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CIM Seminar Series

CIM invites speakers with diverse interests to present seminars to its community on a regular basis. The details of next seminar scheduled are shown below. If the next seminar hasn't yet been scheduled, please check back soon. In the meantime, an overview of all seminars (past & future) can be perused by following the "All Seminars" link below.

Interactive Fabrication and Fabrication of Interactive Objects

Huaishu Peng
Cornell University

October 20, 2017 at  10:00 AM
McConnell Engineering Room 437


3D printing technology has been widely applied to produce well-designed non-interactive objects. There is a hope to make both printing outputs and the modeling process more interactive, so that designers can get in-situ tangible feedback to fabricate objects with rich functionalities. To date, however, knowledge accumulated to realize this hope remains limited. In this talk, I will present two lines of research conducted by me and my collaborators at Cornell and Disney Research. The first line of work concerns the fabrication of 3D printed objects that are interactive. I report new techniques for 3D printing with novel materials such as fabric sheet, and how to print one-off functional objects such as sensor and motor. The second line of work aims at facilitating an interactive process of fabrication. I demonstrate a novel interactive fabrication system that allows the designer to create 3D models in AR with a robotic arm fabricates the model in real time and on-site. I will conclude the talk by outlining future research directions built upon my current work.


Huaishu Peng is a PhD candidate in the Computing and Information Science department at Cornell University. His multi-disciplinary research interests range from computational design, robotic fabrication to material innovation. He builds software systems and machine prototypes that make the design and fabrication of 3D models interactive. He also looks into new techniques that can fabricate 3D interactive objects. His work has been published in CHI, UIST and SIGGRAPH as a Best Paper Nominee. His work has been featured by media such as Wired, MIT Technology Review, Techcrunch, and Gizmodo.

How does a small brain decide on an action?

Tomoko Ohyama
Department of Biology McGill University

October 25, 2017 at  11:00 AM
McConnell Engineering Room 437


To make optimal decisions and adapt successfully to our environments, we need to make use of all of the sensory cues we can detect (e.g., visual, olfactory, tactile, noxious), which initially arrive through selective channels. A central question in neuroscience is how nervous systems transform these originally segregated inputs into holistic multisensory representations, and how they use these representations to guide the selection of actions. My research is focused on discovering the fundamental circuit principles that underlie these processes. To tackle this challenge, we have been studying escape behaviors in larval Drosophila melanogaster.

Drosophila larvae, or “maggots”, have a rich repertoire of behaviors they produce in response to specific stimuli and use various strategies to escape from unpleasant stimuli. Furthermore, maggots' small brains contains more than 10,000 neurons and now we have a partial connectivity map of the neurons. We combine high-throughput behavior analysis with live imaging/physiology of neural activity and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) reconstruction of neuronal circuits. To analyze neuron-behavior relationships, we use 1) genetic tools to manipulate individual neurons; 2) a high-throughput behavioral tracking system that allows temporally controlled stimulation of many freely moving larvae at once; 3) TEM neuron reconstruction (in collaboration with the Cardona lab, Janelia Research campus); and 4) unsupervised structure learning methods to categorize behaviors in an unbiased fashion.

I would like to discuss how we are capturing animal behavior, analyzing behavioral data, and reconstructing neuronal circuits from TEM images.


Tomoko Ohyama received her Ph.D degree in 2009 from the Baylor College of Medicine, where she performed her thesis work in Dr. Hugo Bellen's Lab studying synaptic vesicle cycling using the Drosophila fly. Her Ph.D work involved novel components that regulate neurotransmitter release and recycling. She then worked as a post-doctoral researcher under Prof. Marta Zlatic at the Janelia research campus of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to study the behavior and neural circuits of Drosophila larvae. She is interested in how sensory information is processed to generate specific behavior and she would like to understand the structural circuits and functional mechanisms. To elucidate neuronal circuits and mechanisms involved in multi-sensory integration and sensory-motor integration of behavior, she uses Drosophila larvae as a model system. She has taken a forward genetic approach using GAL4 lines library, which have been made by G. Rubin, to identify the neurons involved in specific behaviors. Currently, she is focusing on the similarities and differences between the neural circuits that underlie avoidance and escape responses. She began her current position in the Department of Biology at McGill University in January 2017.

Interactive systems based on electrical muscle stimulation

Pedro Lopes
Human Computer Interaction Lab/Shared Reality Lab Hasso Plattner Institute

October 27, 2017 at  11:00 AM
McConnell Engineering Room 437


Today's interfaces are closer and closer to our body and are literally attached to it, such as mobile phones, wearable devices and virtual reality headsets. These provide a very direct and immersive interaction with virtual worlds. But what if, instead, the interfaces were "part of our body"? In this talk Pedro Lopes introduces the idea of an interactive system based on electrical muscle stimulation (EMS). EMS is a technique from medical rehabilitation in which a signal generator and electrodes attached to the user's skin are used to send electrical impulses that involuntarily contract the user's muscles. While EMS devices have been used to regenerate lost motor functions in rehabilitation medicine since the '60s, it has only been a few years since researchers started to explore EMS as a means for creating interactive systems. These more recent projects explore EMS as a means for teaching users new motor skills, increasing immersion in virtual experiences by simulating impact and walls in VR/AR, communicating with remote users and allowing users to read & write information using eyes-free wearable devices.


Pedro is a researcher at Prof. Baudisch’s Human Computer Interaction Lab at the Hasso Plattner Institute, Germany. Pedro's work is published at ACM CHI/UIST and demonstrated at venues such as ACM SIGGRAPH and IEEE Haptics. Pedro has received the ACM CHI Best Paper award for his work on Affordance++, several nominations and exhibited at Ars Electronica 2017. His work also captured the interest of media, such as MIT Technology Review, NBC, Discovery Channel, NewScientist or Wired. (Learn more about Pedro's work here).