Please see my list of
publications or project
I was in my mother's belly when my family immigrated
to the United States from Iran in 1979. My family moved to the United
States as a result of the Islamic Revolution in Iran.
When I was eight, my parents were divorced and each re-married wonderful
people after a few years. I'm very fortunate to have a step-father and a step-mother.
I grew up in Maryland attending Thomas Wootton
High School in Rockville and enjoyed playing soccer, basketball,
and volleyball. I enrolled at the University of Maryland in the
Fall of 1997 and became a Resident Assistant. I studied Computer
Science and Philosophy and was involved in a diverse array of academic
and social circles.
I took my fourth year off to study Spanish in Madrid,
Spain and to backpack through countries in Europe, Africa, Southeast
Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, and the Middle East. During this
time, I underwent many changes in my practices, ideals, objectives,
and outlooks on life. I went on safari in Kenya, stayed in village
huts with Masaii tribesmen, toured northern Thailand by motorbike,
hiked the Himalayas, bathed in the Ganges, attended the teachings
of the Dalai Lama in northern India, studied Vipassana meditation
& yoga, and explored the land of my ancestors in Iran. I really
haven't been the same since.
I spent the summer following graduation doing research
in Athens, Greece and did some backpacking through Greece and Turkey.
I embarked on a new stage of my life that Fall while studying and
conducting research at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh,
USA. I made new friends, began practicing Brazilian Capoeira again,
met fascinating people, and started to figure out what I want to
do with my life. I spent a couple of weeks backpacking Mexico, Guatemala,
and Belize in August 2003. When I came back, I sat down and started
to really think about life after graduate school.
After Carnegie Mellon, I traveled for another 8 months around Asia, India, Iran, and
Ethiopia. I then moved
to Beijing to work at Microsoft Research Asia to satisfy my
adventuresome tendencies while exploring the realm of interaction
design. I traveled all around Asia, even North Korea. I discovered the Chinese part of my soul and created Mouse
Mischief which took me to work in Thailand, Malaysia, Costa Rica, and the US.
After two years of research at MSR Asia, I enrolled in a Ph.D. program at Stanford University in Learning Sciences and
Technology Design. I am an active scholar in the fields of human-computer interaction, information retrieval, child-computer
interaction, ICT for development, learning sciences, persuasive technology, and
now, calming technology.
In the summer of 2009, while at MSR in Redmond, I created the first classroom environment for enabling web search
skills to be learned socially in co-located environments: ClassSearch.
In the summer of 2010, while doing research at Google, I conducted experiments showing we could improve search performance through the use of
tactical search tips.
Since then, I've coined the terms 'calming technology' (technologies that actively induce calm states
of mind and body) and
'self-shaping' (the practice of designing our environments to shape our own future behaviors and
My dissertation concerns 'peripheral paced respiration', a technique I created to ensure computer users breathe in a calm manner while working.
The latest is that Jonathan and I have started Spire and our first product is Breathware.