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HCDE Professors Leah Findlater and Sean Munson receive Google Research Awards

March 30, 2020

Leah Findlater and Sean Munson, both associate professors in the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering, have received Google Faculty Research Awards for their work in human-computer interaction.

The highly competitive awards program funded about 15% of its applicants this year. These awards recognize and support faculty performing world-class technical research in areas of interest to Google. Each award provides funding to support one graduate student for a year.

Findlater headshotLeah Findlater
Associate Professor, Human Centered Design & Engineering

Bridging the Lab to Field Gap: Design and Deployment of Head-mounted Display Sound Feedback for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Users

Leah Findlater researches how wearable technologies can improve access to spoken communication for people who are deaf and hard of hearing. With her collaborators in the Inclusive Design Lab, Findlater has conducted promising studies using head-mounted display technologies to provide glanceable and discreet sound awareness. This project proposes moving studies of this technology outside of the lab and into the field to explore how deaf and hard of hearing participants may use head-mounted displays in everyday life, and to examine differences across social and environmental contexts. 

Munson headshotSean Munson
Associate Professor, Human Centered Design & Engineering

PhoneBalance: Tools for Supporting Families in Self-Nudging Smartphone Use

Sean Munson and Kai Lukoff, a PhD student in HCDE, are researching how people "self-nudge" their smartphone use behavior into alignment with their goals. Many families are finding that their attention on smartphones can interfere with their productivity, health, and social interactions. Prior research in the field has shown ways developers can build tools to influence people to reduce their screen time, but Lukoff and Munson are interested in the creative strategies that families are taking to modify their own behavior. Through this project, Lukoff and Munson will interview families about their concerns and behavior, and develop prototypes of a program that will teach families how to construct their own smartphone environment to best fit their needs. UW Information School Assistant Professor Alexis Hiniker (HCDE PhD, '17) will collaborate on the research.

Findlater and Munson join eight other UW Engineering professors to receive the awards this year: Tom Anderson, Jennifer Mankoff, James Fogarty, Jon Froelich, Sewoong Oh and Adriana Schulz of the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering; Julian Marshall of the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering; and Amy Orsborn of both the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering and the Department of Bioengineering.