sarah.mennicken (at)

Emerging Technologies / Voice Interaction / Smart Homes / AR,VR

UX Research, Strategy, and Design

Research Scientist
at Spotify


The most recent project, I was involved in is Holoportation. I conducted qualitative studies and created interaction designs to explore and define new User Experiences of this novel type of 3D capture technology. It allows high-quality 3D models of people to be reconstructed, compressed and transmitted anywhere in the world in real time. Using mixed reality displays such as HoloLens, users can see, hear, and interact with remote participants in 3D as if they are present in the same physical space and interacting with remote users becomes as natural as face-to-face communication. To get an idea of how this looks like take a look here. For more information on Holoportation, please visit the Microsoft project page.




Casalendar: A calendar for your smart home

Informed by my research on people living in smart homes, I started developing a smart home UI prototype in collaboration with the wonderful students that I supervise. The concept in a nutshell (also here in a 30 summary): picture your home has a calendar that you have access to. It'll tell you what it's been up to and what its plans are for the future so that you can spot conflicts more easily. For more information on Casalendar, please visit our project page.




Interactive Furniture

What would happen if the furniture in our homes could take a more proactive role? What are use cases for interactive furniture? And what is the spectrum of what can be expressed through furniture? To explore these questions, I created design concepts and a physical prototype for a couch intended to express its own emotions. This project was done in collaboration with A.J. Brush, James Scott, and Asta Roseway at Microsoft Research. For more information and a video overview of this project, please visit the project page.




Human Home Interaction

Who turned off the light? Why did the shades just go down? How can I turn on the heating with my phone again? Interacting with advanced building technologies and experiencing automated functionalities in one's home can be very confusing or even challenging. My research interest is in improving this interaction between inhabitants and their homes. For more information on this research, please visit our website.




Silhouettes at EXPO 2010

My first project as a research assistant at i10 was just as challenging as it was as exciting. I did the project management and co-designed the UX for "Silhouettes", an interactive experience that was part of the "City Game" at the EXPO 2010 (Shanghai, China). It was installed in the German Chinese House on the EXPO grounds for the "Deutschland und China" initiative in April 2010.


A local media company created a making-of documentary which also nicely shows our iterative design approach.

You can find plenty more information, videos, and press coverage on the project website of the Media Computing Group.

Looks like Germany's prior president Horst Köhler did enjoy playing with it as well. Check it out at



Research in telemedical emergency services

For my work at the eHealth Group at the humtec Research Centre, I analyzed the tasks and workflow of emergency physicians to specify user requirements. For my research, I talked to emergency physicians and did a participatory observation on the ambulance car and in the emergency center with my co-worker Shirley Beul. Our work resulted in two publications, which describe the process and present preliminary guidelines.





PersonalChef - Diploma Thesis

For my diploma thesis, I researched interactive multi-display systems in kitchens. I presented this work as a poster at the CHI 2010 conference in Atlanta, USA. You can find more information on the project website of the media computing group. If you're interested in reading my thesis or the extended abstracts, please take a look at my old i10 website.



Side Projects


My friend Stefan developed a great application to create tilt shift photography effects and asked me to redesign the interaction metaphors and the interface. Many people enjoyed our app, and some of them even posted video reviews online (video 1, video 2) that nicely show the interaction with it. The development was recently handed over to other developers, but the app can still be purchased at the old website or the Mac AppStore




Room Interaction: Piano Floor

The eHealth Group at the humtec Research Centre has a floor equipped with sensors. And what would be more enjoyable than turning it into a simple piano? Some fun in Processing with Felix and Kai!











Graphical Design Work

As I enjoy doing design work, I took on various graphical design tasks for the research groups I was working for as well as friends and family. The linked pdf gives an idea of the different types of work I've been doing. Logo design for ZPAC research group at University of Zurich, ZuriMensa Logo for my co-worker Christian Remy, booklet design for networking event "Landscape of User Experience 2011", and a few more things.