Living Mobile
Enhancing mobile life through improved user interactions.
We want to increase the value of computing for the times when we are away from conventional screen and keyboard computers. To this end, we develop mobile applications for work, play, and connectedness, for both personal and social needs. We build technologies and user interactions to make it easier to use mobile and wearable devices as we go about our normal daily activities.

Research Projects

  • Activ8

    Misha Sra and Chris Schmandt

    Activ8 is a system of three short games: See-Saw, a balancing game for Glass; Jump Beat, a music beat matching game for Glass; and Learning to Fly, a Kinect game where users keep a virtual bird in the air by flapping their arms. Recent epidemiological evidence points at sitting as being the most common contributor to an inactive lifestyle. We aim to offer a starting point towards designing and building an understanding about how "physical casual games" can contribute to helping address the perils of sitting.

  • Amphibian: Terrestrial SCUBA Diving Simulator Using Virtual Reality

    Dhruv Jain, Misha Sra, Raymond Wu, Rodrigo Marques, Jingru Guo and Chris Schmandt

    SCUBA diving as a sport has enabled people to explore the magnificent ocean diversity of beautiful corals, striking fish, and mysterious wrecks. However, only a small number of people are able to experience these wonders, as diving is expensive, mentally and physically challenging, needs a large time investment, and requires access to large bodies of water. Most existing SCUBA diving simulations in VR are limited to visual and aural displays. We propose a virtual reality system, Amphibian, that provides an immersive SCUBA diving experience through a convenient terrestrial simulator. Users lie on their torso on a motion platform with their outstretched arms and legs placed in a suspended harness. Users receive visual and aural feedback through the Oculus Rift head-mounted display and a pair of headphones. Additionally, we simulate buoyancy, drag, and temperature changes through various sensors.

  • DuoSkin

    Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao, Andres Calvo, and Chris Schmandt; Asta Roseway, Paul Johns, and Christian Holz (Microsoft Research)

    DuoSkin is a fabrication process that enables anyone to create customized functional devices that can be attached directly to the skin. Using gold metal leaf, a material that is cheap, skin-friendly, and robust for everyday wear, we demonstrate three types of on-skin interfaces: sensing touch input, displaying output, and wireless communication. DuoSkin draws from the aesthetics found in metallic jewelry-like temporary tattoos to create on-skin devices which resemble jewelry. DuoSkin devices enable users to control their mobile devices, display information, and store information on their skin while serving as a statement of personal style. We believe that in the future, on-skin electronics will no longer be black-boxed and mystified; instead, they will converge towards the user friendliness, extensibility, and aesthetics of body decorations, forming a DuoSkin integrated to the extent that it has seemingly disappeared.

  • Meta-Physical-Space VR

    Misha Sra and Chris Schmandt

    Experience new dimensions and worlds without limits with friends. Encounter a new physical connection within the virtual world. Explore virtual spaces by physically exploring the real world. Interact with virtual objects by physically interacting with real-world objects. Initial physical sensations include touching objects, structures, and people while we work on adding sensations for feeling pressure, temperature, moisture, smell, and other sensory experiences.

  • NailO

    Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao, Artem Dementyev, Joe Paradiso, Chris Schmandt

    NailO is a nail-mounted gestural input surface inspired by commercial nail stickers. Using capacitive sensing on printed electrodes, the interface can distinguish on-nail finger swipe gestures with high accuracy (>92 percent). NailO works in real time: the system is miniaturized to fit on the fingernail, while wirelessly transmitting the sensor data to a mobile phone or PC. NailO allows for one-handed and always-available input, while being unobtrusive and discrete. The device blends into the user's body, is customizable, fashionable, and even removable.

  • OnTheGo

    Misha Sra, Chris Schmandt

    As mobile device screens continue to get smaller (smartwatches, head-mounted devices like Google Glass), touch-based interactions with them become harder. With OnTheGo, our goal is to complement touch- and voice-based input on these devices by adding interactions through in-air gestures around the devices. Gestural interactions are not only intuitive for certain situations where touch may be cumbersome like running, skiing, or cooking, but are also convenient for things like quick application and task management, certain types of navigation and interaction, and simple inputs to applications.

  • SensorTape: Modular and Programmable 3D-Aware Dense Sensor Network on a Tape

    Joseph A. Paradiso, Artem Dementyev and Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao

    SensorTape is a modular and dense sensor network in a form factor of a tape. SensorTape is composed of interconnected and programmable sensor nodes on a flexible electronics sub-strate. Each node can sense its orientation with an inertial measurement unit, allowing deformation self-sensing of the whole tape. Also, nodes sense proximity using time-of-flight infrared. We developed network architecture to automatically determine the location of each sensor node, as SensorTape is cut and rejoined. We also made an intuitive graphical interface to program the tape. Our user study suggested that SensorTape enables users with different skill sets to intuitively create and program large sensor network arrays. We developed diverse applications ranging from wearables to home sensing, to show low-deployment effort required by the user. We showed how SensorTape could be produced at scale and made a 2.3-meter long prototype.

  • Spotz

    Chris Schmandt and Misha Sra

    Exploring your city is a great way to make friends, discover new places, find new interests, and invent yourself. Spotz is an Android app where everyone collectively defines the places they visit and the places in turn define them. Spotz allows you to discover yourself by discovering places. You tag a spot and create some buzz for it; if everyone agrees the spot is fun this bolsters your "fun" quotient. If everyone agrees the spot is geeky it pushes up your "geeky" score. Thus emerges your personal tag cloud. Follow tags to chance upon new places. Find people with similar tag clouds as your own and experience new places together. Create buzz for your favorite spots and track other buzz to find who has the #bestchocolatecake in town!

  • Tattio

    Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao, Chris Schmandt, Microsoft Research

    We present Tattio, a fabrication process that draws from current body decoration processes (i.e., jewelry such as metallic temporary tattoos) for the creation of on-skin technology. The fabrication process generates functional components such as Near Field Communication (NFC) tags, while maintaining the aesthetics and user experience of existing metallic temporary tattoos. The fabrication process is low-cost, accessible, and customizable; we seek to enable individuals to design, make, and wear their own skin technology creations.

  • Variable Reality: Interaction with the Virtual Book

    Hye Soo Yang and Chris Schmandt

    Variable Reality is an augmented reality system designed for reading digital and physical books more intuitively and efficiently. Through a head-worn display device such as Oculus Rift, the user is able to instantly access and display any desired book contents onto either a real book or a hand, depending on the need and affordability. Quick hand gestures integrated with the system further facilitate natural user interactions.