Faculty members awarded Strategic Grant from NSERC

Two Mechanical Engineering faculty members and their co-investigator have been awarded a Strategic Grant from the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) for their proposed work in improving human-computer interaction.

The project, entitled “HALO: Transparent Guidance of Networked Interactions through a Haptic-Affect Loop,” will be investigated by Drs. Karon Maclean (Associate Professor in Computer Science and a recently reappointed Associate in Mechanical Engineering), Elizabeth Croft (Professor in Mechanical Engineering) and Joanna McGrenere (Associate Professor in Computer Science).

The project will address a challenge many people face – sensory and cognitive overload from computers, phones, iPods and all of the other interfaces we deal with from day-to-day to receive networked information and communications. The core innovation is the Haptic-Affect Loop (HALO), which will sense the users reaction to an environment or situation to trigger positive changes while providing immediate, unintrusive feedback to the user about the change through vibro-tactile signals. Ultimately this will lead to devices that will automatically respond to our changing needs and interests – in a truly personalized way.