimbun. Kaho teaches classes and workshops on designing and building alternative physical game controllers, and co-hosts a monthly playtesting event with Come Out and Play at Eyebeam Art & Technology Center. She holds a MFA in Design & Technology from Parsons the New School for Design and was formerly a Fellow at Eyebeam. Learn more about Kaho...


Mike Karlesky

Ph.D Candidate

I'm a Computer Science Ph.D. Candidate. My advisor is the Game Innovation Lab’s research director Katherine Isbister. My research areas are Human Computer Interaction, Affective Computing, and Playful Technologies. Projects of mine include Fidget Widgets and Open Sesame. More of my work past and present as well as my writing is available at my own site. Before graduate school I spent twelve years in the computer engineering field. I've contributed to and published on several open source projects. If you want to talk about amusement parks or the New York City subway, drop me a note.

Edward Melcer

Ph.D Candidate

I'm a PhD student in the Computer Science department. My research interests include Educational Games and Technology, HCI, Computer Supported Cooperative Work, Affective Computing, and Novel Interfaces. I have also placed as a finalist or won several educational game development contests such as the Future Game Designer Challenge and the 2nd Annual Games for Learning Design Competition. I love all aspects of games and in my free time I often build them as a hobby.

Ming Jin

Ph.D Candidate

Ming is a PhD student in Computer Science, working with Prof. Andy Nealen. His research interests are in 3D shape modeling and animation.

He is currently working on some exciting new user interfaces for rigged character animations.


Chris DiMauro

Tech Wizard

An alum of Polytechnic's Digital Media Masters program, Chris is a Wearer of many hats: Web design, electronics, game programming, 3d modeling, robotics; He's tinkered in a broad range of fields. Right now he's the go-to man for any tech in the Game lab, whether it means keeping the lab computers working smoothly to getting exotic remote controls to work with student made games. Fun Stuff!


Lab Manager

Relationship building, finance administration, event planning,  publicity & marketing,  industry collaborations and managing this cool space day-to-day are a few of the things I do - all in all, an interesting gig!


Anna Ly

Visiting Researcher

Ms. Ly is currently the Senior Manager of Business and Creative Ventures for the Cooney Center. Previously, she completed an undergraduate degree in Business, Finance and Human-Computer Interaction with a focus in Communication Design from Carnegie Mellon. She has worked on interactive paper-based electronics including Papert Tronics and launched several applications to help children and adolescents with autism understand emotions in the context of their own lives, including Emotionary and Me.Mu for Kinect.  She is also part of the Content Innovation Lab group at Sesame, which develops innovative learning experiences for preschool age children using emerging technologies.


Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Loïc is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Game Innovation Lab. His work in the lab concerns video games user research. His main goals are to understand how the game interfaces impact the player's experience and to propose recommendations for game designers to optimize them. See his website for his CV, his publications and more:

Bert B

My main research interest is in Computer Graphics, more specifically photorealistic and non-photorealistic rendering. The latter, in particular, has strong ties with research into human perception. I also worked on an educational game in collaboration with NYU Poly's chemistry department intended to familiarize middle schoolers with basic chemical principles.

View Alumni Here


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