Human Computer Integration Lab

Computer Science Department, University of Chicago

Our research is focused on the question: what if interfaces would share part of our body? Our group has materialized these ideas by creating interactive systems that intentionally borrow parts of the user’s body for input and output; allowing computers to be more directly interwoven in our bodily senses and actuators. We believe this might assist us in answering: what new interface paradigm comes after wearable devices?

One specific flavor of such devices that we have extensively explored are devices that borrow the user’s muscles by means of electrical muscle stimulation. These devices use part of the wearer’s body for output, i.e., the computer can output by actuating the user’s muscles with electrical impulses, causing it to move involuntarily. The wearer can sense the computer’s activity on their own body by means of their sense of proprioception. Our wearable systems have shown to: increase realism in VR, provide a novel way to access information through proprioception, and serve as a platform to experience and question the boundaries of our sense of agency, which includes investigations into neuroscience.

The Human Computer Integration research lab is led by Prof. Pedro Lopes at the Computer Science Department of the University of Chicago (see team).

Team


Pedro Lopes

Assist. Prof.

Jun Nishida

Postdoc Scholar

Jas Brooks

PhD student

Jasmine Lu

PhD student (soon!)

Alex Mazursky

PhD student (soon!)

Shan-Yuan Teng

PhD student (soon!)

Steven Nagels

Visiting PhD student

Marco Kaisth

Undergraduate

Lydia Filipe

Undergraduate

Simeon Markind

MS practicum

Aaron Tang

MS practicum

Nitesh Nath

MS practicum

Publications

Action-dependent processing of touch in the human parietal operculum

Jakub Limanowski, Pedro Lopes, Janis Keck, Patrick Baudisch, Karl Friston, and Felix Blankenburg. In Cerebral Cortex (journal), to appear.

Tactile input generated by one’s own agency is generally attenuated. Conversely, externally caused tactile input is enhanced; e.g., during haptic exploration. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to understand how the brain accomplishes this weighting. Our results suggest an agency-dependent somatosensory processing in the parietal operculum.

Cerebral Cortex paper (to appear)

Preemptive Action: Accelerating Human Reaction using Electrical Muscle Stimulation Without Compromising Agency

Shunichi Kasahara, Jun Nishida and Pedro Lopes. In Proc. CHI’19, Paper 643 (full paper) and demonstration at SIGGRAPH'19 eTech.

We found out that it is possible to optimize the timing of haptic systems to accelerate human reaction time without fully compromising the user' sense of agency. This work was done in cooperation with Shunichi Kasahara from Sony CSL. Read more.

CHI'19 paper video SIGGRAPH'19 etech (soon) CHI'19 talk (slides)

Detecting Visuo-Haptic Mismatches in Virtual Reality using the Prediction Error Negativity of Event-Related Brain Potentials

Lukas Gehrke, Sezen Akman, Pedro Lopes, Albert Chen, ..., Klaus, Gramann. In Proc. CHI’19, Paper 427. (full paper)

We detect visuo-haptic mismatches in VR by analyzing the user's event-related potentials (ERP). In our EEG study, participants touched VR objects and received either no haptics, vibration, or vibration and EMS. We found that the negativity component (prediction error) was more pronounced in unrealistic VR situations, indicating visuo-haptic mismatches.

CHI'19 paper CHI'19 talk (slides) CHI'19 talk video

Adding Force Feedback to Mixed Reality Experiences and Games using Electrical Muscle Stimulation

Pedro Lopes, Sijing You, Alexandra Ion, and Patrick Baudisch. In Proc. CHI’18. (full paper)

Summary: We present a mobile system that enhances mixed reality experiences, displayed on a Microsoft HoloLens, with force feedback by means of electrical muscle stimulation (EMS). The benefit of our approach is that it adds physical forces while keeping the users’ hands free to interact unencumbered—not only with virtual objects, but also with physical objects, such as props and appliances that are an integral part of both virtual and real worlds.

video CHI'18 paper code

Providing Haptics to Walls and Other Heavy Objects in Virtual Reality by Means of Electrical Muscle Stimulation

Pedro Lopes, Sijing You, Alexandra Ion, and Patrick Baudisch. In Proc. CHI’17 (full paper) and demonstration at SIGGRAPH'17 studios

We explored how to add haptics to walls and other heavy objects in virtual reality. Our contribution is that we prevent the user’s hands from penetrating virtual objects by means of electrical muscle stimulation (EMS). As the shown user lifts a virtual cube, our system lets the user feel the weight and resistance of the cube. The heavier the cube and the harder the user presses the cube, the stronger a counterforce the system generates.

video CHI'17 paper

Muscle-plotter: An Interactive System based on Electrical Muscle Stimulation that Produces Spatial Output

Pedro Lopes, Doga Yueksel, François Guimbretière, and Patrick Baudisch. In Proc. UIST’16 (full paper).

