Human Computer Interaction

HCI is the region of intersection between the social and behavioral sciences, and information technology. It provides a challenging test domain for applying and developing social theory and a stringent source of constraints for creating and evaluating new information systems.

3D Interaction Group

Contact: Doug Bowman

3DI stands for "three-dimensional interaction". Our research spans 3D user interfaces, interaction techniques, and applications, especially in the area of Virtual Environments (VE). Interaction in three dimensions is not well-understood, but is crucial to highly interactive VE applications like immersive education, scientific visualization, and immersive design. The mission of our lab is to perform both basic and applied research in three-dimensional (3D) interaction and VE technology, and to develop applications of VEs in a wide variety of domains.

Animation and Gaming Research Lab

Contact: Doug Bowman

Design of Interactive Systems Studio

Contact: Steve Harrison

Distributed Virtual Environments Laboratory

Contact: Denis Gracanin

Gigapixel Display Laboratory

Contact: Chris North

 The GigaPixel Display Laboratory is hosted by Virginia Tech's Department of Computer Science and the Center for Human-Computer Interaction (CHCI).  This NSF-funded facility contains reconfigurable ultra-high resolution displays, totaling approximately 200 million pixels, one of the highest resolutions in the world.


The h.Lab investigates the phenomenology of mediated life.


Laboratory for Information Visualization and Evaluation

Contact: Chris North

 The LIVE lab studies the design, development, and evaluation of information visualizations.  Information visualizations are interactive visual representation of abstract data that enable people to effectively explore and understand large quantities of complex information.

Notification Systems Research Lab

Contact: Scott McCrickard

Notification systems attempt to deliver current, important information to the user in an efficient and effective manner. Examples of familiar notification systems include instant messaging systems, system and user status updates, email alerts, and news and stock tickers. With the popularity of these systems skyrocketing in recent years, our group explores the effects of incoming notifications on ongoing computing tasks, creating models for their design, implementation, and evaluation. Please feel free to contact us with questions or comments about our work.

Personal Information Management Lab

Contact: Scott McCrickard

The PIM lab studies how individuals use technology to organize and use  their day to day information needs. The goal is to explore how to best  make use of our limited personal resources (time, money, energy,  attention) to improve the quality of our lives. This often translate  to better productivity but can simply mean more satisfaction. An area  of interest is how advances in PIM research could informs education  programs that focus on information literacy. We are particularly  interested in how people use many devices in their day to day  activities. To support that, we have available for research desktops,  laptops, web servers, large displays, iPods, PDAs, RFIDs, phone system  with support for VoiceXML, and many other technologies.

Pragmatics of Educational/Emotional Computing (POET) Research Lab

Contact: Deborah Tatar

The POET lab engages in research of real-world technology projects that promote equity and excellence in K-12 math and science classrooms and university engineering education, explores systems (especially Tuple Space-based) to support complex human coordination, lies in the realms of computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW) and computer-supported cooperative learning (CSCL), evaluates handheld, tablet, and large-screen computing, and contributes to the issues of social attention and technology.

Social Computing Lab

Contact: Andrea Kavanaugh

Social computing is the study of the social use and impact of information technology, and the study of information technology designed specifically for social purposes, such as interpersonal and group communication, discussion, and social interaction (e.g., electronic mail, instant messenger, discussion tools, blogging, and social websites, such as Friendster, Facebook, and MySpace). It draws on multiple disciplines, including sociology, social psychology, political science, communication studies, and computer science.


Third Lab provides the intellectual home for two HCI lab groups - Deborah Tatar's POET Lab and Steve Harrison's h.Lab .  While each of the labs have different projects and ask different kinds of questions, both are fundmentally phenomenologically situated. 

The name comes from the seminal paper by Harrison, Tatar and Sengers, The Third Paradigm which organizes the intellectual landscape of HCI into "classical human factors" (e.g. critical incidents), "classical cognitivism" (human information processing model, GOMS, KLM, and other quantifiable performance-oriented systems), and "phenomologically situated" (semiotic design, sociality, ethnography, affect, activity theory, cultural probes, etc.) "Third" also refers to the semeiotic system of Charles Sandes Peirce in which a "sign" is made up of the representation, the thing refered to by the representation, and a third thing -- the idea in the mind that connects the two

Third Lab meets Wednesday afternoons.


Visual Computing Lab

Contact: Nicholas Polys