research

My practice across scientific research, design, and art involves the innovation, development, deployment, and evaluation of novel physical devices and interactive systems that advance our computing culture, encourage broad participation by non-experts within science and engineering, improve human health and well-being, and provoke critical debate and inquiry concerning our existing and emerging technological society.


As a computer scientist my research is focused within the area of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Design. My work focuses on the design, construction, deployment, and evaluation of software, hardware, and the physical, interactive experiences of these novel systems in real world settings. I employ user-centered design methods that ground my research in field observations, participatory studies, and interviews with actual user communities. More centrally, the work draws as much from computer science as from art, culture, and critical design theory.

My work has focused on several primary themes including Personal Telepresence (1994-2002), Urban Computing (2001-2008), Citizen Science (2006-2015), New Making Renaissance (2012-), and Fashioning Fashionables (2014-).

We highlight a selection of this work below.


Fashioning Fashionables

Beyond phones, watches, and activity tracking devices, a new ecosystem of functional and fashionable wearable technologies can easily, safely, and economically be designed, prototyped, and integrated directly on the skin. At only 38μm thick, these Epidermal Electronics offer entirely new levels of flexibility, comfort, customization, and integration of interactive electronics directly on the largest organ of the human body — the skin. We have developed a low cost fabrication method and set of design rules that can enable users to fabricate thin, flexible, wearable multifunctional electronics called Skintillates that easily attach to a user’s skin and seamlessly integrate into daily life. One novel element of our design is the first multilayer electronic tattoo. We have demonstrated Skintillate applications that integrate capacitive touch, strain gauges, LEDs, and interoperability with mobile phones. The work was featured prominently at the recent National Maker Faire where it received a Maker of Merit Award and writeup by NSF. We envision that these new, Epidermis Electronics and Cosmetic Computing devices will become part of a body worn ecosystem of devices (along with mobile phones, watches, etc) for health, fitness, social applications, and fashion.

  • Skintillates

    Beyond phones, watches, and activity tracking devices, a new ecosystem of functional and fashionable wearable technologies can easily, safely, and economically be designed, prototyped, and integrated directly on the skin. At only 38μm thick, these Epidermal Electronics offer entirely new levels of flexibility, comfort, customization, and integration of interactive electronics directly on the largest organ of the human body — the skin. In this paper we present a low cost fabrication method and set of design rules that can enable users to fabricate thin, flexible, wearable multifunctional electronics called Skintillates that easily attach to a user’s skin and seamlessly integrate into daily life. We introduce a range of fashionable and functional applications and designs for Skintillates within the landscape of existing wearable technologies. We highlight novel elements of our design including the first multilayer electronic tattoo and evaluate the durability and flexibility of these radically thin new epidermal electronics.

    Joanne Lo, Jung-Lin Lee, Nathan Wong, David Bui, Eric Paulos

    Full Paper Accepted: To Appear ACM DIS 2016

    Skintillates: Designing and Creating Epidermal Interactions from Eric Paulos on Vimeo.

  • Ebb

    We recently helped develop and patent new e-textile technology with Google as part of the Jacquard project. Our work focused on the development a highly efficient trifunction thread that can be used for visual output, shape-changing output, and sensing input. This thread consists of a dyeable (i.e. cotton, nylon) strand impregnated with thermochromic pigments, a heating element (i.e. copper, nichrome, shape-memory alloy), a sensing element (i.e. copper, nichrome, shape-memory-alloy), and a shape-changing element (i.e. shape-memory alloy). The thread is made more efficient and responsive than other designs by the careful application of several engineering principles. This trifunction thread can be used directly in common fabric manufacturing processes, and can enable (1) subtle, thread-level resolution thermochromic display, (2) capacitive sensing, and (3) change in shape and surface texture, in aesthetically pleasing clothing.

