Xiangyu Xiao

My research interest focuses on creating meaningful tangible interactions with products using advanced technology. My design philosophy is rooted in user-centered and utilitarian principles, incorporating user needs into the design process of user-product interactions.

Final Project

Human Plant Interaction

The effect of sensory and haptic feedback on perceived usefulness and emotional well-being

This study investigated the role of haptic and sensory interaction in the context of human-plant interaction, researching the effect of sensory human-plant interaction and haptic feedback on perceived usefulness and emotions.

  • I investigated how plants and humans can communicate with each other so that humans know when plants need to be watered while allowing plants to have a positive effect on improving human well-being.
  • The plant detects user input through touch and provides sensory and haptic feedback through sound, light, and vibration

Design thinking process

A design thinking approach had been used with human-centered design. This allowed the exploration of how plant interactions influence human emotions, investigating interaction modes, behaviours, and diverse sensory stimulation and feedback.

Participatory Workshops

Participatory design was used to incorporate the needs, and aspirations of the users into the design, and come up with more user-centred solutions.

  • In the first participatory workshop, I investigated different interaction methods with participants and ideated the first prototype.
  • In the second participatory workshop, participants experienced the first prototype, providing valuable suggestions to improve the prototype.
  • In the third participatory workshop, participants interacted with a refined prototype and provided final suggestions.

Comparison between touch detection methods

  • Method 1: Detecting touch using ECG sensors by measuring the biopotential of plants. The ECG sensor has three electrodes that can be attached to the plant. However, it was not possible to distinguish between the plants or between different leaves on the same plant, and the detection of touch was not consistent or stable.
  • Method 2: Detecting touch through capacitive sensing. Capacitive sensing systems operate by detecting changes in the capacitive coupling between the human body and the transmitting and receiving electrodes. In Arduino, capacitive sensing was easily implemented through the capacitive sensor library.

After several experiments, capacitive sensing was chosen as the touch detection method as it was more reliable.

Arduino prototype framework

  • Study 1 used a soil moisture sensor as the input, and provided light, sound, and vibration output.
  • Study 2 utilizes capacitive touch sensing to detect touch. It was used as the haptic input. For sound output, the MP3 module was replaced with a MIDI output, allowing the Arduino to send music notes to the computer and play music like an electric piano.

Prototype Showcase Video

DRT bus experience design for tourists

Bus travel is efficient and sustainable yet restricts travellers to long fixed routes. Issues including difficulty locating bus stops, feelings of insecurity while waiting, and boredom contribute to tourists opting for unsustainable single-occupancy options like Uber.We aimed to create an innovative bus travel experience using VR and AR to improve enjoyment, flexibility, and convenience. Our VR scenario demonstrates the bus travel’s advantages and positive environmental impact. Our AR guides passengers to virtual bus stops, encouraging bus travel selection. User testing applied physical storms, SUS Testing, and USE scoreboards to verify user interest and behavioural change.

Eco Circle – An app that increases recycling rates for university campuses in collaboration with TPXimpact

This app aims to apply circular economy principles to reduce waste on campus and help reverse species loss by using restorative and regenerative approaches.


  • Three National Utility Model Patents | A new camera, digital mouse, lightbulb packaging design
  • Silver Star Bronze Award | G CROSS 2021 – Creative Gold Star Award for Global College Students
  • Bronze Award | 5th International Environmental Protection Art Creation Contest


MSc. User Experience Design | Loughborough University | 2022-2023

Industrial Design Engineer | Nanjing CUH Science & Technology Co., Ltd | 2021

BA. Product Design | Southeast University | 2017-2021

Visionary Thinkers

Visionary Creators

Visionary Makers