ECL Speaker Series

Integrating Interactive Devices with the Body

Speaker: Pedro Lopes
Date: 10/2/2021
When we look back to the early days of computing, user and device were distant, often located in separate rooms. Then, in the ’70s, personal computers “moved in” with users. In the ’90s, mobile devices moved computing into users’ pockets. More recently, wearable devices brought computing into constant physical contact with the user’s skin. These transitions proved useful: moving closer to users allowed interactive devices to sense more of their user and act more personal. The main question that drives my research is: what is the next interface paradigm that supersedes wearable devices?
The primary way researchers have been investigating this is by asking where future interactive devices will be located with respect to the user’s body. Many posit that the next generation of interfaces will be implanted inside the user’s body. However, I argue that their location with respect to the user’s body is not the primary factor; in fact, implanted devices are already happening in that we have pacemakers, insulin pumps, etc. Instead, I argue that the key factor is how will devices integrate with the user’s biological senses and actuators.
This body-device integration allows us to engineer interactive devices that intentionally borrow parts of the body for input and output, rather than adding more technology to the body. For example, one such type of body-integrated devices, which I have advanced during my PhD, are interactive systems based on electrical muscle stimulation; these are able to move their user’s muscles using computer-controlled electrical impulses, achieving the functionality of exoskeletons without the bulky motors. Their smaller size, a consequence of this integration with the user’s body, enabled haptic feedback in scenarios previously not possible with existing devices.
In my research group, we engineer interactive devices that integrate directly with the user’s body. We believe that these types of devices are the natural succession to wearable interfaces and allow us to investigate how interfaces will connect to our bodies in a more direct and personal way.

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Pedro Lopes is an Assistant Professor in Computer Science at the University of Chicago, where he leads the Human Computer Integration lab. Pedro focuses on integrating computer interfaces with the human body—exploring the interface paradigm that supersedes wearable computing. Some of these new integrated-devices include: a device based on muscle stimulation that allows users to manipulate tools they have never seen before or that accelerate their reaction time, or a device that leverages the sense of smell to create an illusion of temperature. Pedro’s work is published at top-tier conferences (ACM CHI, ACM UIST, Cerebral Cortex). Pedro has received three Best Paper awards, two Best Paper nominations and several Best Talk/Demo/Video awards. Pedro’s work also captured the interest of media, such as New York Times, MIT Technology Review, NBC, Discovery Channel, NewScientist, Wired and has been shown at Ars Electronica and World Economic Forum (More:

Vision Augmentation: How see-through displays could overwrite our visual world via computation?

Speaker: Yuta Itoh
Date: 26/1/2021
In this talk, I present our works on augmenting and enhancing our visual capability via augmented reality technology. Adding virtual information indistinguishable from reality has been a long-awaited goal in Augmented Reality (AR). While already demonstrated in the 1960ies, only recently optical see-through displays have seen a reemergence. Our group explores augmented vision, a subarea of human augmentation, that aims to assist our visual perception via AR displays. Keywords include augmented reality, human augmentation, see-through displays, and eye-tracking.

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Yuta Itoh is an Assistant Professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan. His research interest is in vision augmentation, which supports and enhances human vision via augmented reality technology, including see-through near-eye displays. He received his Dr. rer. nat. from the Technical University of Munich in 2016. Before joining the university, he worked as a project assistant professor at Keio University (2016-2017). He was a research engineer at Multimedia Lab. in Toshiba Corp. (2011-2013).

Soli: Millimeter-wave radar for touchless interaction

Speaker: Jaime Lien
Date: 13/1/2021
Google’s Pixel 4 launched in fall 2019 with the first radar ever integrated into a smartphone, enabling gesture and presence sensing for new modes of user interaction. These sensing capabilities are powered by Soli, a miniaturized radar system designed and developed specifically for touchless interaction at Google Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP).
In this talk, we discuss Soli’s development and productization path, from concept to core R&D to integration into Pixel 4. We highlight the tightly intertwined co-design of core radar technology, algorithms, and interaction design in Soli’s development, driven by requirements for a ubiquitous and scalable human sensing technology. We also discuss some of Soli’s new approaches and innovations in radar systems, signal processing, machine learning, and interaction design in order to enable a new modality for sensory perception.
In the second part of the talk, we cover some of the technical challenges faced in integrating Soli radar into the Pixel 4 smartphone, including chip size and placement, power consumption, and interference. We discuss how our cross-disciplinary approaches to these challenges ultimately enabled Soli to successfully ship in the phone.
Finally, we close with future-looking directions for radar in consumer devices. By capturing the sensitivity and precision of human movements in everyday user interfaces, we believe scalable millimeter-wave radar has the potential to revolutionize the way we interact with technology.

