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The department of Human Centered Design & Engineering (HCDE) is internationally known for its cutting-edge research. As part of a major research (R1) university, HCDE students and faculty collaborate across disciplines, across campus, and externally, to magnify the breadth and potential impact of our discoveries.

Research Areas

Faculty and students in HCDE advance the study and practice of design to improve cognition, behavior, engagement, or participation among individuals, groups, organizations, and communities of people. Our faculty's research and teaching focus on six interrelated areas of study. See HCDE research areas »

Directed Research Groups

HCDE's Directed Research Groups offer students a wide range of opportunities to conduct hands-on research projects with faculty members and other students across degree programs. The department's very active and growing research agenda continually generates new projects and new opportunities for students to be partners in our research endeavors. See current Directed Research Groups »

Research Labs & Centers

From experimental studies of communication design variables to cultural studies of technology adoption in developing nations, HCDE's research labs and centers lead the way in broadening the knowledge base of the field. See all research labs and centers »

Become a Research Sponsor

Research sponsors work with the department to select a faculty partner and decide a topic for a Directed Research Group. Proposing a research topic requires a high level of involvement from the sponsor, and provides a high level of interaction with students and faculty. Learn how to become a research sponsor »

Recent research news

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Designing for 21st century challenges: Microsoft support drives HCDE innovation in design education

In a world facing complex challenges like climate change, how can design and engineering education evolve to meet these demands? This question lies at the heart of a pioneering partnership between Microsoft and HCDE. Together, they are reimagining design education to prepare the next generation of designers to tackle the greatest challenges of our time.

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HCDE students explore new interactions between humans and robots

Robots are increasingly becoming a part of our daily lives at home, at work, and even in public spaces. But do people want to interact with them? Are they addressing real human needs? In a new course on Human-Robot Interaction, Dr. Elin Björling led HCDE graduate students to discover new use cases for social robots that can address modern challenges.

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HCDE & Allen School team receive NSF grant to reimagine smart agriculture with black diasporic farming communities

HCDE and Allen School professors are exploring community-based integration of smart technologies into black diasporic agriculture practices. Collaborating with diasporic farming communities in the Seattle area and beyond, the researchers will study how AI impacts diasporic urban farming and how the co-development of AI-based tools shapes diasporic knowledge.

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