We are a human-computer interaction research lab contributing new methods, tools, and technologies for creating novel interactive systems and technologies.

We have a history of building and studying next-generation user interfaces, involving touch, gesture, speech, multi-modal, multi-device interactions, and now virtual, augmented, and mixed reality interfaces. When studying these interfaces, our focus is on improving both the designers’ and end-users’ experience through novel ways of creating and using them.

We thank our sponsors for supporting the research below.

At CHI 2022, PhD student Shwetha Rajaram presented the Paper Trail system designed to support the creation of AR enhanced instructional materials in a variety of STEM fields.

Current Research Topics

Our research group is currently pursuing three major research themes:

  • Democratizing XR development: In a series of new systems, we are exploring different ways of enabling designers and domain experts to create new AR/VR experiences without significant training in 3D programming, animation, or modeling.
  • Instructional XR experiences: As part of our involvement in the U-M wide XR initiative, we are investigating new techniques and tools for creating immersive instructional materials making use of XR technology to facilitate training and learning.
  • Safe and accessible XR applications: We are constantly exploring new, promising applications of XR. Our current efforts are focused on improving collaboration, and making XR more accessible and safe, by incorporating accessibility and privacy principles into design.

Recent Work

Here, we summarize recent contributions to ACM CHI, the premier conference in the human-computer interaction field:

  • Enhancing lecture materials with immersive content: With Paper Trail, we designed and studied an immersive authoring system that allows instructors to create AR powered lecture materials from paper-based resources, enhancing them with virtual and interactive content in AR so that students can better visualize and understand complex lecture topics. We designed Paper Trail to support both hand-held and head-worn AR and our studies with high-school instructors showed benefits with using hand-held AR for creating and capturing immersive lecture materials and head-worn AR for visualizing and interacting with the enhanced lecture materials.
  • Virtual production of immersive lectures: With XRStudio, we created a virtual production and live streaming system for immersive instructional experiences. XRStudio equips instructors interested in using VR for teaching with tools and infrastructure to record or live stream lectures in VR. Students can access these VR lectures with or without VR devices using different output channels including mixed reality capture, 3D desktop, mobile AR, or fully immersive VR.
  • Mixed reality user studies: With MRAT, we created a mixed reality analytics toolkit, designed to support user evaluations on AR/VR devices, eliciting a diverse set of requirements and presented general concepts and techniques to collect, pre-process, and visualize mixed reality user data.
  • Collaborative immersive authoring: With XRDirector, we created a role-based, multi-user immersive authoring system that adapts roles familiar from filmmaking to coordinate multiple AR/VR designers and characterize the issues related to spatial coordination.
  • Key barriers to entry for novice XR creators: We conducted an interview study with 21 participants elaborating on their practices and challenges making use of current XR technologies and tools and explored opportunities for better end-user programming support.

Earlier Research

Over the first three years at U-M, the lab has worked on cross-device interfaces, multi-modal interaction, and AR/VR. Our systems research contributions include ProtoAR [CHI’18] and 360proto [CHI’19] for rapid prototyping of AR/VR interfaces using cross-device authoring, 360Anywhere [EICS’18] for 360 video based collaboration using mixed reality, GestureWiz [CHI’18] for using Wizard of Oz and crowdsourcing in gesture design and recognition tasks. Using the knowledge from building these systems, the lab has also been working on conceptual frameworks and new ways of thinking about future interfaces’ design through contributions such as What is Mixed Reality? [CHI’19 Best Paper Honorable Mention], The Trouble with AR/VR Authoring Tools [ISMAR’18 Adj.], Playing the Tricky Game of Toolkits Research [CHI’17 HCI.Tools Workshop], and studies on creating cross-device AR experiences resulting in XD-AR [EICS’18 Best Paper Award] as well as user-driven design principles for gesture representations [CHI’18].

We keep an archive of our previous research here.

Major Publications (since starting the lab at U-M in 2016)

For the full list of publications, please check Google Scholar and DBLP.

  1. Paper Trail: An Immersive Authoring System for Augmented Reality Instructional Experiences CHI’22
    S. Rajaram, M. Nebeling
  2. XRStudio: A Virtual Production and Live Streaming System for Immersive Instructional Experiences CHI’21
    M. Nebeling, S. Rajaram, L. Wu, Y. Cheng, J. Herskovitz
  3. XRDirector: A Role-Based Collaborative Immersive Authoring System CHI’20
    M. Nebeling, K. Lewis, Y-C. Chang, L. Zhu, M. Chung, P. Wang, J. Nebeling
  4. MRAT: The Mixed Reality Analytics Toolkit CHI’20
    M. Nebeling, M. Speicher, X. Wang, S. Rajaram, B.D. Hall, Z. Xie, A.R.E. Raistrick, M. Aebersold, E.G. Happ, J. Wang, Y. Sun, L. Zhang, L. Ramsier, R. Kulkarni
  5. Creating Augmented and Virtual Reality Applications: Current Practices, Challenges, and Opportunities CHI’20
    N. Ashtari, A. Bunt, J. McGrenere, M. Nebeling, P.K. Chilana
  6. iGYM: An Interactive Floor Projection System for Inclusive Exergame Environments CHI PLAY’19
    R. Graf, P. Benawri, A.E. Whitesall, D. Carichner, Z. Li, M. Nebeling, H.S. Kim
  7. What is Mixed Reality? CHI’19
    M. Speicher, B.D. Hall, M. Nebeling
  8. 360proto: Making Interactive Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality Prototypes from Paper CHI’19
    M. Nebeling, K. Madier
  9. ProtoAR: Rapid Physical-Digital Prototyping of Mobile Augmented Reality Applications CHI’18
    M. Nebeling, J. Nebeling, A. Yu, R. Rumble
  10. GestureWiz: A Human-Powered Gesture Design Environment for User Interface Prototypes CHI’18
    M. Speicher, M. Nebeling
  11. User-Driven Design Principles for Gesture Representations CHI’18
    E. McAweeney, H. Zhang, M. Nebeling
  12. XD-AR: Challenges and Opportunities in Cross-Device Augmented Reality Application Development EICS’18
    M. Speicher, B.D. Hall, A. Yu, B. Zhang, H. Zhang, J. Nebeling, M. Nebeling
  13. 360Anywhere: Mobile Ad-hoc Collaboration in Any Environment using 360 Video and Augmented Reality EICS’18
    M. Speicher, J. Cao, A. Yu, H. Zhang, M. Nebeling
  14. XDBrowser 2.0: Semi-Automatic Generation of Cross-Device Interfaces CHI’17
    M. Nebeling