Project Arturo

Research and UI design for an AR zoo with holo­graphic animals. Group project, based on Holo Lens.


Zoos used to display the trophies of expansion and conquest. Now they inflict pain onto animals to satisfy human desire for novelty.

AR technology can improve this situation in the short run by replacing actual animals with holograms. The holographic zoos’ profits can also go to sanctuaries to support real animals. In the long run, holographic zoos have the potential to close the gap between human and nature.

Woodland Park Zoo

My group visited Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo, confirming our thesis: steel and concrete enclosures confined the animals, many in distress or discomfort.



Here are three works that had major influence on my design process and decisions.


Arturo transforms public spaces in the city into different biomes with holograms of their corresponding flora and fauna. A park can be the Peruvian forest for spring, then switch to being the Arctic in the summer.

The user is offered a city map overlaid with all the biomes (public spaces) in the city and can navigate to them.

UI Design


Spatial Meaning

While the world’s directions (north, south, etc.) are absolute and physical, humans’ directions (left, right, etc.) are relative and anchored to the torso’s orien­tation. More signi­ficantly, different socie­ties and cultures assign them different value pairs. A spatial interface can map its naviga­tion cues onto these value pairs.


Zero Point

With modernity came the rapid advance­ment of transportation technology. Cars and trains have mechanically reduced human space, resulting in a transcen­dental homelessness. Thus it is important to set up points of return, however arbitrary, in a heavily virtualized world.


Based on Distance

Screen-based UI

Repeats conventions. Meaning is conveyed graphically (absolute size/proximity). Interface is navigated by eye judgment.

Distance-based UI

True to 3D space. Meaning is conveyed spatially (depth/blur, relative size & elevation). Interface is navigated by body sensation.


Human Agency

Nature is savage and scary. We are vulnerable.
However, we have the ability to deal with it.

Presentation Video


I am Peiran Tan, a senior of visual communication design at the University of Washington. I am open for freelance and looking for a full-time job.

I believe good design brings relief, utility, and, if possible, beauty, into ordinary people’s lives.




My special thanks to Forma’s designer, David Jonathan Ross, who generously lets me use his typeface on a student license.