Contact Information: // SCI E108 // Wellesley College, MA


Orit Shaer

Orit Shaer is the Class of 1966 Associate Professor of Computer Science and co-director of the Media Arts and Sciences Program at Wellesley College. She found and directs the Wellesley College Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) Lab. Her research focuses on next generation user interfaces including virtual and augmented reality, tangible, gestural, tactile, and multi touch interaction. Current projects funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and by industry grants include the design and evaluation of smart environments for collaborative decision-making, the design and evaluation of novel interactive visualizations for personal genomics, the development of computational tools for enhancing learning and innovation in bio-design, and the conceptualization and prototyping of interactive STEM exhibits for discovery museums. Shaer received her PhD and MSc in Computer Science from Tufts University. She has been a research fellow in the Design Machine Group at the University of Washington and in the University College London Interaction Center.

Dr Shaer is a recipient of several NSF and industry awards including the prestigious NSF CAREER Award, Agilent Technologies Research Award, and Google App Engine Education Award. At Wellesley she was awarded the Pinanski Prize for Excellent Teaching. Dr Shaer has served on dozens of program committees, editorial boards, and review panels, including NSF division of Computers in Science and Engineering, ACM CHI, CSCW, UIST, and TEI conferences, and the editorial board of Foundations and Trends in Human Computer Interaction. She currently serves as co-Program Chair for ACM TEI 2017. She chaired the ACM conference on Interactive Surfaces and Tabletops (2012).

Full CV




August 2016, new NSF-funded collaborative project with Tufts' Dev Tech group: "Making the Invisible Tangible: Reimagining Science Education in Kindergarten through Reality-Based Interfaces".

May 2016, our workshop on Tangible Interaction for Health was held at CHI 2016, in San Jose, CA.

March 2016, my piece Beyond ‘Pink’ Games: Industry and Academia Must Work Together To Engage Women Gamers and Developers appeared in the Huffington Post.

February 2016, I was the keynote speaker for IsraCHI.

January 2016, our paper GenomiX: A Novel Interaction Tool for Self-Exploration of Personal Genomic Data was accepted to CHI 2016.

November 2015, NSF awarded a computing infrastructre grant for our new advanced interactive visualization facility.

November 2015, I shared book recommendation with Interactions Magazine - What Are You Reading.

September 2015, our collaborative iGEM team with the Tech Museum of Innovation was awarded Gold Medal for the project BackPack for New Frontiers.

August 2015, our paper on the impact of integrating social commenting to online consent forms was accepted to CSCW 2016.

May 2015, our paper Informing the Design of Direct-to-Consumer Interactive Personal Genomics Reports, in collaboration with Harvard's Personal Genome Progect, was accepted for publication in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

March 2015, a new and exciting collaboration with The Tech Museum of Innovation . Developing a new interactive exhibit about bio-design. We will also co-instruct a collaborative iGEM 2015 team.

September 2014, our Interactions Magazine article on HCI for Personal Genomics is now available online.

August 2014, NSF awarded a CHS grant for our project Human-computer interaction for personal genomics: understanding, informing, and empowering users.

June 2014, Wellesley Human-Computer Interaction Lab has a new blog where student researchers write about their projects and share their experiences.

May 2014, Wellesley Human-Computer Interaction Lab is featured in Interactions: A day in the Lab - WHCI.

February 2014, Our CHI 2014 paper on Exploring the Design Space of Gestural Interaction with Active Tokens through User-Defined Gestures has received Best Paper Award Honorable Mention (awarded to top 5% of papers).

November 2013, Our iGEM team has won a Gold Medal award.

October 2013, We opened our newly renovated Wellesley HCI Lab.

October 2013, Our GreenTouch project was featured in Google Research Blog.

May 2013, Received the Wellesley College Pinanski Teaching Prize.

May 2013, Our project "Evaluating the Benefits of Interactive 3D Stereo Displays for Biological Design" has been awarded an Agilent Technologies Research Award.

March 2013, Received Google App Engine Education Award.

February 2013, Our paper Enhancing Data-Driven Collaboration with Large-Scale Interactive Tabletops was accepted to the CHI'13 Workshop on Blended Interaction.

February 2013, Our paper A Tiered Evaluation Framework for Reality-Based Creativity Support Environments was accepted to the CHI'13 Workshop on Evaluating Creativity Support Systems.

February 2013, Our paper Waiting for Supermom: Opportunities for HCI was accepted to the CHI'13 Workshop on Motherhood and HCI.

December 2012, Our iGEM team was invited to present at the annual meeting of the Institute of Biological Engineering

November 2012, Our GreenTouch project has been awarded the Google App Engine Education Award.

November 2012, Our demo "From Wet Lab Bench to Tangible Virtual Experiment: SynFlo" was accepted for presentation at ACM TEI'13.

November 2012, Our iGEM 2012 project won a Gold Medal and was awarded Best SBOL Project, Best EUGENE Project awards.

October 2012, Our paper "From Big Data to Insights: Opportunities and Challenges for TEI in Genomics" was accepted to the ACM TEI'13 conference.

