1. Rio Akasaka

    A selfie at the Digital Arts Museum in Tokyo, Japan

  2. Rio is as Product Manager at Google currently working on Google Drive in Boulder. He was previously in Japan and Zurich as a PM on Maps and YouTube, as well as the Knowledge Sharing group at IDEO. His focus is on online-offline interaction, behavior change, and ways to redefine physical, social and linguistic barriers. His passion is largely around the use of carefully designed technology as enablers to changes in behavior, with humans as the driving force behind the interactions that form.

    He integrates his knowledge in electrical engineering and web design to create hybrid interactions and visualizations that promote new interpretations of old technology. His expertise is in rapid prototyping, user interface design, and web design.

    Rio was a MSCS graduate of the Human Computer Interaction program at Stanford University. He conducted research with Jeff Heer from the HCI Group working on "New Interfaces for Media Browsing" with Sony. He graduated from Swarthmore College with a B.S. in Engineering and a B.A. in Linguistics. He was born and raised in Switzerland and has lived in France, Brazil and Japan. He is a member in good standing with IEEE, BayCHI and UPA.

  3. 2016

    Moved to Google Boulder for role on Google Drive, currently overseeing Android, iOS and Web platform.


    Transitioned to Google Japan working with Google Maps and experimentation, analysis and logging.


    Graduated from Stanford University with MSCS, started at Google Zurich as full-time APM on YouTube, AdWords for video.


    Entered Masters HCI program at Stanford. Started Research Assistantship. Hacked at TechCrunch Hackathon.


    Graduated with BA Linguistics, BS Engineering from Swarthmore. Started work at VelQuest in Boston, MA.

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    • Talks

      Product School, Denver: Scaling Your Role as a PM in a Large Organization by Google PM Fall 2019

      Product Management Festival, Zurich: Building products with Empathy Fall 2017

    • Education

      Stanford University - Masters in Computer Science

      Swarthmore College - BS in Engineering, BA in Linguistics

    • Work Experience

      Google - APM, Product Manager

      IDEO- Intern

      Bill Lane Center - Research Assistant

      JustNear.me - Founder

      VelQuest Corporation - User Interface Engineer

    • Teaching Experience

      Introduction to Human Computer Interaction - Head Teaching Assistant, Fall 2011, Fall 2012

    • Honors and Awards

      Winner, IEEE EWIDE Education Proposal, June 2012.

      Recipient, Joshua Lippincott Fellowship, May 2011.

      Recipient, Sigma Xi Grants-in-Aid of Research, December 2010.

      Member, Tau Beta Pi National Engineering Honor Society.

      Associate Member, Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society.

      Recipient, Albert Vollmecke Engineering Service Award, Swarthmore College.

  4. This wrist-band uses flex sensors to capture signatures of wrist movements and runs Dynamic Time Warping in order to match. Because it doesn't run a sliding window comparison method, the response is slow and clunky. This was made during the 25 hours of the Science Day Hack Day between November 3-4, 2012. Watch the video or read about it on Wired.

  5. Haptico is a haptic compass iPhone application that vibrates when you're headed in the right direction, wherever that may be. Enter a location and then leave the phone in your pocket. Download it from the App Store

    • Turn to Clear Vision

      September 2012 - On the pier of San Francisco, coin-operated binoculars and telescopes stand waiting for visitors to peer through and "bring distant objects of interest within close range". As part of the Urban Prototyping Makeathon 6 strangers, I among them, reimagined this scenario by asking ourselves what it would be like if the object the viewer saw was not the thing the telescope was pointed at. Watch the video, read about it on Wired or check out the website.

    • MuseumTag

      March 2012 - After several weeks of needfinding and prototyping iterations, our d.school d.science team condensed our findings into "Museum aficionados need a way to keep track of exhibits they have interacted with at different museums because over time these experiences "become a blur"" and we developed prototypes around that point of view. View our final presentation or visit the website

    • Juxtapaper

      March 2012 - Many online activities that involve multiple steps, interpretation and analysis are confined to a virtual medium. Juxtapaper is a novel system that aims to bridge the physical/virtual divide by encouraging ownership of paper. Watch the video, read the report or check out the website.

    • Musical Stairs

      August 2011 - As a prank during our internship, we hacked together a musical stair using IR sensors and Arduinos. Assembly took about two weeks and the final product contains a track for piano sounds as well as clapping sounds. Watch the video, read the build log or see it on SparkFun

    • Pinolio

      September 2011 - Pinolio is a web-based software application that lets users make professional, customized web-bookmarks. Visit the website

    • Phare

      May 2011 - Phare is an ambient awareness globe made using frosted glass and Arduino Unos. It lets people communicate presence using wireless Internet-based communication - the first implementation used breathing and respiration from pairs of participants.

    • Synconnect

      March - May 2011 - Synconnect was an in-depth research project in human-computer interaction that considered the design space of online collaboration using a virtual ambient tool. A small desktop application for MacOS was developed to help signal partners on their engagement in a collaborative Google Docs task. Find out more

    • Notely

      January - March 2011 - Notely lets you leave virtual notes everywhere you go. Share experiences and memories, thoughts and reflections. Notely was selected to present at Stanford's first iOS App Showcase during the spring of 2011 and was also one of five selected class finalists. Check it out

    • TwitterDots

      January - May 2011 - TwitterDots maps recent tweets containing certain keywords to geographic locations using the Twitter Streaming API and a custom-coded geocoder. It was presented at HackDemocracy in San Francisco, the SF Data Visualization meetup group, as well as WhereCamp 2011. It was featured in infosthetics. Try it out or watch the talk (starting at 43:40)

    • WebEye

      March 2011 - The transfer of information from a computer to a mobile device is often relatively tedious, involving emails or typing long URLs. Current optical character recognition technology is relatively limited, but sufficient for simple things such as URLs. I developed an iPhone app that lets people snap photos of a URL and launch the resulting page. See the prototype

    • justnear.me

      January 2011 - - justnear.me is a social data content delivery platform based around QR codes. It was launched as a startup in March of 2011 and presented at Stanford BASES Product Showcase and WhereCamp 2011. It has since been adopted as part of a Stanford MS&E class curriculum on social data use. The service was discontinued in January of 2012. Check it out

    • SeeMyHistory

      February 2011 - - How might we encourage awareness in an activity we do almost automatically, every day? Using a mobile phone and tasked with using just color for representation, we developed an Android wallpaper application and companion webpage that lets people see their own browser history in terms of mood. Check it out

    • Respeak

      January 2011 - Respeak.me was the winner at the January Mashery Hackathon in San Francisco. It is a simple web application that lets people record messages with the simple press of a button, and have that same message saved and sent via email immediate or shared via Facebook or Twitter. Check it out

    • Protoviewer

      October - December 2010 - Protovis is a SVG-based JavaScript tool for rendering beautiful visualizations online. Protoviewer is an online visual design environment developed in order to facilitate development of visualizations, incorporating bug detection, automatic rendering, and visualization recommendations. The poster was accepted into SIGCHI 2011. Check it out

    • Foreign Accented Speech Transcription

      September - March 2009 - Automated speech transcription systems have a particularly difficult time transcribing speech from those who have foreign accents. Using a combination of the CSLU Foreign Accented Speech corpus and the George Mason University speech accent archive, I developed a Facebook game that would let individuals transcribe such speech in a fun and entertaining setting. The recordings are of foreign nationals speaking English or reading an English passage. Check it out

  6. You can read my blog, find me tweeting and on LinkedIn. I enjoy taking photographs and am available for occasional assistant photography roles for events and weddings.

    You can email me too at hello@rioakasaka.com.