The Center for Human-Computer Interaction is an interdisciplinary research center jointly sponsored by the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology; and the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science at Virginia Tech.

Shared Infrastructure

One of the benefits of membership in the CHCI is access to a large and diverse set of facilities, software, and equipment. The Center's philosophy is to maximize the use of such resources by sharing them freely with all Center affiliates. This infrastructure includes both centrally maintained resources and individually owned resources made available by their owners.

The centrally maintained infrastructure includes a large shared laboratory (the "Black Lab" in VT Knowledgeworks II), a Maker Lab, several smaller laboratories or project rooms, and meeting rooms. The centrally maintained equipment inventory includes both large fixed assets, such as the Gigapixel Display and the Optitrack motion capture system, and a wide array of portable items such as tablets, cameras, and eye trackers. The Center gratefully acknowledges the support of the National Science Foundation in acquiring this infrastructure.


The CHCI has a variety of equipment available in its KnowledgeWorks II location, either for check-out or in-lab use. Highlights include:
  • Displays: HMDs, VisWalls sterescopic display, GigaPixel display, tabletop touch display - used only in lab
  • Tracking: Intersense IS-900 and Vicon tracking systems, Optitrack motion capture system - used only in lab
  • Interaction devices: Fakespace Pinch Gloves, 5DT Gloves, Leap Motion Controller, Wii controllers/balanceboard, Kinects
  • Recording: GoPro cameras, Sony cameras, nNovia recorders, Canon XL1 3-CCD camera
  • Mobile devices: Apple iPhones, iPads, Fujitsu netbooks, IBM Thinkpads
  • To see the equipment inventory and reserve any of these items, visit the Black Lab website.

    The COGENT Lab is equipped with a suite of standard and novel tools necessary for conducting engineering and user-based psychophysical studies. These include:
    • Displays: Google Glass, nVisor ST 60 HMD, large tabletop stereoscopic VR display
    • Tracking: two Intersense IS-900 motion capture and tracking systems
    • Simulators: AR-enhanced driving simulator to study driver performance with in-vehicle technology
    • Mobile devices: Apple iPhones for mobile AR
    For information and access to this equipment, please contact Joseph Gabbard.

    The DISIS is the primary facility of the Creative Technologies in Composition and Multimedia Art Design, and offers a variety of equipment for research use. A comprehensive list of equipment exists on the Facilities page. Some highlights are:
    • Embodied interaction sensors/motes: I-cubeX, Kinect
    • Experimental interfaces: control surfaces, Google Glass
    • DREAM interface (anterior speaker display) - used only in lab
    • Multichannel immersive sound diffusion - used only in lab
    • Students need to engage in curriculum before they are eligible to check out the equipment. For information and access to this equipment, please contact Ico Bukvic.

      The ETUT Lab provides the following equipment to be used for usability evaluation services:

    Software Resources

    Noldus Facereader
    According to Noldus, "FaceReader is the world's first tool that is capable of automatically analyzing facial expressions, providing users with an objective assessment of a person's emotion." The CHCI has access to a single license of FaceReader, including the Project Analysis Module. For information and access to the software, please contact Steve Sheetz.

    Worldviz Vizard
    Vizard VR Toolkit provides a powerful platform to help you create a new breed of visual simulations. You'll build applications that provide users with the best experiences across virtual reality immersive technologies such as displays and sensors. For information and access to the software, please contact Doug Bowman.


    Black Lab
    The Black Lab is dedicated to experimental research using a variety of VR-equiped spaces, like the stereoscopic VizWalls equiped with an IS-900 tracking system, the VirtuSphere, a tabletop display, and the Gigapixel Display. To see and reserve any of the available spaces, visit the Black Lab website.

    McBryde Usability Labs
    The Department of Computer Science maintains three rooms in McBryde Hall for usability and user experience testing. Users in CS can reserve the rooms online. Others can reserve the rooms by contacting the Director or Associate Director.

    The Digital Interactive Sound & Intermedia Studio is the primary facility of the Creative Technologies in Composition and Multimedia Art Design track, consisting of the main studio, a soundproof recording booth, storage space, and a faculty office. With a revolutionary studio model DISIS offers twelve silent high performance machines, the state-of-art 8.2 Genelec surround system and an Audio Vision HC display. To see more information about the studio, visit the DISIS website. To request a working space for research purposes, please contact Ico Bukvic.

    The Eye-Tracking and Usability Testing lab offers a dedicated space for usability testing using the state-of-the-art SMI RED 250 120Mhz stationary eye-tracking camera system. To request a working space for research purposes, please contact Troy Abel.

    Meeting Rooms

    To reserve a meeting room in KnowledgeWorks II (CS users only), visit the Meeting Room Booking System. Non-CS users can request a meeting room reservation by contacting the Director or Associate Director.

    Fluid 960 Grid System, created by Stephen Bau, based on the 960 Grid System by Nathan Smith. Released under the GPL / MIT Licenses.