Professor McGuffin

Interfaces to increase human intelligence

December 3, 2014
Michaël McGuffin, professor at ETS
Until recently, human-computer interaction consisted largely of a screen, keyboard and mouse. Today, multitouch screens, styluses, depth cameras, and portable technologies have increased the variety of ways of processing information.

Michael McGuffin is a professor in the Department of Software and IT Engineering. His research involves human-computer interaction, user interface design, information visualization, and interactive 2D and 3D graphics.

In our daily lives, we are surrounded by a variety of computing devices, including desktops, laptops, smartphones, tablets, and game consoles. Even more kinds of inexpensive devices are now appearing on the market, such as the Kinect, Leap Motion, Google Glass, Oculus Rift virtual reality goggles, MetaPro augmented reality glasses, and Neptune Pine smartwatches. Often, however, we make use of these devices for entertainment and information consumption, either because we ask so little of them and know little about their capabilities, or because they offer so little support for creative activities.

This state of affairs motivates much of Michael McGuffin’s work, which is aimed at developing effective interfaces that foster productivity and creativity. For example, some of his work has focused on developing new ways of using mouse and multitouch gestures to invoke commands more quickly.

Using visualization to enhance comprehension

Another focus of Michael McGuffin’s research is data visualization. This is a field that is currently experiencing a boom due to the need to process ever-larger quantities of complex information. Using 2D and 3D graphics, diagrams, intuitive popup menus, and optimized interfaces, we can visualize multi-dimensional data as never before. Since we can now visualize, cross-reference, isolate, and compare information easily and quickly, data that were once “mute” now reveal their secrets to us.

Michael McGuffin certainly resembles a typical intellectual. Which is why the karate outfit in his office comes as a surprise – he just wishes he had more opportunities to put it on. If he hadn’t become a university professor what would he be? He would’ve been… a CEGEP teacher.

“Visualizations allow us to see things that would otherwise be invisible.”
For information
Chantal Crevier
Service des communications - ÉTS
514 396-8800, poste 7893

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