Erin Treacy Solovey, Ph. D.


Erin Solovey is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science in the College of Computing and Informatics at Drexel University. She is also affiliated with the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems at Drexel and a research affiliate at MIT.

Dr. Solovey's main research area is human-computer interaction, specifically emerging interaction modes and techniques, such as brain-computer interfaces, physiological & wearable computing, affective computing and reality-based interaction. Her dissertation research investigated the use of non-invasive brain sensor data as an implicit, supplemental input channel to interactive systems. She is particularly interested in designing, building and evaluating systems to support users dealing with high workload and multitasking, as well as systems that provide novel learning experiences. She also investigates effective human interaction with complex and autonomous systems and vehicles.

Dr. Solovey has received several awards including the NSF/CRA Computing Innovation Fellowship and three CHI Best Paper Award Honorable Mentions, and her work has been covered in MIT Technology Review, Slashdot, Engadget and others. She was a postdoctoral fellow in the Humans and Automation Lab (HAL) at MIT, working with Missy Cummings. She received her bachelor’s degree in computer science from Harvard University, and her M.S. and Ph.D. in computer science from Tufts University, working in the Human-Computer Interaction Research Group with Robert Jacob. She also has conducted research at MIT Lincoln Laboratory and in the Computational User Experiences group at Microsoft Research with Desney Tan and Dan Morris. Previously, she was a software engineer at Oracle, and also has experience at several startups.

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Research opportunities at Drexel: I am currently recruiting motivated Ph.D., Masters and undergraduate students interested in Human-Computer Interaction research. Contact me if interested. Read more...


February, 2015: Program committee for the International Workshop on Symbiotic Interaction. To submit a paper, see the Call for Contributions, Deadline: May 25
February 25, 2015: Talk at Drexel Neuroscience Society
January, 2015: Editing a special issue of IEEE Computer on Physiological Computing. Call for participation here. Deadline: April 1, 2015. Publish date: October, 2015
January, 2015: Our journal article "Designing Implicit Interfaces for Physiological Computing: Guidelines and Lessons Learned using fNIRS" (with Daniel Afergan, Evan Peck, Samuel Hincks, and Robert Jacob) published in ToCHI: Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction.
January, 2015: Start teaching CS338 (Graphical User Interfaces
December, 2014: End of the quarter. See some of the fantastic projects on the CS 530 (Developing User Interfaces) course blog.
Fall, 2014: Joined the editorial board for the International Journal of Human-Computer Systems (IJHCS)
November 18, 2014: Our poster "Utilizing functional near-infrared spectroscopy to identify cognitive processes contributing to workload in a dual-task environment" (with Daniel Belyusar, Bryan Reimer, Bruce Mehler, Dan Afergan, and Joe Coughlin) will be presented at the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C.
October, 2014: Workshops Committee for the ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI). To submit a workshop proposal, see the Call for Workshops, Deadline: October 8
October, 2014: Our poster "An In-Depth Look at the Benefits of Immersion Cues on Spatial 3D Problem Solving" (with Cassie Hoef, Jasmine Davis and Orit Shaer) will be presented at the ACM Symposium on Spatial User Interfaces (SUI) in Honolulu, HI.
