About this site

This site is all about play. Not playing the flute or playing the market or the play in your Chevy’s front-end. Nope. Play technology; play research; and playful design, user experiences & human computer interfaces (what I call Playful Media). You might think you’d see lots of material about children or video games, but — eh, not so much.

“Play will be to the 21st century what work was to the industrial age — our dominant way of knowing, doing and creating value.” —Pat Kane, The Play Ethic

About the name

If you turned to page 63 of The Nature of Play: Great Apes and Humans you’d find photos of two brothers taking turns throwing each other off a dock into a lake. Below the photos you’d also find a caption detailing this rough-and-tumble play. If you read the caption to its conclusion, you’d see that it ends simply with this: “Note the smile. Upon finding it hilarious that academics took the effort to point this out1, I later shared this anecdote at a party. My good friend Len dashed away and soon returned with the virtual gift of having registered the name of what is now this site.

About me

I’m Mike Karlesky. Nice to meet you. I’m a person of carny folk height. A lefty who’s basically ambidextrous. A lover of the word topiary and the Back to the Future trilogy. A juggler. A former triathlete. A degreed geek. An occasional imitator of Dr. Bunsen Honeydew’s assistant Beaker. And proprietor of this here site.

I am pursuing a doctorate at NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering, working with Dr. Katherine Isbister. I’ll be exploring the ideas of Note the Smile full time (but since nobody is exactly working in this area I’ll just be making it up as I go along).

For a taste of my very finest geekery, order off the menu at my portfolio. If you’re so inclined, you can follow me on the twitters: @mikekarlesky. I’m also a part-time mad scientist at the testing/programming site Throw the Switch!

1. In reality, smiles are key play signals. They’re especially worth highlighting in rough-and-tumble play where physical force could be mistaken for aggression.