Liang's profile image

Office 279
Bill & Melinda Gates Center for Computer Science & Engineering (CSE2), University of Washington
3800 E Stevens Way NE, Seattle, WA 98195


PhD Student | HCI Researcher | Artist    

I create novel design techniques and interactive systems for the next generation of digital fabrication. Specifically, I study mechanical propoerties to create kinetic objects, develop intelligent design workflows to integrate electronics into creative artifacts, and explore fabrication-assisted solutions to improve accessibility. As shown in the diagram of "Design for Make Research Geology", my research uses a multidisplinary approach: investigating mechanical, material, and electronic properties (the core), developing design techniques and systems (the mantle), and driving three application domains (the crust).



Liang He is a PhD student in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington, advised by Jon E. Froehlich. His research is in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) with a focus on novel design and digital fabrication techniques. Liang has published in top-tier academic conferences in the fields of tangible user interface, fabrication, and interaction techniques, including two best paper awards and one best paper nominee. He receives his Master's in Computational Design from Carnegie Mellon University, Master's in Computer Science and Technology from UCAS, and Bachelor's in Software Engineering from Beihang University. He also worked in the AIECL at HP Labs, in the VIBE group at Microsoft Research, and at Keio-NUS CUTE Center.


May, 2020
Accepted to UW DUB Doctoral Colloquium

March, 2020
Received recognition for CHI 2020 paper review

March, 2020
Received UW GPSS travel grant and Graduate School Conference Travel Award.

February, 2020
PneuFetch accepted to CHI 2020 LBW

December, 2019
Talk at ISCAS, Beijing

September, 2019
Invited HCI Lunch Talk at Stanford

August, 2019
UITalk accepted to ASSETS'19 Poster

July, 2019
Invited to UW MSR Summer Institutes

July, 2019
Start reseach internship at HP Labs

June, 2019
Ondulé accepted to UIST'19 Paper Track

hp logo

HP Labs

Microsoft reseach logo

Microsoft Research

Keio-NUS CUTE logo

Keio-NUS CUTE Center


Program Committee


Conference Organizer

UIST'19 Web Co-chair

Paper Reviewer

CHI'16-'20, UIST'19-'20, DIS'20, WAC'19, TEI'17-'18, IDC'17, MobileHCI'16

Student Volunteer

TEI'17, CHI'14-'15, UIST'14, China Symposium on HCI

Design Services / Other

CHI'15 & CHI'19 SV T-shirt design, Makeability Lab logo design, UIST'19 logo & VI design



Talk. ISCAS, Beijing.


HCI Lunch Talk. Stanford.


Lightning Talk. UW CSE/MSR Summer Institute.


Lecture "Heuristic Evaluation". CSE 440A (Introduction to HCI), UW.


"Video Making". CSE SkillShare Workshop, UW.


Computational Fabrication. UW CSE Colloquia.


Industry Affiliates Research Day, UW, Seattle.


Workshop "3D Modeling with Fusion 360". CSE 590A (Ubiquitous Computing), UW.


Lecture "Intro to Laser Cutting". HCID 521 (Prototyping Studio), UW.


Industry Affiliates Research Day, UW, Seattle.


Tech+Design: Interaction Design for a Purpose. UMD, College Park.


HCIL’s Annual Symposium. UMD, College Park.



Yuebing Liang (Architecture, Tsinghua)


Yawen Zheng (Design/Art, Tsinghua)


Lily Zhao (CSE, UW)


Soumya Jindal (HCDE, UW)


Arjun Simha (High School)


Jessica Chin (Psychology, UW)


Sophie Tian (CSE, UW)


Michelle Lin (CSE, UW)


Joshua Land (ME, UW)

xforce studio logo

xForce Studio
Graphic Designer

ichuangyee logo

Chief Designer

doudou logo

UX Designer


 mechanical properties + creativity support

Ondulé: Designing and Controlling 3D Printable Springs [UIST'19/UIST'17/SCF'17]

Liang He, Huaishu Peng, Michelle Lin, Ravikanth Konjeti, François Guimbretière, Jon E. Froehlich

Ondulé is an interactive design tool that allows novices to create parameterizable deformation behaviors in 3D-printable models using helical springs and embedded joints. Informed by spring theory and mechanical experiments, we introduce spring and joint-based design techniques and a custom design tool for Rhino.

  UIST'19 Paper   ACM DL   Research Video   UIST 2019 Talk

 mechanical/material properties + interactivity

SqueezaPulse: Adding Interactive Input to Fabricated Objects Using Corrugated Tubes and Air Pulses [TEI'17]

Liang He, Gierad Laput, Eric Brockmeyer, and Jon E. Froehlich

SqueezaPulse is a technique for embedding interactivity into fabricated objects using soft, passive, low-cost bellow-like structures. When a soft cavity is squeezed, air pulses travel along a flexible pipe and into a unique corrugated tube that shapes the airflow into predictable sound signatures. A microphone captures and identifies these air pulses enabling interactivity.

  TEI'17 Paper   ACM DL   Research Video

 electronics + creativity + interactivity

  Best Paper Award at CHI'17

  Best LBW Paper Award at CHI'16

MakerWear: A Tangible Approach to Interactive Wearable Creation for Children [CHI'17]

Majeed Kazemitabaar, Jason McPeak, Alexander Jiao, Liang He, Thomas Outing, and Jon E. Froehlich

Wearable construction toolkits present a high barrier of entry for some users, particularly young children (K-6). We introduce MakerWear, a new wearable construction kit for children that uses a tangible, modular approach to wearable creation.

  CHI'17 Paper   ACM DL   Research Video

 multi-device interaction + interactivity

CozyMaps: Real-time Collaboration on a Shared Map with Multiple Displays [MobileHCI'15]

Kelvin Cheng, Liang He, Xiaojun Meng, David A. Shamma, Dung Nguyen, and Anbarasan T.

With the use of several tablet devices and a shared large display, CozyMaps is a multi-display system that supports real-time collocated collaboration on a shared map. CozyMaps introduces rich user interactions by proposing awareness, notification, and view sharing techniques, to enable seamless information sharing and integration in map-based applications.

  MobileHCI'15 Paper   ACM DL   Research Video

 material properties + interactivity

  Honorable Mentions Award at CHI'15

New Interaction Tools for Preserving an Old Language [CHI'15]

Beryl Plimmer, Liang He, Tariq Zaman, Kasun Karunanayaka, Alvin W. Yeo, Garen Jengan, Rachel Blagojevic, and Ellen Yi-Luen Do

With settlement, the nomads Penan people of Malaysian Borneo are losing their language as it is not being used by the younger generation. We built a tangible system designed to help the Penans preserve their unique object writing language. The system includes: the tangibles are made of real objects; it works in the wild; and new tangibles can be fabricated and added.

  CHI'15 Paper   ACM DL   Research Video

 material + electronics + accessibility

PneuFetch: Supporting Blind and Visually Impaired People to Fetch Nearby Objects via Light Haptic Cues [CHI'20 LBW]

Liang He, Ruolin Wang, Xuhai Xu

PneuFetch is a light haptic cue-based wearable device that supports blind and visually impaired (BVI) people to fetch nearby objects in an unfamiliar environment. We generate friendly, non-intrusive, and gentle presses and drags to deliver direction and distance cues on BVI user’s wrist and forearm. We contribute (1) an informative survey to understand what haptic feedback is preferred by BVI people for fetching nearby objects; (2) a wearable prototype to deliver on-body touch guidance; and (3) a preliminary user study to validate the feasibility of our approach.

  CHI'20 LBW Paper   ACM DL   Research Video

 multi-modal interaction + accessibility

A Multi-Modal Approach for Blind and Visually Impaired Developers To Edit Webpage Designs [ASSETS'19]

Venkatesh Potluri, Liang He, Christine Chen, Jon E. Froehlich, Jennifer Mankoff

Screen reader descriptions do not allow BVI designers to edit and comprehend visual attributes. We introduce a multi-modal and accessible approach for BVI designers to edit visual layouts of webpages while maintaining visual aesthetics. The system includes three parts: an accessible canvas, a code editor, and a controller that checks if the updates violate design guidelines.

  ASSETS'19 Paper   ACM DL   Research Video

 material properties + accessibility

TacTILE: A Preliminary Toolchain for Creating Accessible Graphics with 3D-Printed Overlays and Auditory Annotations [ASSETS'17]

Liang He, Zijian Wan, Leah Findlater, Jon E. Froehlich

TacTILE is a novel toolchain to more easily create tactile overlays with audio annotations for arbitrary touchscreen graphics (e.g., graphs, pictures, maps). The workflow includes: (i) an annotation tool to add audio to graphical elements, (ii) a fabrication process that generates 3D-printed tactile overlays, and (iii) a custom app for the user to explore graphics with overlays.