July 2014: Program committee for the ACM International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction (TEI). To submit a paper, see the Call for Papers, Deadline: August 8 (extended from Aug 1)
July 2014: Program committee for the International Workshop on Symbiotic Interaction. To submit a paper, see the Call for Contributions, Deadline: July 10
July 2014: Talk at Microsoft Research Faculty Summit 2014
July 9, 2014: Presentation for Drexel REThink summer institute in computer science for STEM high school teachers and 2-year college faculty.
June 2014: HCIC 2014 in Watsonville, CA
May 2014: DC for meetings
April 2014: Toronto for CHI 2014
March 2014: Drexel Spring Term starts. First lecture in CS 680 Brain Computer Interaction
March 2014: Added video previews for CHI 2014 papers: here and here
March, 2014: End of the quarter. See some of the fantastic projects on the CS338 (Graphical User Interfaces) blog
March, 2014: Our paper "Modeling Teamwork in Supervisory Control of Multiple Robots" (with Fei Gao and Missy Cummings) was accepted to be published in IEEE Transactions on Human-Machine Systems
February, 2014: Both CHI 2014 papers (linked below) received a Best Paper Award Honorable Mention for being in the top 5% of paper submissions.
January 6, 2014: Drexel classes start. First lecture in CS 338 Graphical User Interfaces
December 8, 2013: Our papers "Classifying Driver Workload Using Physiological and Driving Performance Data: Two Field Studies" and "Dynamic Difficulty Using Brain Metrics of Workload" were accepted to ACM CHI 2014 conference
December 7-8, 2013: ACM CHI Program Committee Meeting at University of Toronto
December 6, 2013: Talk at University of Toronto in Mechanical Engineering Building, Room 331 at 4pm
October 29, 2013: Guest lecture at Wellesley College in CS320: Tangible User Interfaces and visit to HCI Lab
October 24-25, 2013: Functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy Course at Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging
September 9, 2013: Drexel announces new College of Computing of Informatics
September, 2013: Joined Drexel Department of Computing as Assistant Professor
May, 2013: On the "Caps and Mods" subcommittee of the ACM CHI 2014 conference program committee again. Paper deadline: Sep 18
April, 2013: On the Associate Program Committee for SIGCHI conference on Tangible, Embodied and Embedded Interaction (TEI 2014) in Munich, February 16-19, 2014. Paper deadline: August 1
April, 2013: Our paper "Investigating the Efficacy of Network Visualizations for Intelligence Tasks" was accepted to the Cybersecurity Visualization workshop at IEEE Intelligence and Security Informatics Conference to be held in June in Seattle.
April 29-May 2: Paris for CHI 2013
April 28, 2013: Organizing CHI 2013 Workshop: Many people, many eyes: Aggregating Influences of Visual Perception on User Interface Design
April 5-6, 2013: Speaker at 2013 CRA-W Graduate Cohort Workshop
March 4, 2013: Giving talk at the Boston Chapter of IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology: Can Computers Read Our Minds? Real-Time Brain Input for Interactive Systems
March 1, 2013: Lightning Talk at Google Cambridge PhD Summit
Feb 28, 2013: SMARTS MURI annual meeting at MIT
Feb 2013: Talked with New Scientist about fNIRS brain sensing and driving
Feb 2013: Judging the Harvard College Innovation Challenge (I3) competition
Dec 2012: Talk at John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
Dec 2012: Talk at MIT Day of Autonomy
Dec 2012: Paris for CHI 2013 Program Committee meeting
Dec 2012: Talk in Personal Robotics group's speaker series at MIT Media Lab
Nov 2012: Interactive Tabletop and Surfaces conference in Cambridge, MA
Fall 2012: On the program committee for ACM SIGCHI Conference on Tangible, Embedded, Embodied Interaction (TEI 2013)

