The Interface Ecology Lab fosters integrative research projects spanning hardware, software, and theory, producing natural user interfaces, creativity support environments, games, interaction techniques, visualization algorithms, semantics, programming languages, interactive installations, and evaluation methodologies.

research areas

Information-Based Ideation (IBI) is an approach to investigating tasks and activities in which people develop new ideas, while digital content serves as support and stimulus.
People engaged in ideation tasks curate— they collect, assemble, write, sketch, and exhibit.
Free-form web curation is a spontaneous, improvisational, and divergent creative process that involves choosing elements, sketching, and writing, and assembling them spatially. Free-form web curation is non-linear and unrestricted, breaking out of lists and grids to support the synthesis and emergence of diverse ideas.
Body-based interaction: integrate multi-modal sensing with interface design and gesture recognition. We investigate body-based action for human expression in computing, addressing ideation and play.
Live media places bring together various media forms to support participatory shared experiences in online communities. We designing tools to help people create more expressive and engaging live experiences in contexts such as online learning and games.
Games and Play are fun and creative forms of human experience. We study emerging culture and media surrounding game play. We investigate game design through play, culture, interface, and media perspectives.
Web semantics describe and derive significant attributes and relationships of digital content. We design an innovative type system for deriving and presenting web semantics for diverse content —e.g., digital libraries, e-commerce, social media— to provide context to users engaged in information-based ideation and curation.

current projects

LiveMâché is our current design curation probe. This art-inspired web app provides live, collaborative capabilities for collecting and organizing content, along with writing, sketching, chat, and live streaming video.

prior projects

The Art.CHI installation provides a movement-based, spatial and visual interface for navigating a multi-scale information composition, which holistically represents an online art gallery.
IdeaMâché is our previous web app that uses free-form web curation as a medium of expression. Curation is the process of creating and assembling information in meaningful exhibits, for people to think about.
We designed digital games for Teaching Team Coordination (TeC). We investigated fire emergency response work practice and derived implications for design. We invented Zero-Fidelity Simulation, a method to reproduce communication and information distribution from target environments, to produce engaging, cost-effective education. Our simulations map real-world actions to game mechanics: players work together to achieve goals and avoid hazards.
ZeroTouch is a high performance multi-point sensor that detects visual hulls, within a plane. Applications include free-air interaction, person tracking in rooms, automobile windshields, hover sensing (e.g., over capacitive multi-touch), and multi-touch.
TweetBubble is a Chrome extension that helps Twitter users engage in exploratory browsing, by following associational chains of tweets through #hashtags and @users. Our study show this increases the variety of content people explore,which helps you develop multiple perspectives on a topic. TweetBubble makes browsing a more fun and fluid experience.
Cross-surface interaction addresses moving information objects across multi-display environments that support sensory interaction modalities such as touch, pen, and free-air. It is characterized by user experiences of continuously manipulating information across interactive surfaces, providing a sense of connection.
Hurricane Recovery: Collecting Locative Media to Rebuild Local Knowledge We engaged in iterative, participatory design, reaching out to Hurricane Katrina evacuee communities. We gathering information about needs and desires, building situated semantics and a locative media collection sensemaking system. Digital photographs were connected with GPS sensor data, semantics, a zoomable map interface, and an image clustering algorithm.
BigSemantics is an open source software architecture and language for developing applications that present interactive web semantics. Developers author wrappers to create semantic types, while inheriting from existing types. The wrapper repository provides types for common web resources. BigSemantics includes the Metadata In-Context Expander (MICE), an example HTML5 component for exploring linked web semantics in one context.
Test Collection aggregated a set of documents, a clearly formed problem that an algorithm is supposed to provide solutions to, and the answers that the algorithm should produce when executed on the documents. The Test Collection Digital Library System enables collecting and labeling documents, and publishing.