Guest Lecture on Interacting with the Embodied Mind

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Interacting with the Embodied Mind

Francis QuekSpeaker: Francis Quek, Professor, Virginia Tech

9:30 AM, Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Allen Auditorium, Allen Library
University of Washington, Seattle campus


Humans do not think like computers. Our minds are 'designed' for us to function as embodied beings in the world in ways that are: 1. Physical-Spatial; 2. Temporal-Dynamic; 3 Social-Cultural; and 4. Affective-Emotional. These aspects of embodiment give us four lenses to understand the embodied mind and how technology may support its function. I adopt a two-pronged approach to human-computer interaction research.  First, I harness technological means to contribute to the understanding of how embodiment ultimately ascends into mind. Second, I employ my four-lens model of embodiment to inform the design and engineering of technologies that augment human higher psychological processes of learning, sense-making, creating, and experiencing.

In line with the first approach, I shall first show how language, as a core human capacity, is rooted in embodied function. We will see that mental imagery shapes multimodal (gesture, gaze, and speech) human discourse. In line with the second approach, I shall then present an assemblage of projects in the light of our four embodiment lenses. Projects cluster around three application domains, namely 1. Technology for special populations (e.g. mathematics instruction and reading for the blind, and games for older adults); 2. Learning and Education (e.g. learning and knowledge discovery through device/display ecologies and creativity support for children); and 3. Experience (e.g. socially-based information access, image personalization and affective communication)

About the Speaker

Francis Quek is currently a Professor of Computer Science at Virginia Tech. He directs the Vision Interfaces and Systems Laboratory at the CHCI. Previously, he has been the Director of the Virginia Tech University-level Center for Human-Computer Interaction, and has been affiliated with Wright State University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, the University of Michigan, and Hewlett-Packard. Francis received both his B.S.E. summa cum laude (1984) and M.S.E. (1984) in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan.  He completed his Ph.D. in Computer Science at the same university in 1990. Francis is a member of the IEEE and ACM.

He performs highly interdisciplinary research mainly in embodied interaction, notably related to language and discourse (e.g. multimodal verbal/non-verbal interaction), education (e.g. sensemaking, creative storytelling), special populations (individuals who are blind, children, older adults) and human experience (e.g. affective communication). His other research crosses into medical imaging, computer vision and computer graphics. He has published over 150 peer-reviewed journal and conference articles in human-computer interaction, computer vision, and medical imaging.