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

Body-based interfaces integrate multi-modal sensing with interaction design and gesture recognition. We investigate body-based interfaces for human expression in computing, addressing ideation and play.
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.
Information-Based Ideation (IBI) is a a theory and methodology for investigating tasks and activities in which people develop new ideas, while digital content serves as support and stimulus.
People engaged in information-based ideation tasks curate— they collect, assemble, annotate, 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. It integrates rich media curation with web semantics and expressive annotation through text and sketching.
Web semantics describe and derive significant attributes and relationships of digital content. We develop and build on an innovative type system for deriving and presenting web semantics for diverse content —e.g., digital libraries, e-commerce, social media— to provide valuable context to users engaged in information-based ideation and curation.
Live media places bring together various media forms to support participatory shared experiences in online communities. We are designing tools to help people create more expressive and engaging live experiences in contexts such as online learning and games.

current 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.
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.
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.
TweetBubble is built with BigSemantics and the Metadata In-Context Expander.
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.

prior projects

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.
We designed digital games for Teaching Team Coordination (TeC). Through ethnography, we developed new understanding of and design principles for fire emergency response work practice. We invented Zero-Fidelity Simulation, a method that reproduces 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.
S.IM.PL is our open source initiative to augment popular programming languages for inter-operation. S.IM.PL Serialization, the foundation, provides a cross-language type system. This enables cross-language code generation, as well as de/serialization to XML and JSON. Object-Oriented Distributed Semantic Services (OODSS) simplifies building distributed applications and services, Message passing is encoded using S.IM.PL types, connecting iPhone, Android, Java, and .Net clients to Java and .Net servers. BigSemantics uses S.IM.PL.
Hurricane Recovery: Collecting Locative Media to Rebuild Local Knowledge We engaged in iterative, participatory design, reaching out to evacuee communities subsequent to Hurricane Katrina. 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.
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.