Dr. Lomas, J. D.

Assistant Professor


J. Derek Lomas lives in Amsterdam with his wife and three children. He has a degree in Cognitive Science (Yale University, BA, '03), Social Design (UC San Diego, MFA, 2009) and Human-Computer Interaction (Carnegie Mellon, PhD, 2014) with a certification in Interdisciplinary Education Research (Institute of Education Sciences, 2014).  He received his postdoctoral training at the UC San Diego Design Lab with Dr. Donald Norman in 2015-2016.


Lomas has produced over 40 learning and assessment games that have been played by millions of children. His design consultancy, "Playpower Labs", provides UX design, data science and software development services.


  • NeuroUX: Research software for mobile cognitive assessment and experience sampling. Game-based assessment of executive functions (working memory, inhibition control, cognitive flexibility, processing speed, etc). Used by psychiatric researchers at UC San Diego, UT Austin, U Miami and Brown University.
  • Zensus: An interactive system that lets doctors schedule “wellness check-ins” to patient mobile phones. This allows for data collection about patient wellbeing to support data-informed improvement.
  • FactFlow: A parent-child system that uses AI to help continuously improve math fact fluency.
  • Vibe Research Labs: Combines Science, Design and Artificial Intelligence to explore new possibilities in positive human experiences. Dutch Design Week, 2019
  • Musical Mind Reading: Using 1000hz 128-channel EEG and machine learning to predict the music people are listening.


  • Social Innovation Fellowship (PopTech)
  • Digital Media and Learning grant (MacArthur Foundation)
  • National STEM Game Competition (Sesame Workshop & White House)
  • Alumni of the Techstars startup incubator (NYC-Kaplan)
  • McGinnis Business Plan Competition Winner (Carnegie Mellon)
  • App Gap Challenge (NYC Department of Education)

Secondary employment

Director/Board Member/Associate/Partner/Owner - Playpower Labs, Inc