I direct research and development of interaction technologies based on advancements in display technology, low-power and high-speed sensing, wearables, actuation, electronic textiles, and human—computer interaction. I am passionate about accelerating innovation and disruption through tools, techniques and devices that enable augmentation and empowerment of human abilities. Research interests include augmented reality, ubiquitous computing, mobile devices, 3D user interfaces, interaction techniques, interfaces for accessibility and health, medical imaging, and software/hardware prototyping.

These projects are from collaborations during my time at different research labs, including Google Research, MIT, Columbia University, University of California, KTH (Royal Institute of Technology), and Microsoft Research. I have taught at Stanford University, Rhode Island School of Design and KTH.

Research Projects Publications Google Scholar Open Source
Alex Olwal, Ph.D.
Staff Research Scientist, Google
olwal [at] acm.org
Alex Olwal

Haptics and Micro-robots
Grabity is a wearable haptic device that simulates kinesthetic pad opposition grip forces and weight for grasping virtual objects in VR. Mounted on index finger and thumb, it enables precision grasps with a wide range of motion.

Reconfigurable Tactile Elements are micro-robots that can be repositioned around a mobile device's edge for dynamic physical controls and haptic feedback. shiftIO implements this by utilizing magnetic locomotion through flexible PCB coils or bi-stable magnets.
Grabity: A Wearable Haptic Interface for Simulating Weight and Grasping in Virtual Reality
Choi, I., Culbertson, H., M.R., Olwal, A., and Follmer, S.
Proceedings of UIST 2017 - Best Paper Award (Top 1%) (ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology), Quebec City, ON, Oct 22-25, 2017, pp. 119-130.

UIST 2017 - Best Paper Award (Top 1%)
PDF [2.5MB]
shiftIO: Reconfigurable Tactile Elements for Dynamic Affordances and Mobile Interaction
Strasnick, E., Yang, J., Tanner, K., Olwal, A., and Follmer, S.
Proceedings of CHI 2017 - Best Paper Honorable Mention Award (Top 5%) (SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems), Denver, CO, May 6-11, 2017, pp. 5075-5086.

CHI 2017 - Best Paper Honorable Mention Award (Top 5%)
PDF [0.5MB]
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