Hello! My name is Sowmya Somanath. I am an Assistant Professor in the Computer Science Department at the University of Victoria.
I lead the Creative Experiences Lab, which broadly focuses on topics in the area of Human-Computer Interaction.
My research program is focused on leveraging and extending the richness and situatedness of people's physical interactions through the creation of new interactive experiences that can help diverse people accomplish creative and everyday tasks in meaningful ways. Through my work on designing and developing new interactive physical experiences, I want to help people in two ways: be creative and more broadly to have meaningful everyday physical interactions with technologies.
Currently my research interest is in studying how people create digital and physical artifacts using technology (such as electronics, fabrication devices, AR, VR) and designing tools to support such do-it-yourself processes. My lab investigates do-it-yourself activities within the realm of diverse application areas such as education, personal health monitoring, constructive data visualization scenarios, and craft activities such as sewing. Beyond my primary area of research, I am actively involved in a number of collaborative projects focused on topics such as designing interfaces for automotives, improving accessibility and designing novel haptic techniques.
From 2018-2019 I was an Assistant Professor at Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD U) in Toronto. Since becoming a professor in 2018, I have taught several courses in HCI and Design. I am fortunate to work with some amazing students and have had the opportunity to conduct research with undergraduate and graduate students.
Creative Experiences Lab is part of the composite research group, Victoria Interactive Experiences with Information (VIXI) Lab.