Oct 2012: Talk in MIT Humans and Automation Lab seminar
Oct 2012: Our paper "Using Variable-Rate Alerting to Counter Boredom in Human Supervisory Control" will be presented at Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting in Boston, MA
Oct 2012: Presenting poster "Brain Sensing with fNIRS in the Car" at Auto User Interface conference in Portsmouth, NH
Oct 2012: Presenting poster "Collision Avoidance Interface for Safe Piloting of Unmanned Vehicles using a Mobile Device" at UIST 2012 in Cambridge, MA
June 2012: National Institute of Justice Conference poster presented
May 14, 2012: Technology Review article: "A Computer Interface that Takes a Load Off Your Mind" about my research and another article: "MIT's Brainput boosts your brain power by offloading multitasking to a computer"
May, 2012: Our paper: "Using Variable-Rate Alerting to Counter Boredom in Human Supervisory Control" was accepted to be presented at the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society conference in October.
April 2012: My paper is a Best Paper Award Nominee at CHI 2012.
April, 2, 2012: Article about research with State Police. “CSAIL scientists, Mass State Police to tackle problem of roadside collisions between drivers and police vehicles”
March 15, 2012: Talk at Brown Computer Science Department.
March 13, 2012: Talk at Boston CHI at IBM Center for Social Business, 1 Rogers Street Cambridge
February, 2012: I'll once again be a judge for the Harvard I3 Innovation Challenge.
February, 2012: I'll be teaching a seminar course this semester at MIT on Human Values in Technology(Course 16).
January, 2012: My paper "Real-time fNIRS Brain Input for Adaptive Robot Autonomy" was accepted into the HRI Pioneers Workshop at the Human-Robot Interaction conference in Boston in March.
January, 2012: posted link to final CHI 2012 paper
December, 2011: My paper "Brainput: Enhancing Interactive Systems with Streaming fNIRS Brain Input"was accepted to the CHI 2012 conference in Austin, Texas in May.
November 1, 2011: Join MIT Humans and Automation Lab as a Computing Innovation Fellow
October, 2011: Dissertation Defense!
October, 2011: Providence, RI for Visweek. Poster: Near to the Brain: Functional 
Near-Infrared Spectroscopy as a Lightweight Brain Imaging Technique for Visualization
- Awarded Best Poster!
August 2011: Awarded Computing Innovation Fellowship
May 8-12: Vancouver, BC for CHI 2011 and Brain and Body Interfaces: Designing for Meaningful Interaction workshop
==> Presented: Sensing Cognitive Multitasking for a Brain-Based Adaptive User Interface
==> Presented: Meaningful Human-Computer Interaction Using fNIRS Brain Sensing
April 26, 2011: Practice CHI talks at Microsoft NERD
April 12, 2011: Guest Lecture in MIT EECS Intelligent Multimodal User Interfaces course
February, 2011: My paper "Meaningful Human-Computer Interaction Using fNIRS Brain Sensing" was accepted to the CHI 2011 Workshop on Brain and Body Interfaces: Designing for Meaningful Interaction
December, 2010: My paper “Sensing Cognitive Multitasking for a Brain-Based Adaptive User Interface"was accepted to appear at CHI 2011 in Vancouver in May.
December 29, 2010: Jaclyn's little sister, Kailah Liat Solovey, was born.
October 15-17, 2010: Presenting a poster at fNIRS Conference at Harvard
September 24, 2010: Post CHI deadline drinks at John Havard's in Harvard Square
July 22, 2010: Talk at Human & Automation Lab at MIT
June, 2010: Our International Journal of Autonomous and Adaptive Communications Systems article is in press: Designing a Passive Brain Computer Interface using Real Time Classification of Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy
June, 2010: The debut of the new ACM XRDS magazine was published, including our article: From Brains to Bytes
May 12, 2010: Boston CHI labs joint event with BostonCHI, 6:30-9pm, ground floor of 33 Oxford St at Harvard: a talk by Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg on Social Data Visualization.
April 10-14, 2010: Atlanta, GA for CHI 2010 and Brain, Body and Bytes: Psychophysiological User Interaction workshop
April 7, 2010: Pre-CHI BostonCHI Labs bash
Thursday, January 28 at 7pm: CHI Bar! Hang out, eat, drink, and meet other HCI researchers and students atMuddy Charles Pub at MIT (moved from Cambridge Brewing Company because of an event taking place there).
January 6, 2010: Deadline for submissions to CHI2010 workshop: Brain, Body and Bytes: Psychophysiological User Interaction
December, 2009: BostonCHI Labs (our new alliance of Boston area HCI researchers) has a website!
December 4, 2009: Guest speaker at Wellesley College course on Tangible User Interfaces
November 11, 2009: BostonCHI Labs - 1-minute "Madness" and Dinner 6pm, Admiral Grace Hopper Room, Maxwell-Dworkin building at Harvard University
October 12-13 2009: Bay Area for talk at "When Everything is Programmable" conference at the Institute for the Future
October 3-8 2009: Victoria, BC for UIST conference
    ⇒ Presented: Using fNIRS Brain Sensing in Realistic HCI Settings: Experiments and Guidelines
    ⇒ Presented in Doctoral Symposium: Using Your Brain for Human-Computer Interaction
July 2009: Finally updated my website!
July 2009: New EEG system arrives in our lab
May 19, 2009: Became a mommy to Jaclyn Ruhama Solovey.
April 2009: Our "CHIstory" video won the Golden Mouse award for Most Entertaining in the CHI 2009 video showcase. Check it out on YouTube and on the FXPAL blog.
April 2009: Presented workshop paper at CHI 2009 Workshop on Programming Reality: From Transitive Materials to Organic User Interfaces
    ⇒Programming Reality within the Reality-Based Interaction Framework
April 2009: Student volunteer at CHI 2009
April 2009: Coauthor of paper presented at CHI 2009
    ⇒ Brain Measurement for Usability Testing and Adaptive Interfaces: An Example of Uncovering Syntactic Workload with Functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy
April 2009: Coauthor of paper presented at CHI 2009
    ⇒ Comparing the Use of Tangible and Graphical Programming Languages for Informal Science Education
March 2009: Guest Lecture "Using your brain for HCI" in MAS 672 - New Paradigms for Human-Computer Interaction at MIT Media Lab