We explore how to create more expressive EMS-based systems. Muscle-plotter achieves this by persisting EMS output, allowing the system to build up a larger whole. More specifically, it spreads out the 1D signal produced by EMS over a 2D surface by steering the user’s wrist. Rather than repeatedly updating a single value, this renders many values into curves.

video UIST'16 paper code

Impacto: Simulating Physical Impact by Combining Tactile Stimulation with Electrical Muscle Stimulation

Pedro Lopes, Alexandra Ion, and Patrick Baudisch. In Proc. UIST’15 (full paper). UIST best demo nomination

We present impacto, a device designed to render the haptic sensation of hitting and being hit in virtual reality. The key idea that allows the small and light impacto device to simulate a strong hit is that it decomposes the stimulus: it renders the tactile aspect of being hit by tapping the skin using a solenoid; it adds impulse to the hit by thrusting the user’s arm backwards using electrical muscle stimulation. The device is self-contained, wireless, and small enough for wearable use.

video UIST'15 paper talk video

Affordance++: Allowing Objects to Communicate Dynamic Use

Pedro Lopes, Patrik Jonell, and Patrick Baudisch. In Proc. CHI’15 (full paper). CHI best paper award (top 1%)

We propose extending the affordance of objects by allowing them to communicate dynamic use, such as (1) motion (e.g., spray can shakes when touched), (2) multi-step processes (e.g., spray can sprays only after shaking), and (3) behaviors that change over time (e.g., empty spray can does not allow spraying anymore). Rather than enhancing objects directly, however, we implement this concept by enhancing the user with electrical muscle stimulation. We call this affordance++.

video CHI'15 paper talk video code

Proprioceptive Interaction

Pedro Lopes, Alexandra Ion, Willi Mueller, Daniel Hoffmann, Patrik Jonell, and Patrick Baudisch. In Proc. CHI’15 (full paper). CHI best talk award

We propose a new way of eyes-free interaction for wearables. It is based on the user’s proprioceptive sense, i.e., users feel the pose of their own body. We have implemented a wearable device, Pose-IO, that offers input and output based on proprioception. Users communicate with Pose-IO through the pose of their wrists. Users enter information by performing an input gesture by flexing their wrist, which the device senses using an accelerometer. Users receive output from Pose-IO by finding their wrist posed in an output gesture, which Pose-IO actuates using electrical muscle stimulation.

video CHI'15 paper talk video

Muscle-propelled force feedback: bringing force feedback to mobile devices

Pedro Lopes and Patrick Baudisch. In Proc. CHI’13 (short paper). IEEE World Haptics, People’s Choice Nomination for Best Demo

Force feedback devices resist miniaturization, because they require physical motors and mechanics. We propose mobile force feedback by eliminating motors and instead actuating the user’s muscles using electrical stimulation. Without the motors, we obtain substantially smaller and more energy-efficient devices. Our prototype fits on the back of a mobile phone. It actuates users’ forearm muscles via four electrodes, which causes users’ muscles to contract involuntarily, so that they tilt the device sideways. As users resist this motion using their other arm, they perceive force feedback.

video CHI'13 paper talk video

The publications above are core to our lab's mission. If you are interested more of Pedro's publications in other topics, see here.

Teaching

1. Introduction to Human-Computer Interaction (CMSC 20300; Fall quarter)

Synopsis: An introduction to the field of Human Computer Interaction (HCI), with a particular emphasis in understanding and designing user-facing software and hardware systems. This class covers the core concepts of HCI: affordance and mental models, input techniques (cursors, touch, text entry, voice, etc.), output techniques (visual menus and widgets, sound, haptics), conducting user studies, and so forth. It also includes a project in which students design, build and study a user-facing interactive system. (Premiers in Fall'19)

2. Inventing, Engineering and Understanding Interactive Devices (CMSC 23220; Spring quarter)

Synopsis: In this class we build I/O devices, typically wearable or haptic devices. These are user-facing hardware devices engineered to enable new ways to interact with computers. In order for you to be successful in building your own I/O device we will: (1) study and program 8 bit microntrollers, (2) explore different analog and digital sensors and actuators, (3) write control loops and filters, (4) explore stretchable and fabric based electronics, (5) learn how to approach invention, and (6) apply I/O devices to novel contexts such as Virtual Reality. See here for class website.

3. Emerging Interface Technologies (CMS 33231; winter quarter)

Synopsis: In this class, we examine emergent technologies that might impact the future generations of computing interfaces, these include: physiological I/O (e.g., brain and muscle computer interfaces), tangible computing (giving shape and form to interfaces), wearable computing (I/O devices closer to the user's body), rendering new realities (e.g., virtual and augmented reality) and haptics (giving computers the ability to generate touch and forces). See here for class website.

News

  • 20 May 2019

    Best of CHI'19 selection by Pedro & Jun at our lab meeting!

  • 19 May 2019

    Lab outing to Mitsuwa: we might have gone overboard with japanese snacks! Kudos to Jas for organizing.

  • 3 May 2019

    Pedro received an Best Video Communication award at CHI 2019 for his work Trussformer which he co-authored with Robert Kovacs (primary investigator, HPI).

  • 7 May 2019

    Jun received an Best Paper Award Honorable Mention at CHI 2019 for his work at th University of Tsukuba that allows you to experience the view of a smaller person, with Kenji Suzuki.

