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HCI Lab for Health and Sustainability Aims to Improve the Quality of Everyday Life
The SC&I-based HCI Lab studies human behaviors, creates new computing technologies, and evaluates the use of new systems in real world settings to address critical issues relating to healthcare, everyday wellbeing, and environmental sustainability.
The SC&I-based HCI Lab studies human behaviors, creates new computing technologies, and evaluates the use of new systems in real world settings to address critical issues relating to healthcare, everyday wellbeing, and environmental sustainability.

Promoting Social Justice. Designing personal wearable and mobile systems that can empower patients. Improving indoor air quality. Minimizing the negative impact of human behavior on the environment. These are just a few of the projects the SC&I HCI Lab for Health & Sustainability (HCIL) is focused on.

Directed by Assistant Professor of Library and Information Science Sunyoung Kim, with faculty members Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Library and Information Science Nicholas Belkin, and Associate Professor of Library and Information Science Vivek K. Singh, research in the interdisciplinary research lab takes a wide range of approaches within the principles of Human-Computer Interaction and user-centered design — from traditional to new technologies, from an individual to local communities to nationwide, from home to further abroad.”

A few of the HCI Lab projects are:

VillageMED: Developing a Mobile Application to Support Medical Missions in Haiti

“Mobile technology can enhance postoperative care and patient handoffs between providers, as well as harnessing the power of information sharing to improve patient engagement and communication. This project is to develop a novel mobile platform to enable standardizing data acquisition, organizing information storage, and facilitating communication in the delivery of missionary healthcare in a challenging environment like Haiti.”

inAir-Kid: Designing an Indoor Air Quality Monitor for Children

“Children are not only highly vulnerable to air pollution but also highly influenced by education so that they can play a critical role in exerting a positive influence on IAQ within their households if they are empowered by an appropriate means to monitor IAQ. We developed an IAQ visualization tool tailored to the needs and perspectives of young children.”

Creative Reuse of e-Waste

“E-waste is a generic term embracing various forms of electric and electronic equipment that is loosely discarded, surplus, obsolete, or broken. When e-waste is improperly discarded as trash, there are predictable negative impacts on the environment and human health. Existing e-waste solutions range from designing for reuse to fabricating with eco-friendly decomposable materials to more radical critiques of current practices surrounding capitalism and consumerism. Complementary to theses efforts, this work presents an accessible reuse framework that encourages creativity while maintaining personal ownership of e-waste.”

SC&I spoke with Rutgers University-New Brunswick alumni who worked in the lab to discover how the experience helped prepare them for their current careers.

“Working at the HCI Lab gave me a strong foundation of skills and knowledge that I use every day as a product/UX designer. The direct feedback and guidance I received from Dr. Kim helped me ramp up my knowledge and prepare for industry opportunities." — Yunoh Park

Yunoh Park

A product designer for AlphaSights in New York City, Park graduated in 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Business Administration. From 2019 to 2020 she was a designer and research assistant in the HCI Lab.

“Working at the HCI Lab gave me a strong foundation of skills and knowledge that I use every day as a product/UX designer. The direct feedback and guidance I received from Dr. Kim helped me ramp up my knowledge and prepare for industry opportunities. As a student, it gave me the experience needed to interview users, conduct research analysis, and iterate through the design process.

A project I worked on at the Lab called OPEN:AML, a patient prognosis tool, taught me the importance of having empathy when designing for users. Due to the sensitivity of the subject matter, I was challenged to consider how every design decision impacted the mental and physical health of the end user. I believe this project has had a profound impact on my ability to design thoughtfully on projects, regardless of context or industry.

I also designed AirApps, two mobile apps that help children with asthma monitor air quality. I worked closely with a master's student to conduct an ERB-certified research study and with a student developer who built both Apple and iPhone versions of the apps. This project allowed me to collaborate with students in an environment that mirrors how I work with researchers and developers as a product designer today. Looking back, these were early exciting insights into what it’s like to work in product development.