September 2012, Our paper "A Collaborative Environment for Engaging Novices in Scientific Inquiry" was accepted to ACM ITS 2012 conference.

September 2012, Two demos were accepted to ACM ITS 2012 conference: "MoClo Planner: Supporting Innovation in Bio-Design through Multitouch Interaction" and "SynFlo: An Interactive lnstallation Introducing Synthetic Biology Concepts".

June 2012, Agilent awarded funding for our project "Advancing Innovation in Bio-Design through Reality Based Interaction".

April 2012, My students presented their CS220 projects, mobile application for monitoring and learning about water quality, in the USA Science and Engineering Festival.

January 2012, NSF awarded a CAREER Award for our project "Advancing Innovation in Bio-Design through Reality Based Interaction".

January 2012, Chia Shen and I will chair the ACM Conference on Interactive Tabletops and Surfaces 2012 . We will host the conference in Cambridge, MA, November 11-14 2012.

December 2011, our paper on Phylo-Genie: Engaging Students in Collaborative Tree-Thinking through Tabletop Techniques was accepted to the ACM CHI 2012 conference.

November 2011, our iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine) competition team has won both Gold Medal and Best Software Project awards. check out our award winning project.

October 2011, my CS320 TUI students have won 2 prizes at the ACM UIST Student Innovation Contest. Check out these award winning projects: TUI.TAR (first place for creativity) and Where is Bo Peep(second place for usefulness).

August 2011, Our abstract on G-nome Surfer: a Tabletop Interface for Collaborative Exploration of Genomic Visualizations was accepted for BioVis 2011

June 2011, I moderated and presented in Mass High Tech's Emerging Technology Forum on Superhero tech

May 2011, our panel on "What if undergraduate computer science was taught in an all-female classroom? Lessons learned from the all-female classroom and how to translate into the coed environment" was acceppted to the Grace Hopper Celebration 2011.

April 2011, a joint team of the WCHCI lab and Boston University focuses this summer on creating novel bio-design automation tools coupled with creative human computer interfaces. We will compete in the Software Tools track of the iGEM competition.

April 2011, CS220 Human-Computer Interaction students have presented their projects: iPhone applications for the Wellesley community. Click here to see the projects.

March 2011, I read an excerpt from The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman for the What Wellesley's Reading podcast program.

February 2011, two papers were accepted to the ACM CHI workshops on "UI technology and educational pedagogy" and "Embodied interaction: theory and practice in HCI".

December 2010, our paper on Enhancing Genomic Learning through Tabletop Interaction was accepted to the ACM CHI 2011 conference.

December 2010, CS320 Tangible User Interfaces students have presented their projetcs. Click here to see the projects: from Superheros to the solar system.

December 2010, our paper Art App-reciation: Fostering engagement and reflection in museums through a social mobile application, was accepted for the Museums and the Web 2011 conference.

October 2010, the Wellesley College HCI Lab has a new website. Click here to learn more about the HCI lab: ongoing research, team, and oppurtunities for students.

September 2010, our research proposal on "Enhancing Genomic Exploration through Reality-Based Interaction" has been awarded funding from the NSF IIS division.

August 2010, the WCHCI Lab summer research students shared their results with the community at a poster session celebrating the end of the Wellesley College Summer Research program.Click here to read about summer research topics at Wellesley.

August 2010, our research on increasing engagement in museums through social mobile applications is featured in the Boston Globe. Click here to read the article.

May 2010, CS220 HCI students presented their projects - iPhone applications for the Wellesley community. Click here to see the projects.

March 2010, a survey paper about Tangible User Interfaces: Past, Present, and Future Directions that I co-authored with Eva Hornecker was accepted for publication in the journal of Foundations and Trends of Human-Computer Interaction.

February 2010, Our paper on Leveraging Gesture and Voice Data to Improve Group Brainstorming for accepted as a Work in Progress paper to the ACM CHI 2010 conference.

January 2010, Our paper on G-nome Surfer: a Tabletop Interface for Collaborative Exploration of Genomic Data was accepted to the ACM CHI 2010 conference.

December 2009, CS349 TUI students presented their projects on the Microsoft Surface and LilyPad Arduino. Click here to see the projects.

July 2009, Our paper on a Specification Paradigm for the Design and Implementation of Tangible User Interfaces was accepted for publication in the ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI).

March 2009, Honda R&D sponsors a User Interface Design Competetion for Wellesley Students enrolled in CS249: Human-Computer Interaction.

January 2009, I serve as a Program Co-Chair for TEI 2010,the international conference on Tangible and Embedded Interaction.

August 2008, I am co-editting an ACM TOCHI special issue on User Interface Description Languages for Next Generation User Interfaces, with Rob Jacob, Mark Green, and Kris Luyten. Submissions are due November 7th 2008.

July 2008, Our paper on Teaching Tangible Interaction in Practice will appear in AIEDAM Special Issue on Tangible Interaction for Design , Spring 2009.