Human Computer Interface Technology

A New Multi-University Course
sponsored by the
National Science Foundation

This web page is intended to be a general source of information concerning the Human Computer Interface Design class that will be taught beginning in the fall of 1999 at three participating universities.

Course Description

This course, designed for Electrical Engineers and Computer Scientists, is an introduction to the rapidly expanding area of human-computer interface design. This includes topics ranging from cutting-edge computer controllers and 3D audio and video displays to real-time signal mapping from computer input to output. The course will be taught over the Internet (VBNS and Internet 2), allowing students to learn about and participate in the virtual reality / multimedia research of many different universities and research labs.

Demonstration applications will be used throughout all the lectures in the course to provide an opportunity for the students to see the principles discussed in the lectures. For example:

The Human Computer Interface

The field of human computer interaction (HCI) covers all aspects of how people communicate and interact with computer systems. It encompasses many disciplines including engineering, computer science, social science, human factors, and psychology. This course teaches students about a subset of HCI known as the human computer interface. Its focus is on how information about the human is delivered to the computer (computer controllers), how information about the computer is delivered to the human (computer displays), and how these inputs and outputs can be customized to an individual user or application.

Participating Professors

The Participating Professors:

Participating Companies and Organizations

Participating and Supporting Companies and Organizations:

Lecture and Laboratory Schedule: Fall 1999

Lectures will incorporate cutting-edge material from the participating professors' research in addition to the fundamentals of human computer interfacing. The following schedule covers the lectures shared by all universities. Links to additional materials for the individual schools are listed below the table.

Date Lecture Speaker Lab Topic
September 22 Overview of the Class / Project Descriptions All Professors .
September 27 Human Computer Interfaces: Introduction Verplank .
September 29 Design of Input Devices Zhai .Lab #1: Input Devices: Human Factors
October 4 Principles of Sensors Knapp .Lab #2: Input Devices: Sensors
October 6 Signal Conditioning / Preprocessing / Data Acquisition Knapp .
October 11 BioMuse and Radio Baton Controllers Knapp, Cook Lab #3: Input Devices: Radio Baton and BioMuse
October 13 Design of MusicControllers Cook .
October 18 Pattern Recognition Duda Lab #4: Data Analysis and Pattern Recognition
October 20 Feature Selection/Data Clustering Duda .
October 25 Fuzzy/Neural Pattern Recognition Knapp Lab #5: Fuzzy Pattern Recognition
October 27 Fuzzy/Neural Pattern Recognition Knapp .
November 1 Princeton Midterm Break / Project Work at Stanford . .
November 3 Princeton Midterm Break / Project Work at Stanford . .
November 8 Interfaces for People with Disabilities Jaffe .
November 10 Realtime Computing Cook .
November 15 Sound Synthesis Cook Lab #6: Sound Synthesis and 3D Audio
November 17 Haptics at the User Interface 3-D Audio Duda .
December 24 Control in Graphical User Interfaces Zhai .Lab #7: Visualization/Virtual Environments
December 29 Control in Graphical User Interfaces Zhai .
December 1 TBA (Project Presentations) . .
December 8 Project Presentations / Indep. Work . .
December 10 Project Presentations / Indep. Work . .

Each university may have special schedule additions:

Homework Assignments

You can find the homework assignments via the following links:

Due dates are university specific:


You can find the examinations via the following links:


The equipment used for the experiments is based on Pentium PCs. All Universities supply the following hardware peripherals and software. Individual sites may have additional equipment, depending upon the interests of the instructors.

Hardware (P6 PC):


Equipment information for each university is linked:

Time and Place

All Universities: The course will be taught on Mondays and Wednesdays at 10:30AM - Noon Pacific Time, 1:30PM - 3:00PM Eastern Time, beginning on September 22 and ending on December 1.

In addition, each university has additional time considerations:

Assignments, Exams, and Grading

The grading in this course will be based on the evaluation of the following:

The exact grading percentages may vary among universities:

Final Project

The goal of this course is for the students, working in teams, to propose a new human computer interface or an improvement to an existing interface to solve a particular problem. Inter-University teams are encouraged. Applications include interfaces for persons with disabilities, musical controllers, sports monitors and improved interfaces, and interfaces for virtual environments. It is expected that most projects will lead to a completed (though rough in most cases) prototype.

University specific:


All Universities: Advanced undergrad or beginning Masters student in Electrical/Computer Engineering or Computer Science or equivalent background.

In addition, review the following specifics:


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Last updated: 09/03/99