Elizabeth Mynatt likes to look at everyday things in new and different ways, whether it’s a new computer interface or a new way of thinking about education. That’s why she named her lab the Everyday Computing Lab. It’s where she designs computer interfaces that are easy to use and that enable users in their daily tasks.
“Computing history shows that only a short time ago computers were much more expensive than people. So, the computers were optimized, and people were the cogs in the machine,” says Mynatt. “Now, computers are the cheap part and what’s precious is people’s time and attention and what they want to accomplish. Switching that balance is what everyday computing is about.”
An internationally recognized expert in the areas of ubiquitous computing and assistive technologies, Mynatt is one of the principal researchers in the Aware Home Research Initiative, investigating the design of future home technologies, especially those that enable older adults to continue living independently.
“We have an impending crisis in the United States with an aging population. More than ever these individuals want to maintain an independent life in their senior years. In the Aware Home Research Initiative, we want to create an environment in the home that can partner with them for even basic daily activities, such as maintaining a good diet or maintaining medication management, as well as supporting communication with their family.”
Mynatt played a pivotal role in creating the new Ph.D. program in Human-Centered Computing, the first program of its kind that brings together studies in human-computer interaction, learning sciences and technology, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, robotics, software engineering, and information security.