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.

CHCI Seminar

CHCI Seminar Series

3rd Friday of every month, 08:30am in the Moss Arts Center Sandbox

HCI graduate students sponsor and contribute to a seminar program in the Center for Human Computer Interaction. This is both a professional and a social event. Come and meet your fellow HCI students. Graduate students can take advantage of this venue to practice a talk in advance of a conference or to present ongoing research, and receive feedback from the CHCI community. This is also a good opportunity for new students interested in doing research in HCI to get to learn more about HCI, and learn about the research being done by each research group in the center. Refreshments are provided!

For more information, please see the seminar schedule.

When: 08:30pm on the 3rd Friday of every month. Seminars by visitors might be at other days/times.
Where: Moss Arts Center Learning Studio.
If you would like to present, please contact Dr. Andrea Kavanaugh (

Visualizing World War I through mixed reality

2017-10-20 at 08:30:00 in ICAT Learning Studio, 253 Moss Arts Center

Presenter: Todd Ogle, Doug Bowman, Thomas Tucker, Zach Duer, David Hick

Abstract: Vauquois was a small village before it became critical high ground that was fiercely contested for four years by the French and Germans during World War I, with the Americans finally taking the position during the Meuse-Argonne offensive of 1918. In an area smaller than the Virginia Tech Drillfield, a quiet, agricultural village became a killing ground starting in the streets, moving to trenches, and finally moving underground into a network of miles of tunnels used to set over 500 mine explosions in four horrific years of endless combat. Funded through an ICAT SEAD Grant, our team of technologists, artists, educators, historians, engineers, and archaeologists performed a comprehensive site survey of the Hill of Vauquois, combining ground penetrating radar, photogrammetry, and laser scanning to create a digital recreation of the above and below ground features of the craters, trenches, tunnels and galleries that allows us to see Vauquois as it has never been seen before. 360 degree video, animation, and virtual reality tell the story in an immersive experience.

Bio: Todd Ogle: Executive Director, Applied Research in Immersive Environments and Simulations (ARIES) Program, University Libraries. The ARIES program supports applied research that brings together industry partners, faculty, and students interested in the cognitive and affective aspects of learning in immersive environments, games, simulations for training and performance support, and more. Dr. Ogle's research seeks to identify and build upon the factors that lead to learner success in immersive learning environments, such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).

Technology on the Trail

2017-09-15 at 08:30:00 in ICAT Learning Studio, 253 Moss Arts Center

Presenter: Dr. Scott McCrickard

Abstract: The Technology on the Trail initiative seeks to understand and develop ways that technology is used (or avoided!) on trails and in trail-like settings, such as extended and multi-day hikes, where different user goals and desires affect our behaviors and interactions with others. We have divided this initiative into three main focus areas: preparation, experience, and reflection. The speaker will talk about lessons learned for each of these focus areas and outline some challenges and opportunities moving forward. This work was sponsored in part by an ICAT SEAD grant and by the CHCI Social Informatics group.

Bio: Scott McCrickard is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science and a member of the Center for Human Computer Interaction within ICAT. His research has focused on ways that technology affects the ways we allocate our attention, largely through notifications and interactions with it. He served as the primary organizer the Technology on the Trail workshop in March 2017 in Blacksburg VA and is organizing the follow-up workshop in Sanibel Island FL in January 2018.

Resurrecting the Gigapixel Display: can embodied cognition be small?

2017-04-21 at 08:30:00 in ICAT Learning Studio, 253 Moss Arts Center

Presenter: Prof. Anthony Cate

Abstract: One of the benefits of moving around a large, interactive display is that users gain kinesthetic cues that can enhance memory for the spatial location of items. Recently my lab has investigated how items' large physical size alone can alter perceptual and cognitive processes independently from the motor actions that they afford. I will describe our efforts to distinguish the roles of locomotion, embodiment, and physical scale on declarative memory. The pursuit of these goals, as well as a fond nostalgia, led us to recreate the original (now-dismantled) Gigapixel Display in a desktop virtual environment. Using VR to reproduce the sense of presence associated specifically with a large display poses a big question: can you take the sense of size out of the sense of presence?

Bio: Anthony Cate is an Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department at Virginia Tech. He received Psychology degrees from Yale University (B.A.) and Carnegie Mellon University (Ph.D.), where he studied Cognitive Neuroscience through the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition. Before joining the faculty at Virginia Tech, he trained as a postdoc in the Group for Action and Perception at the University of Western Ontario, and in the Human Cognitive Neurophysiology Laboratory at the Veterans Affairs Northern California Medical Center in Martinez, CA.

Identity Abuse in Mobile Social Networks and Email Systems

2017-03-17 at 08:30:00 in ICAT Learning Studio, 253 Moss Arts Center

Presenter: Dr Gang Wang

Abstract: User identity is the root of trust in many online communities and communication systems. In practice, user identity is also the most attractive target for attacks. For systems like online social networks and email services, identity abuse can cause serious system disruptions, privacy leakage, financial loss, and even threats to national security. In this talk, I will describe our recent efforts to understand the risk of identity abuse in practice and our defense approaches. First, I will start by describing the fundamental challenge of authenticating real users and real phones in online and mobile systems. We reveal an emerging threat of “Sybil devices” where an attacker can control a large army of simulated devices pretending to be real users to lunch practical attacks such as location tracking and data pollution. Second, I will introduce our on-going work to investigate identity abuse in email systems for phishing and social engineering. I will share our recent findings on how existing email services fail to notify users on spoofing (fake) emails, particularly on mobile devices. I will discuss potential solutions moving forward by modeling user decision-making process for effective security alerts and interventions.

Bio: Gang Wang is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Virginia Tech. His research interests cover a range of topics in Security and Privacy, Data Mining and HCI. His goals work towards gaining a deep understanding of user behavior and its roles in attacks and defenses to better secure Internet systems. Gang’s current projects focus on three areas: security and privacy in online communities, data-driven models of user behavior, and mobile application security. Gang obtained his PhD in Computer Science from UC Santa Barbara (2016). He earned a BE degree from Tsinghua University (2010). He spent two summers at Microsoft Research Redmond in 2011 and 2014. He was the recipient of Outstanding Dissertation Award (2016) and PhD Dissertation Fellowship (2015) from UCSB, and Best Practical Paper Award from ACM SIGMETRICS (2013). He held a U.S. patent for large-scale detection of malware distribution networks.

Understanding the Brain in a Social Context – Wearable Technology Framework for Assessment and Real-Time Feedback

2017-02-17 at 08:30:00 in ICAT Learning Studio, 253 Moss Arts Center

Presenter: Dr. Denis Gracanin

Abstract: The recent advances in mixed-reality and mobile technologies for assessment of cognitive and neural processing indicate a tipping point in our ability to go beyond standard experimental settings and study adaptive processes during complex physical, social, and educational interactions in realistic complex environments. Such technologies are exciting because they permit scientists to move beyond artificial experimental settings that have limited ecological validity. Recently, a handful of studies have demonstrated the promise of wearable devices and related technologies in the study of a number of psychological disorders, including specific anxiety disorders and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), as well as typical social development. We have developed the FER (Facial Emotion Recognition) Assistant, a mobile neurotechnology tool that gives real-time feedback to users on accuracy of facial emotion recognition. Our long-term goal is to understand how FER networks can be manipulated for therapeutic and preventative purposes.

Bio: Denis Gracanin is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Virginia Tech.He received the BS and MS degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Zagreb, Croatia, and the MS and PhD degrees in computer science from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.His research interests include virtual reality and distributed simulation. He is a senior member of ACM and IEEE and a member of AAAI, APS, ASEE and SIAM.

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