I design and develop interactions and technologies that embrace digital and physical experiences. I am specifically interested in tools, techniques and devices that enable new interaction concepts for the augmentation and empowerment of human abilities. This includes 3D user interfaces, interaction techniques, augmented reality, mixed reality, virtual reality, ubiquitous computing, mobile devices, novel interfaces for medical imaging, multimodal systems, touch-screen interaction, and software/hardware prototyping.

The research projects are from exciting times and inspiring collaborations at different research labs and institutions, including MIT, Columbia University, University of California, KTH (Royal Institute of Technology), and Microsoft Research. I have taught at Stanford University, Rhode Island School of Design and KTH.

Research Projects » Publications » Google Scholar »
Alex Olwal, Ph.D.
Sr Research Scientist, Google
olwal [at] acm.org
Alex Olwal

Haptics and Micro-robots
Grabity is a wearable haptic device that simulates kinesthetic pad opposition grip forces and weight for grasping virtual objects in VR. Mounted on index finger and thumb, it enables precision grasps with a wide range of motion.

Reconfigurable Tactile Elements are micro-robots that can be repositioned around a mobile device's edge for dynamic physical controls and haptic feedback. shiftIO implements this by utilizing magnetic locomotion through flexible PCB coils or bi-stable magnets.
Grabity: A Wearable Haptic Interface for Simulating Weight and Grasping in Virtual Reality
Choi, I., Culbertson, H., M.R., Olwal, A., and Follmer, S.
Proceedings of UIST 2017 - Best Paper Award (Top 1%) (ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology), Quebec City, ON, Oct 22-25, 2017, pp. 119-130.

UIST 2017 - Best Paper Award (Top 1%)
PDF [2.5MB]
shiftIO: Reconfigurable Tactile Elements for Dynamic Affordances and Mobile Interaction
Strasnick, E., Yang, J., Tanner, K., Olwal, A., and Follmer, S.
Proceedings of CHI 2017 - Best Paper Honorable Mention Award (Top 5%) (SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems), Denver, CO, May 6-11, 2017, pp. 5075-5086.

CHI 2017 - Best Paper Honorable Mention Award (Top 5%)
PDF [0.5MB]
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