About Gierad


I am a first-year PhD student at Carnegie Mellon'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? My research focuses on building and reimagining future 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, natural, and expressive.

Feel free to reach me at or view my CV here. My name is pronounced as "Girard" with no second "r."


04/14/14We won the Qualcomm Fellowship!
04/08/14One huge push for UIST
03/21/14Welcoming new PhDs for HCII Open House
03/20/14Yahoo Fellowship App w/ Chris, Done.
03/19/14Disney offered me to be an Imagineer!
03/13/14Lunch with Eric, Brainstorm on Projects
03/08/14Chris takes us to Construction Junction. Fun!
03/02/14Gieric Visits: Warhol and Oscar Viewing Party!
02/26/14IEEE Spectrum Visits, Film+Demos Fun
02/02/14Superbowl XLVII Party at Friendship House
01/31/14Hanged 70inch TVs in the Lab
01/21/14LG Visits, Bootstrapped Ideation Workshop
01/15/14FIGLab site is up.

Selected Masters Projects


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.


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.


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).


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: putting 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).


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.

Selected Undergraduate Projects



Gierad Laput, Tom Alexander

In March 2011, the first ever Ford IT Innovation Contest was launched. The contest's premise was that anyone at Ford IT can submit ideas in improving the way people work or those that would directly benefit the company. Tom Alexander and I decided to participate. We formed the idea of CrowdConnect, an IT platform that harnesses the intelligence, manpower, and diversity of crowds within Ford. Think of it as internal crowdsourcing inside a company with over 100,000+ employees.


Mobile Computing as an IT Service within Ford

Gierad Laput, David Mitchell, Randy Nunez

As a Researcher for mobile computing under the Ford IT Enterprise Technology Research group, I investigated various opportunities to use mobile computing to empower Ford's workforce. The primary question our group wanted to answer was: What mobile technologies are available that will provide Ford with access to information from anywhere, anytime, and any device? What would it take to build these capabilities and deliver them as an IT service?



Gierad Laput, David Sant, Greg Auner

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

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 (coursework for ECE 583)

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.


C.A.V.E from Scratch

Gierad Laput, David Sant, and Joe Smolinksi

In my first assignment as an REU for the Smart Sensors and Integrated Microsystems (SSIM) group at Wayne State University, they handed me with an enormous pile of metal struts, nuts, bolts, projectors, and a bunch of computer hardware. These pieces of parts were apparently components of a virtual reality system that was donated by Delphi to the university. The group's goal was to ultimately rebuild the system and use it as a tool to help in their research.


Web Projects

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).

Labs and Experimental Stuff


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

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.


HTML Transformations

Built using jQuery and CSS3 transform tags

A quick experiment on JS and CSS3 Transformations. It looks pretty cool, but maybe not very useful.


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.