I’ve shared my HCI Lab projects in many design interviews, including the interviews for my internship at Amazon and my current job at AlphaSights. I believe these projects have played a significant role in helping me find new roles in my career. I’m proudly still displaying the work I’ve done at the Lab on my portfolio and sharing them with interviewers and colleagues!

For anyone considering working in the Lab, I highly recommend trying it out. Since there are so many aspects of research, design, and development you can participate in at the Lab, my advice would be to do some exploring on your own on what kind of work you’d like to do. That way, you can spend your time exercising skills you’re really passionate about and in the future, be able to leverage your projects for future career interests and opportunities.”

"When it came time for applying to post-graduate jobs, my experience in the HCI Lab became my greatest asset. Specifically, my time conducting user interviews for a developing asthma app helped me land my current position within the human factors medical device field" — Kaitlyn Stanton

Kaitlyn Stanton

Stanton, a research associate in Human Factors Engineering (HFE) at Agilis Consulting Group, graduated in 2022 with a double major in Cognitive Science (Decision Making track) and Psychology.

“Without a doubt, the Human-Computer Interaction lab was the most career benefitting decision I have made during my time at Rutgers. Coming into college, I already knew I wanted to enter the field of human factors in medical devices post-graduation. However, I could not find any courses that would prepare me for such a career. When I found the HCI lab, I saw that it combined my interests in human factors, psychology, healthcare, and user experience all into one lab. During my time in this lab, I learned valuable research-related skills such as navigating IRB submissions, properly writing problem statements, recruiting participants for studies, creating specific interview scripts, and how to correctly interview study participants. On more of a design side, I learned how to sketch and prototype applications. Because of the HCI lab, I also gained useful skills in Figma, Zoom, and Otter. AI.

When it came time for applying to post-graduate jobs, my experience in the HCI Lab became my greatest asset. Specifically, my time conducting user interviews for a developing asthma app helped me land my current position within the human factors medical device field.

My advice for any student interested in human factors, healthcare, UX/UI research and design is to apply to the HCI Lab! The multidisciplinary nature of HCI ensures that there is something for everyone.”

"It was rewarding to be able to do an act of service to communities and actively see the impact I had from my work on these projects. My research from the HCI Lab has also been published in a journal, which is one of my proudest moments in my academic career" — Beatrice Trinidad

Beatrice Trinidad

Trinidad, a User Experience Designer at IBM in New York City, majored in Information Technology and Informatics (ITI) at the School of Communication and Information in 2018.

"Working at the HCI Lab for Health & Sustainability was an incredibly valuable experience to me, and I truly credit the lab to helping me get to where I am today in my career. During my experience, I worked on two projects as a student. One project was working with the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and bone marrow transplant patients to improve complex medical treatment communication.

The second project was working with a non-profit medical organization to design an emergency medical system in a challenging environment. Besides applying human-computer interaction principles from the classroom, I also got to learn hands-on about the complexity of human behavior and how to design technology with a people-centered approach. Most importantly, it was rewarding to be able to do an act of service to communities and actively see the impact I had from my work on these projects. My research from the HCI Lab has also been published in a journal, which is one of my proudest moments in my academic career.

After my time at the lab, I was inspired to continue learning more, so I continued to do a master’s degree specializing in Human-Computer Interaction. During graduate school and internship applications, I always talked about my time at the lab because it was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever worked on, but an experience that resonates with me to this day.

Currently, I work as a User Experience Designer at IBM, and the case studies I did at the HCI Lab were the ones I talked about in the interview to successfully land this role. I can’t thank Dr. Sunyoung Kim enough for giving me an experience that has taken me so far, and how much she pushed me to achieve the best of my capabilities.



To students who are interested in working in the lab, Human-Computer Interaction is an exciting field that’s remarkably diverse and consists of many dimensions. I highly encourage working in the lab if you are enthusiastic, curious, and want to learn in the context of real-world societal and research challenges."

Discover more about the HCI Lab for Health and Sustainability on the Rutgers School of Communication and Information website.  

 

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