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 (

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.

Cinemacraft: an Immersive Platform for Collaborative Storytelling

2017-01-27 at 08:30:00 in ICAT Learning Studio, 253 Moss Arts Center

Presenter: Siddharth Narayanan, Ivica Ico Bukvic, Lynn Abbott

Abstract: Cinemacraft is an interactive storytelling platform that builds upon the research of OPERAcraft, Linux Laptop Orchestra's Pd-L2Ork, and Mirror Worlds projects. It utilizes a reverse-engineered version of Minecraft offering a collection of live theatrical and cinematic production tools (multiple camera views, scene changes, virtual audience, etc.) and a newly introduced Kinect HD module that allows for embodied interaction, including posture, arm movement, facial expressions, and optional lip syncing based on captured voice input. A variant of the ensuing platform focusing on rendering a user's virtual mirror image has been demoed at SXSW 2016 as part of the Virginia Tech booth, the 2016 ICAT day, and is currently in the process of being installed in the Science Museum of the Western Virginia. The project has also yielded a potential commercialization opportunity in a form of a Qyno platform for embodied interaction. You can get a taste about this work by watching this amusing youtube video!

Bio: Siddharth Narayanan is a Master's student in Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech. His research involves machine intelligence and computer vision. He has previously contributed to projects on dynamic vision sensors, visual question answering and immersive platforms. His thesis centers on creating compelling and empathic performances through VR devices and sensory fusion.

Dr. Ivica Ico Bukvic is an associate professor at Virginia Tech's School of Performing Arts (SOPA) where he serves as the founder and director of the Digital Interactive Sound and Intermedia Studio (DISIS) and the Linux Laptop Orchestra (L2Ork), co-creator of the new Creative Technologies in Music program, Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology’s (ICAT) Senior Fellow, and a member of the Center for Human-Computer Interaction (CHCI) with a courtesy appointment in Computer Science. His research focus is on the ubiquitous interactivity and enabling creative technologies.

Lynn Abbott, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Video Games, Virtual Worlds, and Society

2016-11-18 at 08:30:00 in ICAT Learning Studio (253A) in the Moss Arts Center

Presenter: Dr. James D. Ivory

Abstract: Full title: "Video Games, Virtual Worlds, and Society: Overhyped Concerns, Underhyped Concerns, and Drawing Practical Guidance from a Convoluted Body of Research." Decades of research have explored the social role and potential behavioral effects of commercial video games, simulations, and virtual environments, with mixed results. The literature on topics such as the effects of violent games on aggression is marked by acrimonious disputes and conflicting findings. This presentation will share original findings and interpretations dealing with issues such as video games' effects, sex roles in online game interactions, antisocial and abusive online behavior, and the potential for simulations and virtual environments for prosocial good. Findings in research on video games, simulations, and virtual environments will also be presented as a prime example of chronic and urgent problems epidemic in the methods, analysis, reporting, and review of behavioral research.

Bio: Dr. James D. Ivory (Ph. D., Mass Communication, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) is an associate professor and director of research and outreach in the Department of Communication at Virginia Tech. His primary research interests deal with social and psychological dimensions of new media and communication technologies, particularly the content and effects of video games, virtual environments, and simulations. Dr. Ivory has served as head of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication's Communication Technology division and chair of the International Communication Association's Game Studies division.

Supporting Emergency Evacuations with Mobile and Crowd Technologies

2016-10-14 at 08:30:00 in ICAT Learning Studio (253A) in the Moss Arts Center

Presenter: Navid Falla and Dr Kurt Luther

Abstract: During emergencies like a natural disaster or active shooter, building occupants are often instructed to evacuate as quickly as possible. Yet, unfamiliar surroundings, panicked crowds, obstacles, and other factors pose many challenges to safe, efficient evacuation. New indoor navigation technologies could help overcome these challenges by directing people to safe paths and exits via their mobile devices. However, little is known about how to design interfaces for evacuation scenarios, or how users will respond to them. To find out more, we designed a smartwatch application that provides simulated turn-by-turn indoor directions in the Moss Arts Center and used it as a technology probe to understand users’ attitudes and behaviors. In two experiments and 45 participants, we compared smartwatch use and non-use in to highlight issues related to user experience, movement, trust, and attention in a variety of realistic evacuation scenarios. Our findings indicate that smartwatches can realistically improve evacuation safety, but there are important caveats. We also discuss possibilities for leveraging crowdsourced human intelligence to support more effective evacuations.

Bio: Dr. Kurt Luther (photo) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science, a member of the Center for Human–Computer Interaction, and a fellow of ICAT. He builds and studies crowdsourcing systems that support creativity and discovery. Many of his current projects focus on crowdsourced sensemaking, data analysis, and investigation. Previously, he was a postdoctoral fellow in the HCI Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. He received his Ph.D. in Human-Centered Computing from Georgia Tech. His undergraduate degree is from Purdue University. He has also worked at Microsoft Research, IBM Research, and YouTube.

Navid Falla is a PhD student in Human-Centered Design program. He has a background in architecture and design, with an undergraduate degree in architecture from Iran, a Masters in Landscape Architecture at Virginia Tech and several years of professional work. Navid's interest is in interdisciplinary areas of work between architecture and design, social computing and crowdsourcing. He is working on ideas to incorporate crowdsourcing into the built environment.

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