top of page
DSC_3726 (1).jpg

Highly Customizable Presentation Control

CTRL works to decrease cognitive load on educators during lectures by streamlining the flow of presented content through a handheld device. It is a versatile and intuitive remote control device that allow teachers to access any commands in a classroom with a simple click !  


User Journey Map
Major Pain Points


Preparing Class Material:

  • Set up Zoom link

  • Create presentations and materials for demos


Set Up For Class

  • Open Zoom and configure audio / camera

  • Have digital material (browsers, presentations) ready to present

video-call (1).png

Beginning Of Class

  • Admit students from waiting room

  • Take attendance

  • Greet students


During Class:

  • Screenshare

  • Check Zoom to monitor student engagement

  • Check chat function

  • Call on Students

  • Check for raised hands

  • Write on paper and projector

  • Allow students to screenshare

  • Record zoom call

  • Breakout rooms


After Class:

  • Reflect on student learning outcomes

  • Upload in class teaching contents

User Stories

" Well, you can see I need a better solution for this. "

"Anything to reduce dead time in lecture, whether it be showing MitX or Slack, would be great "


Simona Socrate

Senior lecturer at MIT 
Typically chalkboard lectures
Uses MitX, Slack, Piazza

"I'd love to be able to seamlessly switch between my PowerPoint and Google Slides, both in presenter mode already"


Melissa Webster

Lecturer at MIT
Typically PowerPoint lectures
Uses PowerPoint, Google Slides

Initial Ideation

2022-09-01 19_48_53-Copy of old demo.pptx  -  Protected View - PowerPoint.png
2022-09-01 19_49_07-Copy of old demo.pptx  -  Protected View - PowerPoint.png

Whiteboard Tablet

Versatile/Portable Camera

Seamless sharing of written material and intuitive control with physical interfaces

Hassle-free mounting, seamless software

Software To Improve Engagement

Situational awareness of mood of classroom

button panel.608.jpg

Teaching Assistant Device

Offers a series of shortcut keys that allow teachers to access files and online programs during class.

Market Research

2022-09-02 12_49_46-iTeach.pptx  -  Protected View - PowerPoint.png

Design Opportunity

The current Elgato SD stream deck is a tool catered specifically to gamers and online content creators. Though it is highly customizable, it lacks any specific functionality and are not as accessible to non-tech savvy users. However, if we cater this concept to 

 teachers and lecturers in a physical classroom and create an ecosystem where class preparation, button setup, real-time control directly corresponds to teachers' workflow, it will become a very competitive product in the education sector.

2022-09-02 13_43_59-Sprint 3 PDD Team 10_ Mobile Pixel_Version 2.pptx  -  Protected View -

Prototyping Process

Working Models

2022-09-02 13_43_59-Sprint 3 PDD Team 10_ Mobile Pixel_Version 2.pptx  -  Protected View -

Design considerations

The working model assesses the feasibility of wired/wireless communication with the computer. The prototype allows users to interface with the LCD screens and execute computer interface commands. It also helped to narrow down compatible electronic components (LCD screens, buttons with different feedbacks, batteries, and etc..)

Preliminary Look-Like Models


Design considerations


The preliminary concepts explore several form factors , including stationary design on work surface, peripheral devices mounted on computers, and handheld designs that allow mobility around classroom. They also showcase different configurations of a rotary wheel and varying number of buttons.

User Testing on look-like models

We wanted to gain insights on the functionality and form factors of the physical features. Users we interviewed said that 

Maximum of 4 buttons for a hand held device
Screens on the buttons provide clarity to their functions
One screen should communicate "mode"

Refined Models

Design considerations

The refined model aims to incorporate all available technical capabilities, functional needs, form considerations into an integrated model. The mechanical design aims to construct the chasis that houses the computing components and supports the interactions among LCD screens, a rotary encoder, and the switches.

2022-09-02 14_13_56-.png
2022-04-24 15_15_44-SOLIDWORKS Student Edition - Academic Use Only - [iTeach Assembly.SLDA
2022-04-24 15_08_28-SOLIDWORKS Student Edition - Academic Use Only - [iTeach Assembly.SLDA

Rotary Encoder

The construction of the rotary encoder ensures static directionality of the circular LCD screen even while the rotary encoder is being rotated during the selection process. In addition, the housing is modular to support easy disassembly and effective troubleshooting.


User Flow Of The Rotary Encoder

In order to incorporate more functionalities and flexibility to our product, we introduced the screen-mounted rotary encoder into our design. As shown by the video on the left, the rotary encoder conveniently allows users to navigate through pages of features, folders, and subjects without sacrificing additional "next" and "back" buttons.

User Testing On Refined Model

We wanted to further validate our design decisions, such as whether the device should be stationary or hand-held, whether the displays should be colored or black and white; and how to seamlessly transition between computer UI and device UI.

Decreases cognitive load

Seamless transition between computer and device UI




Integrate into current teaching flow

Buttons organized by class

User Feedback On Refined Model

Users interacted with the model as part of the interview. Details from these feedback informed the changes made for the alpha model. Some highlights include:


Form Factors: All users agreed that the model was too chunky, it is better to be handheld.

