SurfNet eBook & Simple Multi-Touch Chapter

We are excited to announce that the wonderful work of the SurfNet community has been published within an eBook called “SurfNet: Designing Digital Surface Applications”. It contains more than 20 chapters reporting on Canadian surface and multi-touch research, including a chapter by members of the vialab on the Simple Multi-Touch Toolkit. You can download the eBook at

SurfNet was a Canadian research network from 2010 to 2015 that supported over 400 students and resulted in more than 700 publications and presentations. Its goal was to improve the development, performance, and usability of software applications for surface computing environments including multi-touch screens, tabletops, and wall-sized displays.

Presenting TandemTable at Graphics Interface 2015

We are happy to announce that Erik Paluka and Christopher Collins are headed to Halifax, Nova Scotia to present their work on TandemTable at the Graphics Interface 2015 conference. Their paper, entitled “TandemTable: Supporting Conversations and Language Learning Using a Multi-Touch Digital Table”, encapsulates how the research activity in the vialab goes beyond just information visualization and deals with many different types of interfaces.

Princess Marconi of Italy visits the vialab

Princess Elettra Marconi Giovanelli of Italy

The members of the vialab research group had the pleasure to meet Princess Elettra Marconi Giovanelli of Italy when she visited our lab on June 24, 2014. She is the daughter of Marchese Guglielmo Marconi who received the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work in wireless communication. As part of her tour of North America to celebrate her father’s legacy and promote science and technology, Princess Elettra was interested to see demos of the type of research that we work on. Prior to her visit to UOIT, she visited Rutgers University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States. For the UOIT news article, visit this link.

UOIT HCI Research Day

UOIT HCI Research Day

We had a great time on Friday December 6, 2013, when the vialab hosted the UOIT HCI Research Day. Nine prominent researchers who specialize in Human-Computer Interaction and Information Visualization, visited UOIT and gave presentations to students and faculty. It was a fun day of demos and presentations. The visitors included Pierre Dragicevic, Petra Isenberg and Fanny Chevalier from INRIA, France, Michelle Zhou and Jeffrey Nichols from IBM Research, USA, Niklas Elmqvist from Purdue University, USA, Mark Hancock from University of Waterloo, Canada, and Jian Zhao from the University of Toronto, Canada.

The talks were:

  • Hybrid-Image Visualizations for Large Scale Viewing Environments by Petra Isenberg and Pierre Dragicevic,
  • System U: Computational Discovery of Personality Traits from Social Media to Deliver Hyper-Personalized Experience by Michelle Zhou and Jeffrey Nichols,
  • Action-as-Catalyst: The Role of Interaction for Big Data Analytics by Niklas Elmqvist,
  • Satisfying Interactive Needs on Multi-Touch Surfaces by Mark Hancock,
  • Visual Data Exploration: A Multi-Focus Approach by Jian Zhao, and
  • On the Semantics of Passwords and their Security Impact by Rafael Veras Guimaraes.

Along with the vialab, the UOIT Health Informatics, Gamer, and Visual Computing labs hosted demos and tours. We were honoured and excited to host these visitors and share a day of demos, talks, and research discussions with them!

Human-Centred Computing Lab

The University of Ontario Institute of Technology welcomes another lab to its list of facilities. Named the “Human-Centred Computing Lab”, this facility is meant and currently being used for various research studies that involve computing technology and humans. Co-directed by Dr. Christopher Collins, Dr. Jeremy Bradbury and Dr. Julie Thorpe, the lab also houses the necessary materials to do so, including new top-of-the-line eye tracking equipment.

Welcoming new nembers to the vialab

We would like to welcome four new students to the vialab. Hrim Mehta and Stephen McIntyre are our new M.Sc. graduate students, Kalev Sikes is our new SurfNet intern, and Taurean Scantlebury is a new senior honours student. Zachary Cook has finished his internship with us, but will be continuing with the lab as a senior honours student as well. This year will be exciting as Rafael Veras, who recently received his M.Sc. degree, will continue with the lab as its first Ph.D. student!

SMT Accepted as an Official Contributed Library to Processing

Processing Logo from

We are excited to announce that our Simple Multi-Touch (SMT) toolkit has been accepted as an official contributed library to Processing. SMT is designed to allow non-programmers to easily develop Processing sketches for touch interfaces. Processing users are now able to import the toolkit right from the library manager under the category ‘I/O’. If you would like to know more or contribute to our toolkit, check out the project page.

UIST 2012 Student Innovation Contest

This past summer, Erik Paluka, Meng-Wei (Daniel) Chang, and Zach Cook from the vialab entered the UIST Student Innovation Contest. The goal of the contest was to create novel interactions on state-of-the-art hardware. Synaptics provided them with a pre-production trackpad prototype that can detect pressure and location for up to five fingers. With this trackpad, the vialab members created an application prototype called “Multiple Independent Semantic Text Selection Using Pressure”, which allows users to quickly select multiple words, sentences, or paragraphs using multiple cursors and pressure. On October 8, 2012, Erik Paluka presented the group’s demo at UIST 2012 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

vialab member selected as finalist for prestigious Google scholarship

Brittany Kondo - Google Scholarship Finalist

We are happy to announce that a vialab member, Brittany Kondo, has been selected as a finalist for the Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship. Brittany is the first University of Ontario Institute of Technology student to be chosen for this prestigious scholarship. She flew to Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California for a networking retreat with other female post-secondary students from around the world. The retreat included workshops, speakers, panelists, breakout sessions and social activities scheduled over a couple of days.

UOIT Student Research Showcase 2012

Paluka - UOIT Research Showcase 2012

On August 23, 2012, Erik Paluka presented his research poster at UOIT’s Student Research Showcase 2012. This event brings UOIT undergraduate students together to present and discuss the research projects they have been working on with faculty supervisors throughout the year. His poster, entitled “Learning In Tandem: Augmenting Tandem Language Learning With Technology”, described his senior honours undergraduate thesis, which was supervised by Dr. Christopher Collins.

| © Copyright vialab | Dr. Christopher Collins, Canada Research Chair in Linguistic Information Visualization |