Future User Interfaces

CS291A: Future User Interfaces

Course Instructor
Misha Sra
Class Time
Spring 2021, Mon/Wed 11a-12:45p PST
Class Location
Zoom (link on Gauchospace)
Office Hours

Course Logistics

This class meets twice a week, on Mondays and Wednesdays. You are expected to attend all class sessions and actively participate in class discussions and other activities. If you must miss a class, notify the instructor in advance. Late arrivals and unexcused absences will negatively affect your participation grade. The schedule is subject to minor changes over the course of the quarter. Some of the lecture slides are based on original slides by Anthony Chen (UCLA) (with permission).

Course Objectives

HCI is a multi-disciplinary area that is actively being researched by computer scientists, engineers, designers, psychologists, and neuroscientists. This course focuses on one aspect of HCI, i.e., interaction design. By the end of the course, you should be able to:

  • Identify various types of emerging interfaces and their differences and similarities
  • Identify salient features of interface design
  • Read, evaluate and critique research papers
  • Research, brainstorm and implement a working AR prototype
  • Understand the limitations of current interaction technologies
  • Design and deliver a research presentation
  • Demo your prototype and write a research quality paper


Posted Mar 29, 2021 Welcome to the spring quarter!

Posted Apr 8, 2021 Early project idea discussion in class and/or OH on April 12. Bring your ideas as a team or if you don't have a team, then solo. This is to get the conversation/brainstorming started so I would suggest not getting too attached to any specific idea just yet and to think big and think creatively instead of worrying about implementation details already. We'll get to those.

Posted Apr 13, 2021 OH at 7pm PST on Apr 12, 13 and 14 to help discuss and brainstorm project ideas.


  • You should have already taken at least one programming course (e.g., C++, Java, Python, C#)
  • For implementing the AR experience, you can use ARCore (Unity, Android Studio), Lens Studio, etc.


Week Date Class session Assignment
1 Mon Mar 29, 2021 Lecture - Intro and Background Watch Mother of all Demos
1 Wed Mar 31, 2021 Lecture - History of HCI Identify one interface you like and one you dislike and write 1 para about each with images and reasons why you like/dislike it. Upload submission pdf to Gauchospace. This assignment is worth 10% of your grade. Upload pdf to Gauchospace by Wed Apr 7 at 11:59pm PST.
2 Mon Apr 5, 2021 Activity - Intro to Lens Studio and SnapML with Giuliana Barrios Future Interaction Assignment. Write a 1pg article answering these questions here. Upload submission pdf to Gauchospace by Wed Apr 14 11:59pm PST. This assignment is worth 10% of your grade.
AR Project Info
2 Wed Apr 7, 2021 Activity - AR Demos Finalize group formation. Form project teams. Discuss ideas with me as a group in class on Apr 12.
3 Mon Apr 12, 2021 Lecture - Spatial Interfaces I: AR
Discuss project ideas with Misha.
Each student picks one research paper from this list to present in class. At the very least answer these questions in your paper review presentation on May 3.
3 Wed Apr 14, 2021 Activity - Intro to Unity with Mengyu Chen
Discuss project ideas with Misha in class or during OH.
Start making a presentation on your final group project idea (5 min) Presentation on Apr 26.
4 Mon Apr 19, 2021 Lecture - Spatial Interfaces II: AR Get started with your project.
4 Wed Apr 21, 2021 Lecture - Interaction Design for AR
5 Mon Apr 26, 2021 Lecture - Spatial Interfaces III: VR
Activity - All groups present their final project idea (5min + 2min QA).
5 Wed Apr 28, 2021 Lecture - Spatial Interfaces IV: VR
Continue working on project
6 Mon May 3, 2021 Activity - Individual research paper presentation (5min, 2min QA) Continue working on project
6 Wed May 5, 2021 Lecture - Haptic Interfaces I
Activity - Project progress review and feedback.
Continue working on project
7 Mon May 10, 2021 Lecture - Haptic Interfaces II
7 Wed May 12, 2021 Lecture - Audio/speech Interfaces I
Activity - Project progress review and feedback.
8 Mon May 17, 2021 Lecture - Audio/speech Interfaces II Continue working on project and paper
8 Wed May 19, 2021 Activity - Project progress review and feedback Start working on project paper. This needs to be written in the style of a conference poster submission. Instructions and template here
9 Mon May 24, 2021 Lecture - Unusual Interfaces I Continue working on project and paper. Start working on final presentation.
9 Wed May 26, 2021 Lecture - Unusual Interfaces II
10 Mon May 31, 2021 Memorial Day
10 Wed Jun 2, 2021 Activity - Project Final Presentations (7min, 2min QA). Presentation template and tips here
11 Mon Jun 7, 2021 Activity - Project Demos.
11 Wed Jun 9, 2021 Project paper due by 11:59pm June 9. This needs to be written in the style of a conference poster submission. Instructions and template here . Upload final paper pdf on Gaucho.


