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Sensory Perception and Interaction Research

Karon MacLean < >
SPIN, Dept. of Computer Science University of British Columbia

June 8, 2005 at  4:30 PM
Zames Seminar Room - MC437

Computers give us access to and control over data and machines, but they have also taken away the tangible handles our bodies evolved with.

My research's larger goal is to restore physicality to computer interaction. In many cases, this means taking it away from the desktop and embedding it in the world at its most natural point of use. I use haptic (touch sense) force feedback as part of a multi-sensory HCI design toolbox, and apply design techniques to real problems and contexts to better understand physical feedback's ideal role. The applications I've found most exciting to date are those that require continuous and/or expressive control or navigation - e.g. manipulating streaming media, drawing and sculpting, controlling musical instruments, affective displays, and computer-mediated interpersonal affective communication. Other promising areas are those where other senses are over-utilized (like driving), or a system is being monitored with low attention (the pager of the future).

Here I am extending the themes uncovered in my past work: develop the haptic language which will be the basis of our physical communication with computers, devise better ways of quantifying and evaluating physical and multi-sensory interfaces, and build small, lower-power mechanisms that can be embedded anywhere there is a micro to drive them."