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Dr. Jaime Lien is the Lead Radar Research Engineer of Project Soli at Google Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP). She leads a technical team developing novel radar sensing techniques and systems for human perception and interaction. Soli radar technology has enabled new modes of touchless interaction in consumer wearables and devices, including Google’s Pixel 4 and the Nest Thermostat. Prior to Google, Dr. Lien worked as a communications engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Stanford University, where her research focused on interferometric synthetic aperture radar theory and techniques. She obtained her bachelor's and Master’s degrees in electrical engineering from MIT. Her current research interests include radar signal processing and sensing algorithms; modeling and analysis of the underlying RF physics; and inference on radar data.

Marvin or Terminator? The role of empathy in depression and aggression

Speaker: Alexander Sumich
Date: 1/12/2020
Empathy, the capacity to share emotions or viewpoints of others to attain interpersonal reciprocity, can be a double-edged sword in relation to psychological wellbeing. Affective empathy is implicated as a mechanism inhibiting maladaptive aggression, yet dysregulated sharing of another’s emotional pain can exacerbate depression. On the other hand, being able to understand someone else’s emotions (without necessarily feeling them) or appreciating other perspectives (requiring cognitive flexibility) is the cornerstone of psychological resilience, protecting from both depressive and antisocial disorders.
The current talk presents on some of the work from our lab on the role of empathy in depression and interpersonal aggression, and underpinning biological mechanisms (blood, guts and brains). Closely linked with this is the personality construct of psychopathy which is typically associated with poor empathy and increased risk for aggression. However, what happens when psychopathy meets empathy? We have discovered a novel psychological construct characterised by high empathy and dark traits: the Dark Empath which will be described relative to personality, aggression, and wellbeing.

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Dr Alex Sumich completed his initial training in Psychology at University of Auckland and doctoral studies at Kings College London, Institute of Psychiatry. Currently, he is Associate Professor at Nottingham Trent University and Adjunct Professor at Auckland University of Technology. He leads the Affect, Personality and Embodied Brain Research Group, in the Centre for Behavioural Research Methods. His work investigates cognitive and affective traits that influence our behaviour, particularly regarding biological underpinnings and application to understanding and treating psychopathology.

Combining BCI with Virtual/Augmented Reality: toward hybrid technologies and novel immersive applications

Speaker: Anatole Lécuyer
Date: 23/11/2020
In this talk we will present our research path on Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCI). We will first evoke the great success of OpenViBE, a software dedicated to BCI research used today all over the world, notably with VR systems. Then, we will illustrate how BCI and virtual reality technologies can be combined to design novel 3D interactions and effective applications, e.g. for health, sport, entertainment, or training.

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Anatole Lécuyer is Senior Researcher and Head of Hybrid research team, at Inria, the French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control, in Rennes, France. His research interests include virtual reality, haptic interaction, 3D user interfaces, and brain-computer interfaces. He regularly serves as expert in Virtual Reality and BCI for public bodies such as European Commission (EC), European Research Council (ERC), or French National Research Agency (ANR).
He is currently Associate Editor of "IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics", “Frontiers in Virtual Reality” and “Presence” journals. He was Program Chair of IEEE Virtual Reality Conference (2015-2016) and General Chair of IEEE Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality (2017) and IEEE Symposium on 3D User Interfaces (2012-2013). He is author or co-author of more than 200 scientific publications. Anatole Lécuyer obtained the Inria-French Academy of Sciences Young Researcher Prize in 2013, and the IEEE VGTC Technical Achievement Award in Virtual/Augmented Reality in 2019 .

A New Vision for a Better Reality

Speaker: Thomas Furness
Date: 13/11/2020
Virtual reality is emerging as a vital teaching tool of our age. Much of the seminal research in this field has been led by UW Professor Tom Furness over the 54 years of his professional career. As an original pioneer of virtual and augmented reality technology Tom is widely known as the ‘grandfather’ of virtual reality. In his talk Tom will share the lessons learned during the development of VR and its application. He will focus on the need for reimagining education and his efforts to create a new learning environment for home through the Virtual World Society.

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Tom Furness is an amalgam of Professor, Inventor and Entrepreneur in a professional career that spans 54 years. In addition to his contributions in photonics, electro-optics, and human interface technology, he is an original pioneer of virtual and augmented reality technology and widely known as the ‘grandfather’ of virtual reality. Tom is currently a professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering with adjunct professorships in Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Human Centered Design and Engineering at the University of Washington (UW), Seattle, Washington, USA. He is the founder of the family of Human Interface Technology Laboratories at the University of Washington, Christchurch, New Zealand and Tasmania, Australia. He is the founder and chairman of the Virtual World Society, a non-profit for extending virtual reality as a learning system for families and other humanitarian applications. His current research interests include exploring the functionality of peripheral vision at large eccentricities and investigations into photon emission from the retina. Tom and his students/colleagues have spun off 27 companies with an aggregate market capitalization of ~$10B. He is a Fellow of the IEEE.

