About Gierad


I am a 2nd year PhD student at Carnegie Mellon University's Human-Computer Interaction Institute at the School of Computer Science.

What happens when devices become smaller and increasingly powerful, weaving computation into the fabric of our everyday lives? I build and reimagine novel sensing, interactions, and interfaces beyond mouse, keyboard and the current limitations of touch screens, because we are capable of doing things with our hands and bodies that are more intuitive, fluid, and expressive.


Mailing Address
Gierad Laput
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

CV / Resume


Mar 01Acoustruments wins Best Paper Award at CHI 2015
Feb 02Apple visits FIGLab
Jan 22Sending off Ishan: Lab dinner at Udipi. Bowling afterparty.
Jan 05Back at the FIGLab. Projects for 2015 in full swing.
Dec 29Gizmodo names Skin Buttons Top 7 UI/UX Innovations for 2014
Dec 27Ice skating at Campus Martius. I survived!
Dec 24Holiday collaborative cooking. White Christmas in Michigan.
Dec 23Detroit Zoo Wild Lights, then after, after party.
Dec 16Back in Berkeley. Catching up with Eric, Amy, Cesar, and Valkyrie.
Dec 15In Sunnyvale for Yahoo! Fellows Day
Dec 14CHI 2015 notifications are out. Two papers accepted.
Dec 12Fabrication final projects, done.
Nov 30Driving to Michigan for Thanksgiving. Real Christmas tree is up!

Latest Research


Skin Buttons: Cheap, Small, Low-Power and Clickable Fixed-Icon Laser Projections

Gierad Laput, Robert Xiao, Xiang ‘Anthony’ Chen, Scott Hudson, Chris Harrison (UIST 2014)

Smartwatches are a promising new platform, but their small size makes even basic actions cumbersome. Hence, there is a great need for approaches to allow human input to escape the small physical confines of the device. We propose using tiny projectors integrated into the smartwatch to render icons on the user’s skin. These icons can be made touch sensitive, significantly expanding the interactive region without increasing device size.


CommandSpace: Modeling the Relationships Between Tasks, Descriptions and Features

Eytan Adar, Mira Dontcheva, Gierad Laput (UIST 2014)

Users often describe what they want to accomplish with an application in a language that is very different from the application's domain language. To address this gap between system and human language, we propose modeling an application's domain language by mining a large corpus of Web documents about the application using deep learning techniques. A high dimensional vector space representation can model the relationships between user tasks, system commands, and natural language descriptions and supports mapping operations. We demonstrate the feasibility of this approach with a system, CommandSpace, for the popular photo editing application Adobe Photoshop.


Expanding the Input Expressivity of Smartwatches Using Mechanical Pan, Twist, Tilt, and Click

Robert Xiao, Gierad Laput, Chris Harrison (CHI 2014)

Smartwatches promise to bring enhanced convenience to common communication, creation and information retrieval tasks. Due to their prominent placement on the wrist, they must be small and otherwise unobtrusive, which limits the sophistication of interactions we can perform. We propose a complementary input approach: using the watch face as a multi-degree- of-freedom, mechanical interface. We developed a proof of concept smartwatch that supports continuous 2D panning and twist, as well as binary tilt and click. We developed a series of example applications, many of which are cumbersome – or even impossible – on today’s smartwatch devices.


Pixel-Based Methods for Widget State and Style in a Runtime Implementation of Sliding Widgets

Morgan Dixon, Gierad Laput, James Fogarty (CHI 2014)

We present new pixel‑based methods for modifying existing interfaces at runtime, and we use our methods to explore Moscovich et al.’s Sliding Widgets in real‑world interfaces.


PixelTone: A Multimodal Interface for Image Editing

G. Laput, M. Dontcheva, G. Wilensky, W. Chang, A. Agarwala, J. Linder, and E. Adar (CHI 2013)

Photo editing can be a challenging task, and it becomes even more difficult on the small, portable screens such as camera phones that are now frequently used to edit images. To address this problem we present PixelTone, a multimodal photo editing interface that combines speech and direct manipulation.


Tutorial-based Interfaces for Cloud-enabled Applications

Gierad Laput, Eytan Adar, Mira Dontcheva, and Wilmot Li (UIST 2012)

Powerful image editing software like Adobe Photoshop and GIMP have complex interfaces that can be hard to master. To help users perform image editing tasks, we introduce tutorial-based applications (tapps) that retain the step-by-step structure and descriptive text of tutorials but can also automatically apply tutorial steps to new images. Thus, tapps can be used to batch process many images automatically, similar to traditional macros. Tapps also support interactive exploration of parameters, automatic variations, and direct manipulation (e.g., selection, brushing).

More Documented Projects


Exploring Borrowing Patterns at Kiva.org

Gierad Laput (Coursework for SI 649 - InfoViz)

This visualization uncovers the relationship between Kiva borrowers and how their borrowing patterns are distributed across time. Is there a lending pattern among Kiva users? What times of the week, month, or year do Kiva users tend to borrow more? Is this pattern common across other countries? I am interested to know when borrowers often need the money. By uncovering this question, I can synchronize my lending habits to match this pattern, and make more intelligent anticipations.


