Nivedita Arora, Georgia Institute of Technology: “Internet of Interactive Computational Materials”

Position: PhD Candidate

Current Institution: Georgia Institute of Technology

Abstract: Internet of Interactive Computational Materials

The agenda of blurring the distinction between our physical and digital lives has been an active one for many years. Still augmenting computation in our daily environment largely comes as a bulky power-intensive add-on. My research rejects this notion by emphasizing the integration of computational capability in everyday objects and surfaces without loss of original form factor affordance and maintenance-free operation. Leveraging the advancements in novel materials and material technologies I have built thin sticky-note-like computational materials that can self-sustain themselves to wirelessly collect interpret and respond to a wide variety of human interactions (talking touching swiping). My goal is to create a rich ecosystem of computational paper-like material with three design challenges: power form factor ease of manufacturing. I adopt an iterative approach to building tags with increasing computational functionality and design constraints. First I developed SATURN a self-powered paper microphone based on a triboelectric generator made from everyday cheap materials like paper and plastic. Next I enable no and low-power wireless sensing of human interaction with ZEUSSS and MARS respectively using cheap simple circuits for ambiently powered backscatter communication. Finally I develop strategies for adding low-power in-material actuation and computation in these material stickers. My research inspires a new multidisciplinary and out-of-the-box direction for computing which I call the ‘Internet of Materials’ where computing is woven into the very fabric of our lives.


Nivedita Arora is a computer science Ph.D. student in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology advised by Prof. Gregory Abowd and Prof. Thad Starner. Her research focuses on re-imagining the future of mobile and ubiquitous computing by embracing an alternative view of computing where the physical surfaces would be covered with a computational material that can self-sustain itself to sense compute actuate and communicate. She adopts a multi-disciplinary approach where she works at the intersection of novel materials device fabrication low-power embedded systems industrial design and human-computer interaction to realize the Internet of Materials. Her research appeared in ACM IMWUT ACM UIST ACM MobiSys Communications of the ACM and SIGMOBILE GetMobile Magazine. She is also the recipient of the UbiComp Gaetano Borriello Outstanding Student Award 2021 along with IMWUT distinguished paper and best poster award at UIST and MobiSys. More information: