Join our HCI Lab:

  • As a Post-Doctoral Researcher [read more]
  • As a PhD Student [read more]
  • All other students, please complete this form. I review responses to the form at the beginning of each quarter and anytime we have a need for students to join the lab.

Dr. Kai Lukoff is an Assistant Professor at Santa Clara University, leading the Human-Computer Interaction Lab in the Department of Computer Science & Engineering. He uses human-centered methods to research, design, and develop technologies with social impact.

Dr. Lukoff’s research investigates how digital interfaces impact user experience and sense of agency. He has conducted field experiments to evaluate how redesigned features of social media applications, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, impact digital wellbeing metrics.

Additionally, Dr. Lukoff is collaborating with Native American partners on a new interdisciplinary project to create an augmented reality tour showcasing the past, present, and future of the Ohlone Tribe on Santa Clara University campus.

His research has been published in top-tier academic venues such as CHI, CSCW, IMWUT, DIS, and Mindfulness Journal, and recognized with the 2023 Outstanding Dissertation Award from ACM SIGCHI. He is also an award-winning public speaker and storyteller. Dr. Lukoff earned his PhD in the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering at the University of Washington, co-advised by Drs. Sean Munson and Alexis Hiniker. Prior to his academic career, he worked as a product manager at mobile internet startups in China for six years.


  • May 4, 2024: We publicly launched the Thámien Ohlone Augmented Reality Tour! The launch ceremony was attended by members of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe and students, faculty, and the President of Santa Clara University.
  • Apr 30, 2024: Our short video “We Are Still Here” about the creation of the Thámien Ohlone Augmented Reality Tour received a Best Video Award (top 1% of submissions) at CHI 2024
  • Apr 30, 2024: Our paper “‘I finally felt I had the tools to control these urges’: Empowering Students to Achieve Their Device Use Goals With the Reduce Digital Distraction Workshop about the creation of the Thámien Ohlone Augmented Reality Tour received an Honorable Mention Award (top 5% of submissions) at CHI 2024
  • March 9, 2024: Two posters were accepted to the Meaningful XR Conference at Stanford University: (1) Virtual Campus Tours: Designing for Underrepresented Students to Feel a Sense of Belonging at College; and (2) Location-Based Augmented Reality for Social Justice: The Thámien Ohlone AR Tour.
  • Dec 1, 2024: Our workshop “With or Without Permission: Site-Specific Augmented Reality for Social Justice” was accepted at CHI2024
  • Oct 9, 2023: We launched the beta version of the Thámien Ohlone Augmented Reality Tour, which tells the story of the Ohlone people on our historical campus. The closed beta launch of the AR tour was covered by ABC News, NBC News, and KTSF (Cantonese). Read more.
  • Aug 30, 2023: Senior Design Theses have been published for the 22/23 academic year:
  • June 6, 2023: I was inducted into the Order of the Engineer as an Eminent Engineer in a ceremony at Santa Clara University by Elaine Scott, the Dean of our Engineering School.
  • Apr 11, 2023: Our SwitchTube paper was awarded a Best Paper Honorable Mention at the CHI 2023 Conference (top 5% of papers)!
  • Mar 30, 2023: I was interviewed about my research on attention capture designs on The Conversation Weekly podcast.
  • Mar 9, 2023: I teamed up with SCU Professors Amy Lueck (English) and Lee Panich (Anthropology) to submit a proposal that was awarded a 2023 Whitham Family Collaborative Scholarship Award for interdisciplinary research. The award ($30,000) will fund our creation of an augmented reality (AR) tour of the Santa Clara University campus that tells the story of the Ohlone, the Native Americans who have stewarded the land of our campus for hundreds of years. [Read more]
  • Feb 14, 2023: I received the 2023 Outstanding Dissertation Award from ACM SIGCHI, the leading professional organization for human-computer interaction researchers and practitioners. The award citation states, “Kai’s dissertation has provoked, and will continue to provoke, conversations that have helped the HCI, social computing, and ubicomp fields gain a better understanding of what, exactly, we mean by digital wellbeing and how to achieve it.” [link to dissertation]
  • Jan 13, 2023: Our paper has been conditionally accepted to the 2023 CHI Conference: “SwitchTube: A Proof-of-Concept System Introducing ‘Adaptable Commitment Interfaces’ as a Tool for Digital Wellbeing.” The pre-print manuscript is available here.
  • Jan 13, 2023: Our paper has been conditionally accepted to the 2023 CHI Conference: “Defining and Identifying Attention Capture Deceptive Designs in Digital Interfaces.” The pre-print manuscript is available here.