  • Class participation (5%) . If you have a question, an observation or an idea, please share it with everyone! This will not only help keep everyone on the same page, it will also help the instructor improve the presentation of the material. Participation also includes asking questions and providing feedback during student presentations and on piazza.
  • Interfaces (like/dislike) - 10%
  • Future Interaction - 10%
  • Research paper presentation - 10%: Each student will pick a recent research paper to read, understand, and present in detail to the class. You will select this paper from the set of papers listed here. Your presentation will be evaluated on organization, subject knowledge, slides, and presentation skills.
  • Project: You will conduct a group final project (groups of 3) using Unity to develop an AR experience. Your team will work with the instructor over the course of the quarter to select your topic, study the relevant literature, define your project, develop a working demo, and write a research paper documenting the results. Your project will be evaluated by the completeness of your presentation, the novelty of the idea, the technical strength of your contribution, and the organization, style, and clarity of your paper and final presentation.
    • Project idea presentation (5min + 2min QA) Apr 26 - 5%
    • Project progress review May 19 - 10%
    • Project paper and presentation review - 5%
    • Project final presentation (7min + 2min QA) June 2 - 15%
    • Project demo (functionality, technical strength) June 7 - 15%
    • Project paper June 9 - 15%

Lateness Policy

All assignments are due at 11:59pm PST on the scheduled due date. Absolutely no late work will be accepted after the deadline. If you are not done on time, turn in what you have to receive partial credit. There will be no exceptions to this rule. Please make sure you understand this policy. When uploading the assignment, the online submission provides the timestamp that counts.

Academic Integrity

The University of California has formal policies related to academic integrity. Any act of academic dishonesty, such as cheating or plagiarism, will result in a University disciplinary action and an "F" in this course. In addition to academic integrity, I also expect everyone in this class to treat their fellow students and course staff with respect.

UCSB's academic integrity policy from UCSB Campus Regulations, Chapter VII:``Student Conduct and Discipline"):

It is expected that students attending the University of California understand and subscribe to the ideal of academic integrity, and are willing to bear individual responsibility for their work. Any work (written or otherwise) submitted to fulfill an academic requirement must represent a student’s original work. Any act of academic dishonesty, such as cheating or plagiarism, will subject a person to University disciplinary action. Using or attempting to use materials, information, study aids, or commercial “research” services not authorized by the instructor of the course constitutes cheating. Representing the words, ideas, or concepts of another person without appropriate attribution is plagiarism. Whenever another person’s written work is utilized, whether it be a single phrase or longer, quotation marks must be used and sources cited. Paraphrasing another’s work, i.e., borrowing the ideas or concepts and putting them into one’s “own” words, must also be acknowledged. Although a person’s state of mind and intention will be considered in determining the University response to an act of academic dishonesty, this in no way lessens the responsibility of the student.

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