Pedro Lopes Assistant Professor
Department of Computer Science

JCL 365
human computer interaction, virtual + augmented reality, wearable computing


Pedro Lopes is an Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago, where he leads a research group that asks the following questions: (1) what if interfaces wouldshare part of our body? (2) How can we engineer future devices to connect more personally and directly to our body? Pedro has materialized some of these ideas by creating interactive systems intentionally borrow parts of the user’s body for input and output; allowing computers to be more directly interwoven in our bodily senses and actuators.

One specific flavor of such devices that Pedro has extensively explored is devices that borrow the user’s muscles by means of electrical muscle stimulation. These devices use part of the wearer’s body for output, i.e., the computer can output by actuating the user’s muscles with electrical impulses, causing it to move involuntarily. The wearer can sense the computer’s activity on their own body by means of their sense of proprioception. Pedro’s wearable systems have shown to (1) increase realism in VR, (2) provide a novel way to access information through proprioception, and (3) serve as a platform to experience and question the boundaries of our sense of agency.

Pedro’s work is published at top-tier conferences (ACM CHI & UIST) and demonstrated at venues such as SIGGRAPH and IEEE Haptics. Pedro has received the CHI Best Paper award for his work on Affordance++, Best Talk Awards and a Best Paper nomination. As part of his research, Pedro has exhibited at Ars Electronica 2017, Science Gallery Dublin and World Economic Forum in San Francisco. His work also captured the interest of media, such as MIT Technology Review, NBC, Discovery Channel, NewScientist or Wired.

Previously, Pedro was a PhD student with Prof. Baudisch at the Hasso Plattner Institute, Germany.

Selected YouTube videos: VR WallsMuscle PlotterAffordance++

Courses taught by Pedro: 

  1. Emergent Interface Technologies (Graduate, Winter) 
  2. Inventing, Engineering and Understanding Interactive Devices (Undergraduate, Spring)
  3. Inroduction to Human Computer Interaction (Undergraduate, Fall)