  • 6 May 2019

    We just presented two CHI papers (and Jun presents his tomorrow as well!). Lukas presented our EEG/EMS paper and Shun presented our agency/EMS paper!

  • 3 May 2019

    Pedro received the Outstanding Dissertation Award 2019 by the University of Potsdam for his PhD thesis at the Hasso Plattner Institute.

  • 2 May 2019

    Two CHI'19 papers accepted, presentations ready for Glasgow! Also Jun will present this paper that he authored while at the University of Tsukuba.

  • 1 May 2019

    11 amazing VR demos in class, students rocked!

  • 27 Apr 2019

    Pedro teaches signal processing to over 100 middle school girls that take part in CompileHer 2019.

  • 19 Apr 2019

    SIGGRAPH eTech demo accepted, demo ready for LA!

  • 19 Apr 2019

    First sad day in the lab, Steven's visit is over. Lab made a home cooked meal and hand made zine for Steven! See you in Belgium!

  • 15 Apr 2019

    Three new PhD students next fall! Introducing: Jasmine (CS, Duke) and Shan-Yuan (CS, NTU) and Alex Mazursky (ME, Miami, OH).

  • 15 Apr 2019

    Michelle Carr visited the lab.

  • 15 Apr 2019

    Sihong Wang visited the lab.

  • 8 Apr 2019

    Lab outing to Thalia Hall/Dusek with Gierad Laput who visited UChicago.

  • 3 Apr 2019

    We started a new class: CMSC 23220: Inventing, Engineering and Understanding Interactive Devices!

  • 21 Mar 2019

    Lab outing to the Museum of Science and Indusry; opening of the wearables exhibit. We met Ivan Poupyrev, Anthony Banks and Behnaz Farahi.

  • 15 Mar 2019

    Aaron, Jake, Lydia and Simeon joined the lab.

  • 15 Mar 2019

    We organized our own PhD Visit Day for Alex Mazursky!.

  • 14 Mar 2019

    Ted Kim is visiting UChicago.

  • 13 Mar 2019

    Ludwig Wall is visiting our lab and gives a talk on his work on Laser Stacker and Metamaterials.

  • 13 Mar 2019

    Ed Wang is visiting UChicago.

  • 12 Mar 2019

    We are doing a stretchable and soft electronics hands-on workshop at our graduate class! First MADD and CS joint workshop.

  • 9 Mar 2019

    HCI lab hangout. Lunch at the plant and SAIC's MA closing show.

  • 8 Mar 2019

    PhD visit day at UCHicago CS! Jasmine and Shan-Yuan visited the lab. Many thanks to our colleague Ben Zhao for an amazing visit day.

  • 5 Mar 2019

    Garrett Johnson visited the lab.

  • 1 Mar 2019

    We met Kyle Jamieson who was visiting UChicago.

  • 27 Feb 2019

    David Freedman visited the lab.

  • 25 Feb 2019

    Steven and Pedro went to visit Josiah Hester at Northwestern.

  • 22 Feb 2019

    Andrey Rzhetsky visited the lab.

  • 14 Feb 2019

    We met Marshini Chetty who was visiting UChicago.

  • 11 Feb 2019

    Howard Nusbaum visited the lab.

  • 8 Feb 2019

    Leslie Kay visited the lab.

  • 28-29 Jan

    Pedro speaks at MIT Media Lab (host by Pattie Maes and Michelle Carr)

  • 25 Jan

    IEEE VR PC meeting.

  • 10 Jan

    Folks from CAT visited the lab and our department.

  • 8 Jan 2019

    Hooray! This is Steven's first day at the lab. Nitesh also started working with us!

  • 8 Jan 2019

    We just started our new class Emergent Interface Technology (graduate level).

  • 7 Jan 2019

    Lab just started! This is Jas' first day (and Pedro's too).

Apply

We are always looking for exceptional students at the intersection of Human Computer Interaction, Electrical Engineering, Materials Science and Mechanical Engineering.

If you are considering applying for our lab:

  • 1. Send us an email with your portfolio and CV.
  • 2. Your portfolio (which preferably should be a website) must show documentation of the projects you are most proud (video documentation is ideal). We are especially looking for technical projects that involve: circuitry, signal processing, wearables or other interactive devices.
  • 2. Your CV should state also which level of expertise you have with the areas that are crucial for our lab: have you built your own circuits, do you write control loops, do you do more hardware than software, etc.
  • 4. Our lab is most suited for folks with some experience in HCI, EE, materials or ME.
  • 5. Read our research interests carefully, if you are unsure about the fit, send a quick email first before applying.
  • 6. If you are applying for an internship you mush have substantial previous experience in our areas of work.
  •  

Our lab is a welcoming environment that does not discriminate. We are a LGBTQ+ ally lab.

Supported by

Our lab is supported by the following sponsor organizations:


CDAC

Supports our project with
Prof. Dr. Andrey Rzhetsky

NSF

Jas Brooks and Jasmine
Lu supported by GRFP





Contact us

hci@uchicago.edu
  • John Crerar Library, 292
  • Computer Science Department
  • 5730 S. Ellis Avenue
  • Chicago, IL 60637, USA.