Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) is the field of study where interactions between people and technology are examined. It encompasses a number of disciplines including computer, social, and behavioral sciences. iSec researchers have developed programs and curriculum in human-computer interaction centered around innovative, unobtrusive, and intuitive user interfaces for traditional desktop computers, small handheld devices and large-scale multi-user systems. These interfaces will enable and encourage collaboration between users, and will produce interfaces that allow the user to focus on interacting with the information being presented on multi-touch, multi-user devices.
iSec researchers are exploring techniques for creating an immersive collaborative environment with the goal of platform independence. To achieve this, a unique Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) laboratory was created. This laboratory contains hardware research platforms centered around innovative, unobtrusive, and intuitive user interfaces for traditional desktop computers, small handheld devices and large-scale multi-user systems. Researchers in the lab have access to advanced hardware such as multi-touch surfaces, spatial sensors (cameras, RFID, etc.), smart phones, tablets or slates, a Microsoft Surface and a custom-built research platform called the Collaborative Analytical Visualization Environment (CAVE) multi-touch wall. This 4 x 10 ft. multi-touch wall not only allows researchers to test collaborative software, but also provides a means to test hardware and software interoperability, as well as provide a platform to advance multi-touch hardware solutions.
Laboratory Pictures: Image 1 | Image 2
In an environment designed for collaboration, it is important to know who and what objects are being interacted with. Tracking multiple users in a three dimensional space and mapping unique identities to a shared user interface are critical components to create a user friendly and effective multi-user interface. The rate of technological progress in tracking hardware / software sensors allows for the capture of spatial features (e.g. location of head, shoulder, elbow, etc.) of users in an environment and enables the association of those features with interfaces in that environment. Researchers have developed and are exploring techniques for tracking and mapping multiple users/identities over a shared user interface. This opens research to developing creative access control policies which are shared across both digital and physical realms.
Project Pictures: Image 1 | Image 2
To prove the merit of using multi-touch interfaces for collaboration, researchers are developing a gesture-oriented platform that allows users to interact and collaborate with one another, independent of platform. GODS “removes” the physical medium (e.g. USB flash drives) and gives users the illusion that their data is travelling with them by storing information in a private cloud. It uses the spatial access control framework for mapping identities with this data, allowing for seamless interaction across GODS-enabled devices.
Collaborative Educational Experience
The field of Human-Computer Interaction is interdisciplinary by definition. iSec researchers with computer science and psychology backgrounds are currently exploring creative ways to provide for a collaborative training experience using multi-touch surfaces, near field communication, and a number of other technologies. These researcher are developing collaborative interfaces that have many promising applications in group learning and training. This project aims to provide early child education tools that will promote social interactions while learning key concepts, and will serve a secondary purpose of introducing children to emerging technologies. Another target realm is in collaborative training applications that focus on information presentation and portability, where the interface is a channel through which the user is presented information and can interact with other users, whether they are using a large multi-user system or small handheld devices.
Project Pictures: Image 1
Tracking and Routing Global Environment Tool (TARGET)
Situational awareness and management thereof is crucial in our technologically advanced world. TARGET is a Command and Control platform developed to demonstrate the ability of bidirectional information exchange across multiple devices; more specifically, embedded devices. Researchers are utilizing this platform to write software applicable to public, private, and military sectors.