CHCI work addresses all aspects of the interplay between people and interactive technologies. We place special emphasis on two key research thrust areas: Immersive Experiences and Social Informatics.
The Immersive Experiences group of the Center for Human Computer Interaction comprises faculty from a diverse set of research domains and with interests in interaction techniques, fidelity, perception and cues, visualization of sensor data, the power of place, situated cognition, affect, situational awareness, sonification, and sense making, among others. The Immersive Experiences group of the Center for Human Computer Interaction comprises faculty from a diverse set of research domains and with interests in interaction techniques, fidelity, perception and cues, visualization of sensor data, the power of place, situated cognition, affect, situational awareness, sonification, and sense making, among others. This team of faculty has formed to coalesce effort around areas of common interest in order to become more than the sum of its constituent Parts.
Potential Immersive Experiences research threads include:
- Perception with large-scale, physical navigation
- Collaborative awareness
- Sense making
- Visualization design
- Sonification design
- Going beyond physical space
- Technical infrastructure for distributed rendering, input, tracking
- AR vs. VR for specific tasks or learning outcomes
- Technical AR questions
- Applications in education, journalism, architecture, scientific visualization intelligence, and art
- Combining human sense making with machine learning for 3D data visualization
- Measuring affect in collaborative visualization, using affect to preict insight
Social Informatics refers to the body of interdisciplinary research and study that examines social aspects of computing. The Social Informatics Area at Virginia Tech focuses on human-computer interaction research and education as a critical and proactive program. We see that while we, as humans, have done a great job inventing and evaluating myriad ways to smoothly interact with information technology, we have also made a mess of things. In a relatively short period of time, computerization has moved from providing a counterpoint to life, with the potential to highlight and shade experience, to constituting a constant force, defining life as experienced. Computers have come to design human behavior and define the quality of life. We must observe, examine and understand what we are doing with technology, and what we could do differently in anticipation of social, economic and environmental impacts -- positive and negative -- on the quality of life and the public interest. From software to social networks to societies, students in particular will learn to take an active, thoughtful role in defining their own, and others’, relationships to interactive systems.
Social: From crowd work to networked social relationships, our technologies have redefined the social world. In contrast to HCI’s roots in personal computing, we are now deeply enmeshed in interpersonal computing. We study both mediated social realms and explore alternatives to them.
Information: Skills for generating and transforming information for greater insights, including systems thinking, computational thinking, proficiency in content creation and critical analysis, and design practice and peer critique. Our approach addresses the call for “21st Century” skills by focusing on the abstract ideas that underlie a knowledge economy, the technologies that enact them, and developing a reflexive and constitutive framework for innovating the “new”.