Research Interests

There is an increasing availability and miniaturization of low-cost sensing devices, often connected to the Internet, through the so called Internet of Things (IoT). The wealth (or "deluge") of data produced by the IoT is likely to keep growing, so we need to face the challenge of designing interactive systems to help people take advantage of this data, and to embrace the ambition to help us more efficiently utilize the limited resources of our planet. My research aims to address this challenge, through the design, development and evaluation of interactive systems around two foci: first, assisting people in making sense of IoT data; second supporting the delegation of some agency to autonomous devices and their software, drawing upon machine learning techniques and optimization algorithms. I am particularly interested in situations where people may not be specifically trained to deal with IoT data, rather the data is incidental to their activities, for examples in the domestic context.

A considerable part of my research is related to energy consumption, for several reasons. Crucially, energy as an application is important in itself for its societal and economic implications. Moreover, electricity is invisible (so much so that prior work aimed at materialising its representation), easy to measure with inexpensive and easy-to-install Internet-connected sensors, and its consumption is related to money in a way familiar to most users: through energy tariffs and bills. Because of these characteristics energy systems provide an opportunity to study rich interactions with prototypes of future autonomous interactive systems 'in the wild'. The invisibility of energy and its intuitive relation to money make it possible to design and run field trials where financial experimental reward is linked to participants' real electricity consumption and their use of prototypes, thus rendering the systems' usefulness more tangible to the participants.

Prior to the current focus, I have worked on a range of different topics, in HCI and Ubiquitous Computing. My PhD research (at EPFL) revolved around designable visual markers recognition and its applications, a concept I was honoured to see taken forward in other projects, such as Artcodes (at the University of Nottingham) and reacTIVision (at UPF, Barcelona, Spain, and enabling the commercial success of reactable). I have also worked on interaction with mobile and wearable devices, with a particular interest in making the interaction subtle, intimate and hands-free, including the use of eyeglass displays and sonification. My research path started from an interest in tangible interfaces for music composition and performance, through the development of the audio d-touch system.