Screens: Mixed opinions about the screen, they provide good visual aids, but it might become less useful during operation

Quantity of Touchpoints: Users converged on "no more than four" buttons, and "simpler is better".


Final Prototype sketch

Based on the user feedbacks and the concluded use cases, we arrived at a handheld smart control device with four customizable control buttons and a function category selection display that helps navigate between pages.

Ergonomic Testing

We experimented with several different button configurations to test out comfortability, accessibility to buttons, low cognitive load while operating, and visibility of button screens.


Indicator Color Lights

Additional handle for ergonomic support


Scroll Wheel

LCD Button

We performed ergonomic testing on the 3d-printed model. Based on the user feedbacks we collected, we understood that :

  • the device can be shorter while supporting the hand

  • The buttons can be much larger

  • The LCD buttons can be moved up more

  • The device could be ambidextrous

control new render.634.jpg

Device UI Development

Device UI Development

Idea #1

Teachers map specific class activities, resources, control shortcuts onto the button panel. Buttons are designed based on the curriculum of the day. Each day a teacher may have a different button panel. For example, the teacher may plan the buttons in accordance with their daily plans on Canvas.

Course materials: powerpoints, videos, links...

Shortcut control, including zoom controls, connecting external devices

Preset controls for timers, polls, divide into breakout rooms or subgroups.

Idea #2

Default buttons are set up at the beginning and rarely changed, such as a set of commonly used zoom controls, folders, and recent opened file history.

2022-04-14 23_53_24-Page 1 - PDD Mobile Pixel UI - Figma.png


2022-04-14 23_53_40-Page 1 - PDD Mobile Pixel UI - Figma.png


2022-04-14 23_53_34-Page 1 - PDD Mobile Pixel UI - Figma.png


2022-04-14 23_53_48-Page 1 - PDD Mobile Pixel UI - Figma.png


Idea #3

The features are organized into a menu of feature categories and mapped onto the button panels.

2022-04-15 00_06_47-Page 1 - PDD Mobile Pixel UI - Figma.png
2022-04-15 00_07_43-Page 1 - PDD Mobile Pixel UI - Figma.png
2022-04-15 00_07_51-Page 1 - PDD Mobile Pixel UI - Figma.png
2022-04-15 00_07_59-Page 1 - PDD Mobile Pixel UI - Figma.png
2022-04-15 00_08_07-Page 1 - PDD Mobile Pixel UI - Figma.png
DSC_3726 (1)_edited.jpg

Final Design


Highly Customizable Presentation Control

The most versatile and intuitive remote control device that allows teachers to access any commands in a classroom with a simple click!

DSC_3726 (1).jpg

Better Control Over Your Lecture

control new render.635.jpg

User Flow: Set Up Button Features

Andy is a college professor. For a typical class, Andy usually prepares a Google Slides presentation, a video in mp4 format, and some reference websites. He also set up zoom for hybrid class mode.

video-call (1).png
2022-12-23 23_59_32-Computer UI - PDD Mobile Pixel UI - Figma.png
IMG_1192 (1).JPG
2022-12-24 00_12_49-PDD Mobile Pixel UI - Figma.png
2022-12-23 23_59_32-Computer UI - PDD Mobile Pixel UI - Figma.png

Preset button features for the ctrl device

Button features mapped onto the device preview

User Flow: Upload Features On Deck

After setting up the buttons through the CTRL software, Andy can then upload the commands onto the device through the USB port.

2022-12-23 23_59_32-Computer UI - PDD Mobile Pixel UI - Figma.png
control new render.21.jpg

Function Scalability

2022-12-24 13_29_59-PowerPoint Slide Show  -  Sprint 4 PDD Team 10.pptx.png

Load Button Templates
Load a set of pre-programmed functions based on subjects and applications

Modify Templates
Swap out functions based on needs; Organize button hierarchy within templates

Custom Functions
Create custom macro functions from scratch

User Flow: Physical Device Interface

Select Commands

Choose Class Profile Through The Rotary Encoder

After uploading the commands, Andy is able to access a variety of commands through the rotary wheel and e-ink display.

Press Home

Clicking Through Presentation

Trigger A Video

Exploded View

alpha model.628.jpg

LCD Screen Cover

Top Casing

1.28 in Round LCD Screen

Rotary Wheel

LCD Bracket

Rotary Encoder

Bottom Casing

Clicker Button

LED Color-Change Buttons

Home Button

E-Ink Display

Clickable Switches

PCB Mounting Board

control new render.14.jpg

Product Specs

Specification Description


Battery Life

13 hours of continuous use

Charging Method

USB Cable

Required Onboard Processing

Minimal (processing on computer)

OS Compatibility

Windows +Mac OS



Additional Feature Specifications

Icon display through e-ink screens and LCDs rotary wheel through rotary encoder



MIT Sloan Business School | MIT Engineering School | RISD Industrial Design
Team Members: Adam Barber; Cole Maisonpierre; Danning Liang; Sophia Leon Guerrero; Ava LaRocca; Allan Law; Nishant Pandey

bottom of page