Juan Salamanca

Assistant Professor of Graphic Design

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Dr. Salamanca is an interaction designer who has been experimenting with product aesthetics and information technologies, from both academia and industry, for more than 16 years.

His current research work is two faceted. One strand inquires for the participation of socially apt smart artifacts in socio-material interaction. The other explores the design of visual and tangible data for the achievement of unplanned collective goals such as urban commuting.

He regards social interaction mediated by smart (computational) artifacts as the ongoing adaptation of the activity flows of individuals, which are shaped by the enaction of both people and artifact’s programs of action. At a socio-technological level, this means that for the achievement of collective goals the design of social abilities of nonhuman agents is as relevant as people's sociality.

Dr. Salamanca holds a doctoral degree from the IIT Institute of Design in Chicago, USA, a master degree in design direction from Domus Academy in Milan, Italy, and a BA in Industrial Design at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogota, Colombia. 

Research & Projects

  • Design of multimodal interactions for social computing. See smartartifact.com
    • Understanding social viscosity: The sociality of walking.
    • Swarm intelligence for collaborative urban cycling
    • Trust mediation
  • Visual analytics
    • Visual analysis of financial communities. Big data and analytics project for Bancolombia, the first private bank in Colombia. See the GitHub repository


Fall 2018

  • ARTD 418 Digital Interaction Sandbox: This advanced studio immerses students in design investigations that stimulate awareness of emergent digital interaction paradigms. Potential areas of exploration include design and development for both mobile devices and interactive environments. In this course, the scope of interaction design encompasses two novel aspects. First, technology-mediated interactions that embrace new interaction modalities beyond touchscreens. Second, we are interested in design for relational means that enhance social aspects of human life.

Fall 2019

  • ARTD 351 Graphic Design Inquiry: Complex social problems demand problem solvers to dissect their causes, components, system dynamics, evolutions, and consequences. Data visualization (DataViz) and visual analytics have proven to be invaluable tools in understanding social issues. In this course, we overview the dataviz principles by exploring alternatives to represent social data and distill information.
  •  ARTD 299 Creative Coding: This course will focus on the foundational concepts and skills of programming through simple design challenges, including bitmap manipulation and gesture-based interactions. At the end of this eight-week class, students will be able to code compelling digital canvases for desktop and mobile devices.

    The course will make extensive use of popular programming environments such as Processing and P5.js, and might include physical interaction using Arduino depending on the experience and interest of students.

Spring 2019

  • ARTD 318 Digital Interaction: This studio explores the construction of compelling user experiences that incorporate the use of digital media. Students investigate both the theoretical and practical aspects of digital interaction through exercises involving information architecture, interface design, and creative coding.