    This work is in collaboration with Ivan Poupyrev, Kimiko Ryokai, Joanne Lo, Laura Devendorf, Jung-Lin Lee, Nan-wei Gong, and Karen Robinson

     

    Ebb: Dynamic Textile Displays from Laura Devendorf on Vimeo.

    Full paper at CHI 2016 (Best Paper Award)


New Making Renaissance

The emerging ubiquity or low cost digital fabrication technologies such as 3D printing have disrupted the economic production and creative innovation of new objects in powerful and positive ways — a New Making Renaissance. This “maker movement” as it is often called, is radically transformative — effecting a broad range of fundamental and critical cultural themes such as education, manufacturing, healthcare, and the economy, to name just a few. One primary new element of this movement has been its ability to empower individuals and communities to imagine, design, collage, make, and share new, often interactive, physical artifacts and objects. This work explores new materials, multi-material printing techniques, direct inclusion of inline passive electrical components into the fabrication process, the creation of custom controls, buttons and knobs, the ability to control the interior design, geometry, mass, and deformation properties, and a focus on exterior texture and affordances. Thsi work also focuses on the development of new tools that allow broader participation into the design of objects using data as a first class making material and leveraging existing web metaphors such as styles, scripts, and direct manipulation.

Citizen Science

The citizen sciecne research reframes mobile phones as measurement instruments as tools to be used to empower everyday citizens to become participatory in collecting, sharing, and taking collective action based on crowd sourced data around public health and well being. This work spans numerous research efforts at Intel Research, Carnegie Mellon University, and UC Berkeley to build a body of work in this area. These participatory sensing and Citizen Science platforms explore a broad range of technologies and form factors resulting in over 20 publications at top tier conferences as well as book chapters, articles, a provisional patent, a best paper award, a best paper nomination, and an exhibition at the World Health Organization. Projects include the collection and visualization of air quality data from Accra, Ghana by students and taxicab drivers, deployment of air quality sensors onto San Francisco municipal street sweepers, indoor air quality research into sharing environmental data across social networks, persuasive displays for water conservation in public, private, and semi-public contexts, clothing that measures and expresses air quality, novel low-cost particle sensing technologies, environmental sensing integration into children’s toys, and designs for publicly accessible DNA sampling and bio-sensing. We also designed and deployed Sensr, a mobile phone based mobile citizen science campaign authoring framework that lowered the technical and financial barriers for individuals to author their own mobile data collection campaigns.

Urban Computing

Urban computing captures a unique, synergistic moment — expanding urban populations, rapid adoption of small, powerful, networked, mobile devices, tiny ad hoc sensor networks, and the widespread influence of wireless technologies across our growing urban landscapes. Urban computing strives to deconstruct elements of our emerging urban context, envision the possibilities for technology to participate in novel and compelling ways, and invent, deploy, and study new interactive systems, services, artifacts, and interactions within such urban landscapes. Urban computing focuses on our lifestyles and technologies within the context of public urban spaces. Its research challenges differ from those found within the home where technologies readily intermingle across our intimate relations with friends and family members. It diverges from office and work environments where productivity and efficiency often dominate our computing tools. It is also not simply concerned with mobile or social computing. Urban computing establishes an important new framework for deconstructing and analyzing technology and urban life across five research themes - people, place, infrastructure, architecture, and flow. The diversity of these important themes have promoted rich interdisciplinary research within the field of urban computing.

Personal Telepresence

Personal Telepresence focuses on a series of studies into the importance and form of a physical “body” for personal communication over a distance using internet based tele-robotics. This work went beyond traditional telepresence and video-conferencing studies and help found a field of internet based mobile, personal tele-operated systems.  Over a dozen tele-robots were designed and studied during this period (1994-2002). Most notably in included research on Blimps and PRoPs, two such systems co-developed with John Canny.  The challenges of this research were in identifying various “body” based communication cues, enabling their transmission and reception, and studying the results in user trials over a web based interface. Later the research focused on the design and construction of a series of second generation devices called Personal Roving Presences (PRoPs) that were simple, inexpensive, untethered, internet-controlled tele-robots with an onboard screen and a “hand” for gesturing and pointing. Numerous experiments demonstrated its value in providing freedom of movement for remote users as well as a reduction of errors in tasks involving remote instruction, demonstration, and collaboration. This original PRoP research pre-dates all existing internet based mobile telepresence systems and inspired many of them directly. The PRoPs research was the genesis of an entire industry of internet controlled mobile, personal tele-operated robotic systems used for remote expertise and communication.


RESEARCH

Below are a collection of research projects spanning a wide range of work over the past 23 years. This list is not complete but a section of that body of work.



OLDER LISTING ** STAND BY FOR UPDATE ***

 

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Living Environments Lab • a collaborative research laboratory focusing on the critical intersection of human life, our living planet, and technology

Urban Atmospheres• proactive archeology of our urban landscapes and emerging technology

Experimental Interaction Unit • research into the physical, aural, visual, gestural, and cultural interactions between humans and machines and the various permutations of those interactions

 

A description of elements of my research can be found by visiting the Living Environment Lab website. These is a (now dated) video of some of our work from 2009: Video Overview 2009

 

More unsorted projects ...


 
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Citizen Science
Enabling Participatory Urbanism

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z   Participatory Urbanism
Empowering citizens to collectively author, share, and remix measurments from their environment
  Objects of Wonderment
Something wonderful is coming to your city
  Exurban Noir
Designing for the darker side or urban life
  Metapolis and Urban Life
Workshop at UbiComp 2005
  UbiComp in the
Urban Frontier

Workshop at UbiComp 2004 
  Urban Probes
Interventions in Urban Life
   

Street Talk
An Urban Computing Happening

 

PRoPs: Personal Roving Presence

PRoP Intro Video (1999)

Intimate Computing

We are interested in understanding intimacy as a theme in ubiquitous computing research and its value to people. In particular creating tools that connect people in novel and meaningful ways and further promote the building and sustaining of relationships to groups and others.

Glyphs

Encoding data into interesting symbols

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Parallizing Impulse Based Dynamic Simulation

Computing impulse based dynamic simulation quickly and on a parallel architecture

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Robotics Lab

The original robotics lab I spent many years in before moving into Soda Hall.  I setup their first web server back in 1993 here.

On-Line Colision Avoidance
Using B-Splines

Project investigating using B-splines for robot control.

Assembly of a Model Airplane Engine

Project from back in 1993-4 to us the assembly of a small model engine as a test bed for RISC robotics

 

 

A RISC Distance Sensor

Another early project to make a simple, inexpensive accurate distance sensor in the spirit of RISC robotics

 

 

Implementation of RISC Workcell Tools

Ideas about all sorts of RISC workcell tools



RISC Peg-In-Hole Operations

Early work from 1992-3 on simple RISC based peg-n-hole operations

Moto Guzzi Gearbox Teardown (Feb 2002)

Timelapse video clip of me tearing my Moto Guzzi LeMans I apart in Feb 2002 to remove the gearbox.

Karl Sims'
Evolved Creatures

Video clip of work by Karl Sims (9MB MPEG)

Karl Sims'
Evolved Creatures

Video clip of work by Karl Sims (9MB MPEG)

Video of a Peg-In-Hole
Operation

RISC robotics Peg-in-hole clip from 1993 (MPEG)

Piston Pin

Video of Piston Pin assembly using RISC robotics (MPEG)

San Francisco

San Francisco video clip (MPEG)

Drunken Master

Video clip of Christian Ristow's walking machine I filmed back in 1996  (MPEG)

Smooth Hand

Simple video that has a special meaning to me (Windows Media)

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Survival Research Laboratories

Confrontational industrial dilemmas.  There are also pictures from the many years Mark and I created chaos here.

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Moto Guzzi

Wild project I undertook back in 1993-4 to rebuild one of my Moto Guzzi motorcycles from a completely disassembled state