Research Topics

You can find a description of the general project goals here. A short description of specific topics we are engaged with at the moment can be found below:

On-Body Interaction

In recent years on-body interfaces have become increasingly popular in both pop-culture and research and early prototype devices are beginning to appear on various crowdfunding platforms. The area is however not well understood, with very few studies empirically investigating the design space. Open questions include how to organize information on the skin, how to map digital content to the physical shapes and movements of the body and how using one’s own body as an interactive surface influences the experience of interaction.

Not only the design of on-body interfaces requires further research, the technologies to implement them are also in their infancy. While researchers have been looking at on-skin input for some time, on-skin output has so far received very little attention.

onbodyinteraction

Left: Implanted communication device from Total Recall (2012), center and right: Smart suit with on-body interface from the Syfy show Continuum.

 

Virtual Bodies and Body Illusions

Virtual Reality allows us to ‘move out of our selves’ and observe our bodies from a third person perspective. A well-known illusion is ‘rubber hand illusion’ in which one is lead to believe that a rubber hand is one’s own. Using virtual reality we can push such illusions much further. For example, we can alter the mappings between motion and feedback, enabling a whole new class of body illusions beyond classical ones such as the rubber hand illusion. We are currently exploring new and creative ways of working with the body in VR with special attention on how these might be deployed outside of a research-lab environment.

virtualreality

Illustration of different VR applications by Mia Mottelson

 

Electrical Muscle Stimulation

Using Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) for Human Computer Interaction explorations is becoming relatively common. These explorations typically use EMS for specific applications, however many fundamental questions around EMS have not been addressed by research yet. These include questions regarding the perception of the user both in terms of user experience and agency. Other research questions we are interested in are improving the setup and calibration process. On a purely hardware level we are interested in creating improved electrode designs and stimulation devices that are explicitly designed with HCI applications in mind.

ems

Breadboarding a multi-channel EMS system

 

Perception & Action

When we hear an object fall over, when we turn around to look at it and bend over to pick it up, our perception of that object is not something that just ‘happens’ to us. Every step of perceiving the object is something our body actively does. We are interested in finding ways to utilize active perception for the design of interactive systems. Our current focus is on the perception of textures and the role that motion and multisensory integration play in perception.

haptics

Objects used for exploring haptic textures.