Pedro Lopes will receive a two-year fellowship from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation which makes him one of 118 most promising young scientists and scholars rewarded for their outstanding achievements and unique potential to make substantial contributions to their field. Lopes will receive a $75,000 fellowship which he will use to support the engineering and design of how the next generation of interactive devices might look like.
In his work, he wants to invent new ways to integrate devices even more physically with the body than wearables currently can. “This is important because, recently, our lives have been changing alongside the evolution of our computers, first laptops changed the way we worked, then mobile phones changed the way we communicate anywhere and anytime, and now even wearable devices change how technology can connect to our body”, Lopes says.
Before joining the University of Chicago, Pedro Lopes received his doctorate in Human Computer Interaction with summa cum laude at the HPI in 2018. Lopes received the 2018 University of Potsdam Best Doctoral Dissertation Award for his doctoral thesis on Interactive Systems based on Electrical Muscle Stimulation, supervised by Professor Patrick Baudisch, head of the Human Computer Interaction department at HPI. Professor Patrick Baudisch was admitted to the CHI Academy in 2013 and has been an ACM distinguished scholar since 2014. He has been a chairman of the SIGCHI Research and Practice Awards subcommittee since 2019.
Since 2019, Lopes has been an assistant professor at University of Chicago, where he heads the Human Computer Integration Lab. In his research, he addresses the development of interactive devices that connect at a very physical level to the sensors and actuators of the human body. The interactive devices integrate directly with the user's body and use parts of the body as input or output hardware. This creates a completely new interaction model, with possibilities to interact with the user's senses of temperature, smell, and rich- touch sensations. A recent example is Chemical Haptics, a device created by his student Jasmine Lu that provides touch sensations to VR users. “Right now we are looking at how we can create more believable interactions in virtual reality, for instance, how can we feel like a virtual desert is hot, or how a virtual mountain is cold, only if we have realistic VR we can use it to safely train people skills that they might need in the real world!”, Lopes says.
Lopes has already received several Best Paper Awards presented by ACM SIGCHI, as well as several Best Paper Honorable Mentions and the Grand Prize of Revolution Research awarded by ACM.
The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a philanthropic nonprofit organization that supports original research and education in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and business.