Colloquium - The Curious Case of “Smart” Homes

October 9, 2020 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Zoom - See emails for details
Chris Harrison
Carnegie Mellon University |

Truly smart and responsive environments rely on the ability to detect physical events and social context, such as appliance use and human activities. Currently, to sense these types of events, one must either upgrade to “smart” appliances or attach aftermarket sensors to existing objects and infrastructure. These approaches are expensive, intrusive and inflexible. Furthermore, even "smart" appliances are often very dumb – a smart speaker sitting on a kitchen countertop cannot figure out if it is in a kitchen, let alone know the user is preparing dinner. In my talk, I will review key breakthroughs my group has made over the past five years to bring the promise of smart environments much closer to reality.


Chris Harrison portrait with deeply bokehed background - submittedChris Harrison is the A. Nico Habermann Chair and an Associate Professor of Human-Computer Interaction at Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. Harrison leads the Future Interfaces Group broadly investigating novel sensing and interactive technologies. Dr. Harrison has authored more than 90 peer-reviewed papers and his work appears in more than 40 books. For his innovations, Harrison has been named as a Top 35 Innovator by MIT Technology Review, a Top 30 Scientist by Forbes, and a World Economic Forum Young Scientist. Harrison has been named a fellow by the Packard Foundation, Sloan Foundation, Google, Qualcomm and Microsoft Research. He is also co-founder and CTO of Qeexo, a CMU spinoff working at the intersection of interactive technologies and artificial intelligence. His website is