Tuesday 12pm, 6 March 2018


Negotiating Material Description Through Technology

Anamary Leal

Assistant Professor of Computer Science - Sonoma State University


With the movement of maker spaces and Do-It-Yourself (DIY) culture on the rise, the interest in building, sewing, hacking has increased. However, some domains require added knowledge and have a higher barrier of entry than others, potentially limiting participation. For example, costume design, often has a higher entry level cost than other arts due to the cost of equipment and materials. My research goal is to study how commonplace technologies can empower and enhance the practice of craft. Craft is a traditional, tangible and embodied practice, while commonplace technologies like a keyboard, mouse, and even mobile devices are interacting with a screen. Specifically, my research questions are: (1) how can we design interfaces that capture common crafting practices that leverage off of multiple modalities? (2) How can design technologies that support craft activity and support the ongoing exploration of expression? I will go over some of my work in in the interdisciplinary domain of Human-Computer Interaction, technology, and craft, and show compelling future research opportunities.


Anamary Leal is an assistant professor of the Computer Science department at Sonoma State University. Her research is about designing technologies to empower craft. Her prior position was a PhD candidate at Virginia Tech’s Center of Human-Computer Interaction, advised by Steve Harrison.

She wants to design technologies to help people build, whether it is building clothing, electronics, woodwork and beyond. She has published in 3D User Interfaces, VR, Tangible and Embodied Interaction, among others. Her research has been funded by various sources like the GEM Ph.D. Fellowship and NSF Graduate Fellowship.

She is also passionate about bringing women and underrepresented minorities into computing and STEM fields. Throughout her career, she organized and helped fully fund 30+ women to the Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing.