Colloquium Details

Interacting with Small Devices in Big Ways

Speaker: Chris Harrison, Carnegie Mellon University

Location: Warren Weaver Hall 1302

Date: March 11, 2013, 11:30 a.m.

Host: Denis Zorin


Despite their small size, mobile devices are able to perform tasks of creation, information and communication with unprecedented ease. However, diminutive screens and buttons mar the user experience, and otherwise prevent us from realizing the full potential of computing on the go. In this talk, I will first discuss strategies I have pursued to expand and enrich interaction. For example, fingers have many “modes” – they do not just poke, as contemporary touchscreen interaction would suggest, but also scratch, flick, knock, rub, and grasp, to name a few. I will then highlight an emergent shift in computing: from mobile devices we carry to using everyday surfaces for interaction, including tables, walls, furniture and even our skin, bringing computational power ever closer to users. This evolution brings significant new challenges in sensing and interaction design. For example, the human body is not only incredibly irregular and dynamic, but also comes in more than six billion different models. However, along with these challenges also come exciting new opportunities for more powerful, intuitive and intimate computing experiences.

Speaker Bio:

Chris Harrison is a Ph.D. candidate in 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.” Harrison was recently named as one of the top 30 scientists under 30 by Forbes, a top 35 innovator under 35 by MIT Technology Review, and one of six innovators to watch in 2013 by Smithsonian. He has been awarded fellowships by Google, Microsoft Research and Qualcomm, and has won several best paper awards. When not in the lab, Chris can be found welding sculptures, blowing glass, and visiting remote corners of the globe.


In-person attendance only available to those with active NYU ID cards.

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