Next Generation Technology: Human Computer Interaction S13 Ep26

Guest: Chris Harrison

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When I was a software engineer, one area of importance was the design and testing of user interfaces. The work was frustrating because you had to decipher what the user was “thinking” to understand how they would use your software. Over the years, the research has taken on the challenges of human computer interaction with next generation technology.

Our guest today, Dr. Chris Harrison from Carnegie Mellow University, is the Assistant Professor of Human Computer Interaction at Carnegie Mellon University. While this is his work today, his Master's research thesis was in understanding if a persons activities (timeline) could be used to better organize documents. This idea of improving human computer interaction around documents led to his PhD research that focused on next generation technology around touch.

Human Computer Interaction

In addition to his own research area, he also oversees the Future Interfaces Group (FIG) as CMU. The mission and purpose of FIG is:

This work goes beyond the technology of touch to also include the psychology and human response to find better ways to allow next generation technology to be a tool that is easier to use and benefit from.

Next Generation Technology: Electrick

Electrik is focused on bringing touch to volume and shapes not achievable with today's technology. By using a “poor conducting” paint, this solution allows you to easily enable touch interfaces and interactions on all kinds of surfaces such as car steering wheels, table tops, toys, etc.

One immediate application for this new technology is in the area of “fast prototyping“. You can now create a 3D printer prototype, apply Electrick and create the interaction experience of the prototype .. all with hours or days rather than months.

Next Generation Technology: Infobulb (light bulb 2.0)

Chris also shared his work on bringing touch interaction to any surface without the need for special treatment. His vision is to create the next generation light bulb, what he is calling infobulb. It deliver information in addition to light. The surface that the lift falls on creating a new kind of human computer interaction. The surface becomes touch enabled. To learn more, check out Chris's intervew over at TechRepublic.

Listen to the interview below for the full backstory on these next generation technologies and innovations …

About Chris Harrison:

Chris Harrison is an Assistant Professor of Human-Computer Interaction at Carnegie Mellon University. He broadly investigates novel sensing technologies and interaction techniques, especially those that empower people to interact with small devices in big ways. He has been named:

  • Top 30 scientist under 30 by Forbes
  • Top 35 innovator under 35 by MIT Technology Review
  • A Young Scientist by the World Economic Forum
  • One of six innovators to watch by Smithsonian

Last year, his lab won a Fast Company Innovation by Design Award for their work on EM-Sense. Chris has also been awarded fellowships by the Packard Foundation, Google, Qualcomm and Microsoft Research.

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