Empower Research Lab

Our lab does research in human-centered design, human-computer/machine interaction, personal informatics, ubiquitous computing, and social computing. Our high-level goal is to develop interactive technologies that promote personal and planetary welfare. The group's research style blends creativity, innovation, and critical reflection with practical application and translational implementation.

We undertake projects that focus on advancing various aspects of this process, to:
(a) increase our fundamental scientific understanding about human behaviors and lived experiences with respect to a given domain of interest,
(b) use such insights to inform the design of novel systems that aim to improve targeted outcomes, and
(c) build and deploy these tools to study the impact in real-world settings and scenarios.

This iterative, “full stack” strategy enhances our ability to assess the merit, feasibility, and efficacy of an envisioned system, while foregrounding a deep empathy for the role of technology in a given context. This also means our research is inherently interdisciplinary, integrating perspectives and techniques from both technical and humanistic fields. In these ways, we strive to make empirical, methodological, technical, and theoretical contributions.

Overall, our projects span multiple domains, methods, people, contexts, and interaction paradigms. While not an exhaustive set, each project is tagged to reflect what problems it targets and which sociotechnical approaches we employ to develop solutions, as well as who might use or be impacted by such engineered technologies, where that technology would be used, and how people will interact with and through the technology.

mental health sleep behavior change education early development computational thinking creativity sustainability civics usable programming privacy equity & ethics ...

data mining information retrieval machine learning NLP mHealth sensing interviews surveys ethnography lab experiment field study user study qualitative quantitative ...

Population / user group:
children families older adults patients designers workers ...

cars clinical schools indoor spaces urban built environment nature ...

Interaction paradigm:
augmented & virtual reality games & play haptics music narrative smartphones social media social robots tangibles visualization voice wearables ...


We are currently (May 2022) in the process of updating and rearchitecting our website, including project details — stay tuned!