IAN Grossberg


Song tracks to be heard while riding the tracks


Initial idea from friend Taj Campbell, Tracks is a series of experiments where songs were connected with travel. The initial eventual idea was to potentially have “mix tapes” one would be able to listen to while they were riding the train or subway, each particular song selected or written to fit from one station to the next, changing periodically. In this way everyone regularly commuting to work would share a music experience made for their ride and visitors would be able to experience something unique to the trip. It would also become an avenue for local musicians to share their work with a wide audience, writing a piece made for one station to the next.

The idea is especially relevant where ideas of identity and pride are connected to landmarks and experiences in a city. While this isn’t unique to trains we loved the cute imagery of laying a figurative music reel along the length of the train tracks and riding along that reel. The hope was that train companies would be equally incentivized to help create this experience and support the musicians who were a part of the experience.

Experiments that emerged:

  • Mapping songs to the entire city space around you, as you walked/biked/drove/bussed the songs closest to you playing, further experiments with playing with speed relating to playback speed (nothing unsafe, don’t worry 😉)

  • Finding best fits to train tracks from a person’s phone music library, mapping it to the Tokyo and NYC subway and train lines.


Organic Cuts 1

Free-flowing, interlocking, organic toy


Organic Cuts 1 is a first experiment with organic shapes created such that they can be connected, arranged, and played with however one would like.



Tripod Lamp

Quick, cheap build; Pretty, contemporary results


Original idea to build tripod lamps by my friend Elizabeth Fodde-Reguer, constrained to be done over a Saturday and Sunday with raw materials from one trip to the hardware store.

Lamp shade by Laura Ashely.



Positive Social Media Behavioral Change Tool

Starting from an idea my friend Jon Vermilyea had, we eventually decided on a toy that would encourage positive language communication between you and the outside world.

Upon starting the game you are presented with an idle creature, similar to what you would find in virtual pet games like Tamagotchi. You are then directed to connect any number of your social media network accounts. These become the sources of "food" for your pet! Any post or comment you then make ends up in your pet's belly.

Say something positive and you provide your pet with healthy, nutritious eats which is then reflected in its demeanor and growth. Say something negative and you've just fed your pet poison which can only be countered with even more positivity.

With this simple mechanic we hoped to create an easy way to catch yourself or identify when you act negatively online, giving you the opportunity to learn and change your behavior. To drive the point even further home we discussed replacing the pet with a customized avatar of yourself.

Second View

Mobile AR Media Sharing Experience

A tool for building a digital second layer on the physical world. The tool enables one to experience media collected at physical locations only by traveling to the location the media was originally collected at.

Prototype's code available soon.





Mobile AR Puzzle Game

Playing Journey meant solving each level by guiding the little onscreen figure further in its journey. A level was solved by finding edges and lines in ones environment and lining them up to connect the “In” platform to the “Out” platform on the edges of the phone screen. Once connected the bridge would extend and physically join the two platforms, traveling along the edge the player found. Each level's had the option of having one side or the other side of the edge's background cut out and replaced with an image of the creator's choice.

Ideas for more complex levels, additional puzzle mechanics, multiplayer levels, and sharing were documented but never implemented.

In developing the project I explored how subtle cues can make fake elements rendered over the camera can feel more a part of the real world. Some things that felt good:

  • Lighting 3d elements using the camera's average lighting direction and intensity ( a common practice now)

  • Subtle rotation of the 3d platforms to match the player's actual movements of their phone.




Life from a computer’s POV

AutoSnaps is an ongoing collection of photos taken every time my computer starts up. The software is meant to be as subtle as possible so as to candidly catch its surrounds, me and anything else in its sights. The result is a very intimate and mundane walk backward or forward through my life's interaction with my computer.

This effort was started in 2009 and at the time of this writing has resulted in over 2,684 moments.



Structure Synth Structures

Procedurally generated future worlds


Structure Synth is an amazingly simple tool for procedurally building beautiful geometric structures by describing the functional rules for their construction. Below are results of playing with the tool with an emphasis on future, fantastical worlds.



Ice Cream Explosion



A silly experiment combining live performance with realtime generative 3d assets. Who doesn't like ice cream??



brains and heart

Photo blog



Old photo blog highlighting visually interesting or topically light subject matters, demonstrating design philosophy later accepted by the community at large.