Novel Uses of Neurophysiological Signals in Extended Reality

Speaker: Arindam Dey
Date: 16/10/2020
This talk will present a few novel ways in which neurological sensors (e.g. EEG) and physiological sensors (e.g. ECG and GSR) are used in extended reality in both collaborative and single-user setups. I will present how our research has used these neurophysiological signals to measure performances, enabling empathy, and performing interaction in virtual environments.

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Arindam is a Lecturer in the Human-Centred Computing Group of the University of Queensland's School of ITEE, primarily focusing on Mixed Reality, Empathic Computing, and Human-Computer Interaction. He is co-directing Empathic XR and Pervasive Computing Laboratory and is a proponent of "for good" research with these technologies and aiming to create positive societal impact.

Building bonds with robots and digital companions

Speaker: Elizabeth Broadbent
Date: 2/10/2020
Robots and digital humans are starting to be used for conversations in social, health, and business applications. It is important that rapport is built during these conversations, especially in healthcare contexts. This talk will look at some techniques that may build rapport as well as some barriers that need to be overcome.

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Elizabeth Broadbent is a Professor in Health Psychology in the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. She obtained an honours degree in electrical and electronic engineering from Canterbury University to pursue her interest in making personal robots. After becoming interested in psychoneuroimmunology, she obtained her MSc and PhD degrees in health psychology from the University of Auckland. She now combines her health psychology and robotics interests to study healthcare robotics. Elizabeth is a Vice Chair of the multidisciplinary CARES robotics group. In 2010, Elizabeth was a visiting academic at the School of Psychology at Harvard University and in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, USA. In 2017, she obtained a Fulbright award to return to Boston to conduct further research on companion robots.

Superception - Engineering the sense of self

Speaker: Shunichi Kasahara
Date: 23/9/2020
Perception refers to recognizing meaning and organizing it into information via the inputs of sensory organs such as eyes, ears and somatosensory organs, as a basis for actions and constructing the self. How we can leverage our own perceptual ability and emerging technologies to overcome our intrinsic limitation of our own body? I am leading Superception: a research framework that makes it possible to expand, transform, and engineering human perception and cognition by intervening in human sensory input and output using computer technology. In this talk, I will present my recent work for engineering sense of self with technologies including Virtual Reality, EMS (electrical muscle stimulation), Projection mapping. I will also introduce current and future directions for augmenting the sense of self.

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Dr. Kasahara is a researcher, Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc., and a project Assistant Professor, Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, The University of Tokyo. He joined Sony Corporation in 2008. work as an affiliate researcher at MIT media lab in 2012, then he joined Sony CSL in 2014. He received his Ph.D in Interdisciplinary Information Studies from the University of Tokyo in 2017 He is leading “Superception” research: computational control and extension of human perception in SonyCSL.

Beyond AR / VR / HCI - Augmenting Humans?

Speaker: Kai Kunze
Date: 4/9/2020
This talk discusses potential ideas beyond traditional AR/VR/HCI fields, starting with an overview of wearable computing with a focus on smart eyewear, starting from interaction techniques, moving over topics of interpersonal synchrony, towards ideas on body schema extensions and embodied learning to steering collective attention. Finally, I will introduce a couple of application cases extending our work towards Augmented Sports and Augmented Humans.

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With over 20 years of experience in Wearable Computing research, Kai Kunze works as Professor at the Graduate School of Media Design, Keio University, Yokohama, Japan. Beforehand, he held an Assistant Professorship at Osaka Prefecture University, Osaka. He received a Summa Cum Laude for his Ph.D. thesis from Passau University. His work experience includes research visits/internships at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), MIT Media Lab, Sunlabs Europe, and the German Stock Exchange.

Human Factors: Automation, Trust and Cognitive Load

Speaker: Andreas Duenser
Date: 21/8/2020
This talk presents some of our work on Human Factors for health, safety and efficiency in critical task environments. Specifically, we are studying the relationship between systems (automation, decision support, AI/ML), human trust in these systems and cognitive load of system operators. Automation and autonomous systems, ranging from robotics, to decision support and other AI?
ML based systems, are playing an increasingly important role in our lives. Our work aims at informing the design of such systems to improve human-system interaction and collaboration. automation, can assist human operators in performing their work, help reduce workload (in particular cognitive load) and allow the operator to attend to important tasks at hand. However, in order to be able to rely on these systems, the operators have to trust that they perform accurately.
Problems may arise when undue over-trust or under-trust are exhibited by the operators. Developing a better understanding of how people build and calibrate trust and being able to measure the amount of trust they put in a system could allow us to better manage their expectations and improve their interaction with and reliance on a system.

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