our-people | faculty - research


Cliff Forlines

Research Associate Professor

Clifton Forlines is an associate research professor focusing on developing and evaluating novel interaction and visualization techniques on tradition and emerging hardware platforms. His research lies in the field of Human-Computer Interaction with a focus on the relationship between input and visual data manipulation to support data-insight and decision-making. The work relies on close collaborations with experts in other disciplines and institutions, and on an understanding of not only computer science and engineering but also human cognition and perception. Endeavors at the Roux Institute include understanding and taking advantage of advancements in display technology to support AR/VR, low-cost physiological sensing of users to understand emotional and cognitive state, and presentation methods for predictions made with advanced ML techniques.

He received his PhD from the University of Toronto where his thesis work focused on presentation techniques to improve visual search. He received a master’s in human-computer interaction and a master’s in entertainment technology from Carnegie Mellon University, along with an BFA in industrial design. His employment background spans academic and industrial research, government contracting, and start-up environments. Prior to joining Northeastern, Forlines worked as a research scientist at the Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories before joining Draper Laboratory where he became the leader of the Human Centered Engineering group. Most recently, Forlines founded and ran a startup company focused on hardware and software human-sensing systems.

Forlines lives just south of Portland and feels lucky to have ended up both 10 minutes from downtown and 10 minutes to some of the best trails and beaches southern Maine has to offer.

Research Overview

Forlines works within the Roux Institute’s Human-Data Interaction team to design and build sensing and presentation systems with research and industry partners. Recent efforts have focused on inexpensively understanding user’s cognitive and emotional states and in better presenting the output of computational medicine algorithms to decision-makers in healthcare.

Areas of Expertise

  • Human-Computer Interaction 
  • Human-Sensing and Input Technology
  • Visual Analytics


  • Forlines, C., Wigdor, D., Shen, C., and Balakrishnan, R. 2007. Direct-touch vs. mouse input for tabletop displays. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (San Jose, California, USA, April 28 – May 03, 2007). CHI ’07. ACM Press, New York, NY, 647-656.
  • Darren Leigh, Clifton Forlines, Ricardo Jota, Steven Sanders, and Daniel Wigdor. 2014. High Rate, Low-Latency Multi-Touch Sensing with Simultaneous Orthogonal Multiplexing. In Proceedings of the 27th Annual ACM Symposium on User interface Software and Technology (Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, October 05 – 08, 2014). UIST ’14. ACM, New York, NY.
  • Shen, C., Vernier, F. D., Forlines, C., and Ringel, M. 2004. DiamondSpin: an extensible toolkit for around-the-table interaction. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Vienna, Austria, April 24 – 29, 2004). CHI ’04. ACM Press, New York, NY, 167-174.
  • Clifton Forlines and Kent Wittenburg. 2010. Wakame: sense making of multi-dimensional spatial-temporal data. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Advanced Visual Interfaces (AVI ’10), Giuseppe Santucci (Ed.). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 33-40.
  • Raskar, R., van Baar, J., Beardsley, P.A., Willwacher, T., Rao, S., and Forlines, C., iLamps: Geometrically Aware and Self-Configuring Projectors, ACM Transactions on Graphics (TOG), Volume 22, Issue 3, pp. 809-818.
  • Read more on Google Scholar

Related Links