Rekimoto Lab

HCI talks by SIGCHI Researchers (ユビキタス情報社会基盤研究センター共催)

After SIGCHI conference in Seoul, two HCI researchers will visit Tokyo University and give talks, open for everybody.

Date: April 27 (mon) 13:30-15:00 (door open at 13:15)
Venue: Ishibashi Hall, 3F, Daiwa Ubiquitous Computing Research Building (building #125)


Alex Olwal
Ph.D, Google, USA

TITLE: Augmented Realism through Relevant Minimalism

Augmented Reality (AR) merges virtual information with a real environment for intuitive and direct user interfaces. I will give an overview of our research projects that emphasize a seamless blend of the digital and physical. We leverage exotic displays, sensing and context, to register digital content with the environment and to support rich interactions. Our goal is to render less, with every pixel being relevant, dynamic and grounded in the space. This is one of our key philosophies for enhancing the human senses and capabilities through minimal, yet highly relevant augmentations, that embrace the realism of our physical world. Our projects include novel interaction techniques, see-through displays, sensing technologies, immaterial user interfaces, and dynamic shape displays.

Alex Olwal (Ph.D., M.Sc.) is an Interaction Researcher at Google, Affiliate Faculty at KTH, and Research Affiliate at the MIT Media Lab.

Alex designs and develops interactions and technologies that embrace digital and physical experiences. He is interested in tools, techniques and devices that enable new interaction concepts for the augmentation and empowerment of the human senses.

Alex’s research ( includes augmented reality, spatially aware mobile devices, medical user interfaces, ubiquitous computing, touch-screens, as well as novel interaction devices and displays.

He has previously worked with the development of new technologies for Human-Computer Interaction at MIT – Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA), KTH – Royal Institute of Technology (Stockholm), Columbia University (NY), University of California (Santa Barbara, CA) and Microsoft Research (Redmond, WA).

At Google, Alex conducts applied research and development of novel and exotic input and output mechanisms for wearables, and explore associated
interaction techniques. Alex’s goal is to expand expressiveness while avoiding interference with user’s experience of the physical reality.


Pedro Lopes
Ph.D Candidate, Computer Interaction Lab, Hasso Platner Institute, Germany

TITLE: Affordance++ and Proprioceptive Interaction

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. We call this affordance++. By stimulating the user’s arms using electrical muscle stimulation, our prototype allows objects not only to make the user actuate them, but also perform required movements while merely approaching the object, such as not to touch objects that do not “want” to be touched. In our user study, affordance++ helped participants to successfully operate devices of poor natural affordance, such as a multi-functional slicer tool or a magnetic nail sweeper, and to stay away from cups filled with hot liquids. We call this concept of creating object behavior by controlling user behavior affordance++. Conceptually there are many ways of implementing affordance++, generally by applying sensors and actuators to the user’s body, such as the arm. We actuate users by controlling their arm poses using electrical muscle stimulation, i.e., users wear a device on their arm that talks to the user’s muscles by means of electrodes attached to the user’s arm. This allows for a particularly compact form factor and is arguably even more “direct” than the indirection through a mechanical system. However, the concept of affordance++ needs not to be tied to a particular means of actuating the user, but to the concept of doing so instead of actuating the objects that the user interacts with.