StoryCubes: connecting elders in independent living through storytelling

Gierad Laput, Yiying Lin, Micah Linnemeir, and Ramachandra Vijjapurapu (CHI 2012)

One's home is often a place that reflects and affirms one's identity, but when an elderly person moves to a group living environment, they must re-assert themselves and make new social connections in a place that may inadvertently frame them in terms of their disabilities. We present StoryCubes, a system that helps residents of independent living communities make connections through sharing stories, and express their identity in terms of their unique background, interests, and values.


Contextual Inquiry for NOAA-funded SeaGrant

Naomi Herman-Aplet, Wei-Tzu Huang, Andrew Katz, and Gierad Laput

This is a Contextual Inquiry project for Michigan SeaGrant, a non-profit inter-university research organization focusing on the coastal resources within the Great Lakes. Michigan SeaGrant approached our group to seek guidance on identifying the potential ways to improve the information and communication flow within their organization. They expressed challenges on the internal workflow processes within their group. They were also seeking for guidance on effective ways of using technology to help them accomplish tasks and become more efficient with their roles.


Bridging the gap from knowledge to action: analytics in the hands of academic advisors

Steve Lonn, Andrew Krumm, Joe Waddington, Stephanie Teasley, and Gierad Laput

Augmenting student intervention for high-risk STEM students using analytics data from learning management systems. This work is part of a larger project at the University of Michigan USE Lab. The project focuses on identifying high-risk engineering students through analytics acquired from learning management systems (i.e. CTools, Sakai).


Print and Screen Graphic Design

Gierad Laput (coursework for SI 520 - Graphic Design)

This is a compilation of selected works and assignments from my Graphic Design class. It's a collection of web, mobile, and print graphic design projects.


An Autoethnographic Analysis of Nike+GPS

Gierad Laput (coursework on SI688 - Fundamentals of Human Behavior)

This paper is a critique and analysis of Nike+GPS. This project is a semester-long introspective study on a selected interactive system, analyzed through the lens of fundamental human behavior and human-computer interaction. The goal of the study is to provide a critique of the system from personal experience using concepts learned from SI 688 - Fundamentals of Human Behavior.


Signal Analysis of Raman Spectrogram for Bacteria Detection

Gierad Laput, David Sant, Greg Auner (2008)

The researchers at the Smart Sensors and Integrated Microsystems (SSIM) group at Wayne State University needed a faster and more efficient way to analyze hundreds of bacteria samples digitized using Raman spectroscopy. BacLearner was a developed to directly address this need. By using C# as the user interface framework and calling MATLAB functions to perform analysis via Dynamic-Link Libraries (DLL's), BacLearner was able to incorporate the best of both worlds.


Zone Maps for Vehicle Detection

Zheng Zhong, Gierad Laput, and Yi Lu Murphey (2008)

As an undergraduate research assistant for the Intelligent Systems research group at the University of Michigan - Dearborn, I developed a probabilistic model to reduce false alarm occurrences that were inherent with the group's vehicle detection system. I observed that some false alarms were detected in sections of the camera viewport where a vehicle is highly unlikely to be spotted.


Applications for Back-propagation Learning: Neural Networks in Action

Gierad Laput (ECE 583, 2008)

As an elective for my Bachelor's degree, I took a graduate-level class in Neural Networks and found it to be extremely exciting. In one of the final assignments, we were individually asked to apply and evaluate back-propagation in solving several types of problems that include classification, function estimation, and time-series prediction.


Karaoke Manifesto

Kikko Paradela and Gierad Laput

In this project, I collaborated with Kikko Paradela to build an interactive installation for an Open House event at the College for Creative Studies. He was given the "Design Select" award among his graduating class, which gave him an opportunity convey the message of his design works through a Karaoke System at the Open House. In this work, I was involved with piecing together the technical aspects of the Karaoke System, which includes Scoring and programmatically coordinating various screen views.


Consumer Democracy

Kikko Paradela, Scott Waraniak, and Gierad Laput (2006)

This project is a collaboration with Kikko Paradela and Scott Waraniak from the College for Creative Studies. As a class project, the goal was to build an interactive installation to promote awareness on the interplay between producers and consumers in shaping the economies of products.


Web Projects (Volunteer)

These projects were done during my time as a freelance web designer

I am forever indebted to Mr. Adam Edson Silva for introducing me to HTML in 2002, and for putting up with my seemingly unending barrage of questions. There was something about typing stuff in notepad and witnessing the browser translate it into a beautiful page that continues to fascinate me up to this day. These are selections of web development and design projects that I've been involved (as a freelance designer and on my free time).


Redesigning Gierad.com

This is an account of the process behind the redesign of [this] website. The goal is to give you (the reader) a glimpse of the process with the rationale that it would instill a greater appreciation of the research, design, and development involved in crafting an interactive system. The final product itself is merely a residue of the long, methodical, and incremental process behind its construction.