I am a PhD candidate supervised by Dr. Ehud Sharlin and Dr. Mario Costa Sousa . I am part of the uTouch group at the Interactions Lab , Department of Computer Science, University of Calgary. My PhD research explores 'making' within constraints: at-risk students and developing regions where resource constraints or cultural or situational traits get in the way of hands-on creative learning. My supervisory committee consists of Dr. Lora Oehlberg and Dr. Janette Hughes. My research interests include Maker Culture, Technology for DIY, Physical Computing, Tangible User Interfaces (TUIs) and more broadly Human-Computer Interaction (HCI).

I also completed my Masters at the University of Calgary and was supervised by Dr. Mario Costa Sousa and Dr. Ehud Sharlin. My MSc research explored visualizations and tabletop human-robot interactions for reservoir engineering applications. I was also mentored by Dr. Sheelagh Carpendale for my information visualization project.

Email, CV, LinkedIn, Twitter

Projects

2017

'Maker' within Constraints: Exploratory Study of Young Learners using Arduino at a High School in India

Sowmya Somanath, Lora Oehlberg, Janette Hughes, Ehud Sharlin and Mario Costa Sousa, "'Maker' within Constraints: Exploratory Study of Young Learners using Arduino at a High School in India" , Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI'17). 2017. (to appear).


A Pedagogical Framework for Computational Thinking

Donna Kotsopoulos, Lisa Floyd, Steven Khan, Immaculate Kizito Namukasa, Sowmya Somanath, Jessica Weber, Chris Yiu, "A Pedagogical Framework for Computational Thinking", Digital Experiences in Mathematics Education. 2017. (to appear).


2016

Engaging 'At-Risk' Students through Maker Culture Activities

Sowmya Somanath, Laura Morrison, Janette Hughes, Ehud Sharlin and Mario Costa Sousa, "Engaging 'At-Risk' Students through Maker Culture Activities", Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Tangible Embedded and Embodied Interaction (TEI'16). 2016. Eindhoven, The Netherlands.


2015

ReservoirBench: An Interactive Educational Reservoir Engineering Workbench

Sowmya Somanath, Allan Rocha, Hamid Hamdi, Ehud Sharlin and Mario Costa Sousa, "ReservoirBench: An Interactive Educational Reservoir Engineering Workbench" , Proceedings of the 15th IFIP TC.13 International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (INTERACT'15). 2015. Bamberg, Germany.


The Concept of DIY as an Education Model for Indian Public Schools

Sowmya Somanath, Janette Hughes, Ehud Sharlin and Mario Costa Sousa, "The Concept of DIY as an Education Model for Indian Public Schools" , Workshop 'Designing Alternative Systems for Local Communities' at the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI'15). 2015. Seoul, Korea.


Grasping the t-test: Designing an Interactive System to Communicate Statistics

Sowmya Somanath, Ian Hargreaves, Edward Tse, Kasuki Takashima and Ehud Sharlin, "Grasping the t-test: Designing an Interactive System to Communicate Statistics" , Workshop 'Exploring the Challenges of Making Data Physical' at the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI'15). 2015. Seoul, Korea.
Internship at Smart Technologies, Calgary. Mentored by Dr. Edward Tse.

2014

Information Visualization Techniques for Exploring Oil Well Trajectories in Reservoir Models

Sowmya Somanath, Sheelagh Carpendale, Ehud Sharlin and Mario Costa Sousa, "Information Visualization Techniques for Exploring Oil Well Trajectories in Reservoir Models" , Proceedings of Graphics Interface (GI'14). 2014. Montreal, Canada.


'Explorances' or Why (Some) Physical Entities Help Us Be More Creative

Sowmya Somanath, Ehud Sharlin and Mario Costa Sousa , " 'Explorances' or Why (Some) Physical Entities Help Us Be More Creative" , Proceedings of ACM Symposium on Applied Perception (SAP'14). 2014. Vancouver, Canada.

2013

Beyond Actuated Tangibles: Introducing Robots to Interactive Tabletops

Sowmya Somanath, Ehud Sharlin and Mario Costa Sousa, "Beyond Actuated Tangibles: Introducing Robots to Interactive Tabletops", Work In Progress (WIP), Seventh International Conference on Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction (TEI'13), 2013. Barcelona, Spain.


Integrating a Robot in a Tabletop Reservoir Engineering Application

Sowmya Somanath, Ehud Sharlin and Mario Costa Sousa, "Integrating a Robot in a Tabletop Reservoir Engineering Application", Late-Breaking Report, Human-Robot Interaction (HRI'13), 2013. Tokyo, Japan.


Interactive 3D Modeling and Visualization of Well Configurations and Trajectories in Reservoir Simulation Post-Processing

Sowmya Somanath, Nicole Sultanum, Jonatas Medeiros, Emilio Vital Brazil, Sheelagh Carpendale, Ehud Sharlin, Carla Freitas, Eric Mackay, Mario Costa Sousa, "Interactive 3D Modeling and Visualization of Well Configurations and Trajectories in Reservoir Simulation Post-Processing", GeoConvention 2012: Vision, Calgary, Alberta. Extended abstract and poster.

2011

Point it, Split it, Peel it, View it: Techniques for Interactive Reservoir Visualization on Tabletops

Nicole Sultanum, Sowmya Somanath, Ehud Sharlin, Mario Costa Sousa, "Point it, Split it, Peel it, View it: Techniques for Interactive Reservoir Visualization on Tabletops", Proceedings of ACM International Conference on Interactive Tabletops and Surfaces (ACM ITS '11), November 2011, Kobe, Japan.


Thesis

Exploring Tabletops as an Interaction Medium in the Context of Reservoir Engineering

Sowmya Somanath, "Exploring Tabletops as an Interaction Medium in the Context of Reservoir Engineering", MSc Thesis, University of Calgary, September 2012.