Interview with Xin Feng for Sink in Sync

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Xin Feng

As a creative technologist/engineer at Meta Reality Labs, Xin Feng is passionate about using creative technology and design to improve individual well-being, focusing on health, cognition, emotion, and social relationships. Feng is particularly interested in connecting the physical and virtual worlds through XR and other modalities.

Interview with the 2023 Vega Digital Awards Winner -
Xin Feng

1Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your design background.

I am passionate about creative technology and design on individual well-being including health, cognition, emotion and social relationships, and interested in bridging physical and virtual worlds through XR and other new modalities.

I am currently a creative technologist/engineer at Meta Reality Labs, where I work on the design and implementation of VR related user-facing features. Prior to Meta, I worked at Tencent game studio as a technical artist/engineer, specializing in Houdini generative design for a 3A IP game and delivering human-centered gameplay experience.

2What’s your favorite kind of digital design and why?
I like digital design that’s interactive that utilizes various forms of feedback, i.e. human biofeedback including heart rate, EEG etc. My primary focus has consistently revolved around the enhancement of social well-being through the application of multimedia digital design.
3To you, what makes a “good” design?
A "good" design would be user-centered and provides unique, novel and meaningful experience.
4Describe your design style and its main characteristics.
My creative style always starts from "ungroundedness" but gradually ground it to real human interaction with tangible interface. The main characteristics for my creative style or what I care the most are creative design ideas and novel human interaction paradigms.
5Tell us about your design process.

From my experience, my design process is deeply rooted in everyday life. A design work usually starts with some speculations on existing user experiences (how we interact with the surroundings). Through further exploration and brainstorming, I come up with some ideas for specific audiences and then I craft the design with multimedia/technology.

Last but not the least, I will make sure the design is delivered as expected to the audience through some design iterations.

6Where do you draw inspiration from?
Art gallery, exhibitions and everyday experience.
7What current trends in digital design (or really anything digital related) are you most excited about?
I’m very excited about multi-sensory immersive digital design, especially in the virtual reality environment. I have seen various projects that incorporated olfactory, sound, touch and other sensory in addition to the immersive digital design and I found the experience to be very unique and compelling.
8Congratulations! As the winner of the 2023 Vega Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?
Being chosen for this award is a significant validation of our creative efforts, and we feel privileged to be recognized, particularly as independent designers. A special acknowledgment to my incredible teammate, Tiange. We are committed to ongoing exploration and the delivery of innovative creative work.
9Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2023 Vega Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

SinkInSync introduces a VR-based cross-person EEG neurofeedback platform, showcasing its design and prototype. This innovative VR system utilizes one user's brainwave data to dynamically generate 3D scenes and visually synchronizes real-time brainwave frequencies with another user.

We find this project to be both captivating and groundbreaking, as it explores the potential of VR to enhance cognitive and emotional social connectedness through externally-induced brainwave synchronization between individuals.

Our primary focus is on leveraging technology to foster interpersonal connections beyond conventional speech. The exploration of how biometric data can enrich communication channels and enhance accessibility is a relatively unexplored area, and we believe our project has the potential to inspire the creative industry.

10What was the biggest challenge with this project?
The primary challenge in this project lies in the 3D scene design phase. Finding a way to incorporate neuro signals into a visual and artistic representation without affecting the frequency functionality of the brainwaves is quite a complex challenge. Additionally, enhancing meaningful interaction between pairs through gamification presents another intriguing yet demanding aspect of the project.
11How has winning an Award developed your practice/career?
Winning a professional award holds significant importance for my career as an independent creative technologist. It serves as motivation for me to persist in exploring creative design, particularly with emerging technologies such as AI, and to concentrate on fostering innovative interaction paradigms.
12What are your top three (3) favorite things about the digital industry?
A-ha moment, dynamism and imagination!
13Where do you see the evolution of digital industry going over the next 5-10 years?
In my perspective, the progress of the creative industry is intricately connected to advancements in technology and biology. Currently, we are experiencing a surge in AI technology, and creativity appears to be continually reshaped by technological innovations. Consequently, I envision a future where the creative industry and technology are closely intertwined and mutually reinforcing.
14If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring Vega Award submitter, what advice would you give them?
Explore the impressive creations showcased on the website, identify what captivates you the most, and establish your unique creative approach. Continuously iterate and ensure the design is effectively communicated to the audience.
15What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the digital industry?
Examining resources such as emerging technologies, recently published articles, and award-winning creative works can be beneficial.
16Tell us something you have never told anyone else.
Always trust your instincts!
17Who has inspired you in your life and why?
I find continuous inspiration from skilled peers both in academia and the professional realm. Exploring exhibitions, engaging with creative design online, and reading articles are my means of encountering motivating design stimuli and staying informed about emerging technologies.
18What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?
I am a firm believer that success is driven by genuine interest and passion. It's essential to maintain a fervor for exploring novel pursuits and to be unafraid of diving into challenges with enthusiasm.

Winning Entry

Sink In Sync | 2023

SinkInSync | Tiange Wang and Xin Feng
People tend to synchronize heart rates, breathing and neural rhythms during intimate physical and emotional exchange, which in turn enhances their mutual ...
(read more at Vega Digital Awards)

Xin Feng

As a creative technologist/engineer at Meta Reality Labs, Xin Feng is passionate about using creative technology and design to improve individual well-being, focusing on health, cognition, emotion, and social relationships. Feng is particularly interested in connecting the physical and virtual worlds through XR and other modalities.

Read more about Xin Feng's interview for the 2023 MUSE Creative Awards!