  ASSETS'17 Paper   ACM DL   Research Video

 mechanical properties + interactivity

VRSurus: Enhancing Interactivity and Tangibility of Puppets in Virtual Reality [CHI'16 EA]

Ruofei Du, and Liang He

VRSurus is a smart device designed to recognize the puppeteer’s gestures (swiping, shaking and thrusting) and render tactile feedback to enhance the interactivity of physical puppets in virtual reality (VR).

  CHI'16 EA Paper   ACM DL   Research Video

 material + electronics + accessibility

PneuHaptic: Delivering Haptic Cues with a Pneumatic Armband [ISWC'15]

Liang He, Cheng Xu, Ding Xu, and Ryan Brill

PneuHaptic is a pneumatically-actuated arm-worn haptic interface, triggering a range of tactile sensations on the arm by alternately pressurizing and depressurizing a series of custom molded silicone chambers. By actuating the nodes in different patterns several haptic cues are generated.

  ISWC'15 Paper   ACM DL   Research Video

 electronics + interactivity

StoryCube: supporting children’s storytelling with a tangible tool. [The Journal of Supercomputing 2014]

Danli Wang, Liang He, and Keqin Dou

StoryCube is a tangible interactive tool that supports children to interact with virtual objects via a tangible way instead of the use of mouse/keyboard. Children can create a 3D story environment and accomplish story narrations through physical manipulations.

  Supercomputing'14 Paper   ACM DL


TempoString: a tangible tool for children's music creation [UbiComp'12]

Liang He, Guang Li, Yang Zhang, Danli Wang, and Hongan Wang

TempoString is a novel tool which allows children to create their own music by simply pointing on a canvas with their fingers and editing music using a rope. We transit music creation into painting, a metaphor which is much easier for children to manipulate.

  UbiComp'12 Paper   ACM DL   Research Video
Wall Decors (2019) - Digital Fabrication + DIY

Three pieces of laser-cut city landscape maps are made in memory of the three cities that I have stayed so far in the past 6 years in the US. The laser-cut pieces are stacked using adhesive.

  Plantie (2014) - UIST'14 SIC Awarded Project

Plantie is a movable plant robot that plays as a housekeeper or even a family member. This was awarded "Most Creative Award" at UIST 2014 Student Innovation Contest. (2014) - Installation Art is a crowd-sourced storytelling platform that combines augmented-puppetry with on-line video sharing and urban projection.

RingX (2014) - Wearable Gadget

RingX offers the freedom to use smartphone through gestures (tap, wipe, and knuckle) on any surface.

Shoo! (2014) - DIY Game Controller

Shoo! is a LED matrix based game machine and the player has to hit capacitive touchpads to kill falling dots.

Inkative (2013) - Interactive Installation Art

Inkative is a circular 3-axis drawing machine that can record and convert fish's movements into certain patterns and strokes on paper.

Tapo (2013) - Hybrid Instrument

Tapo instrument is a smart device that converts user's speech into certain pattern of rhythm by tapping on surfaces of different materials.

Smart Whisker (2013) - Interactive Robot

This smart whisker acts like a live creature and provides color-changing feedback responding to user's proximity and touch. This work is my very first 3D printing project.

8-Channel Circle (2013) - Installation Art

The purpose of this project is to create a unique sound experience for users. Eight speakers are installed in a circular plate and programmed to create a multiple-channel spatial sound experience.

Disconnect (2013) - MakeWithMoto Hackathon Project

Disconnect is designed to engage people on meal table without any disturbs of modern technology, by detecting if the user picks up the phone that is placed beneath the plate over the meal.

disconnect project overview
  WISE (2011) - Microsoft Imagine Cup 2011 Project

Worldwide Issue and Solve Engine is a Silverlight-based web applicaiton that encourages people around the world to discover, discuss, track, and solve compelling problems. People could propose a topic and spread it through the form of drift bottle. Under the supervision of official organizations, these issues would arouse people's awareness.

WISE project overview
Pixloud (2010) - Windows Azure Application

Pixloud is the first cloud-based photo management with Microsoft Azure platform. Powered by Silverlight, DeepZoom, and Windows Azure, Pixloud provides a tag-centered system that creates a seamless user experience on online photo management.

Pixloud project overview