Dr Anusha Withana

PhD (Keio, Japan), MDes ( Keio, Japan), BSc (Hons)
Lecturer
School of Computer Science

J12 - Computer Science Building
The University of Sydney

Telephone +61 2 8627 7056

Website Human centred technology

School of Computer Science

Biographical details

Dr Anusha Withana is a lecturer in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) in the School of Computer Science, University of Sydney. His primary research focus is in developing sustainable and personalized wearable multimodal interfaces. Prior to joining University of Sydney, he was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Saarland University and the Max Planck Institute for Informatics, Germany. He has also worked as a postdoctoral research fellow in the Singapore University of Technology and Design. He completed his PhD (2014) on the topic “Integration of multimodal interactions for Inter-Spatial Continuum” at Keio University, Japan under the supervision of Prof. Masahiko Inami. He has received a Masters in Media Design (2010) from Keio University and BSc (Hons.) in electronics engineering (2007) from University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka.

Research interests

As wearable devices such as smartwatches and fitness trackers become increasingly ubiquitous, Dr Anusha Withana's research seeks to create a new generation of highly personalised wearable devices and technologies that will blend in with the human body. These devices will play an important role in supporting the demands of future digital societies in a wide range of social applications, including health care, aged care and education.

"The human body and its close vicinity is the most intimate and personal space for any individual, and everybody is unique in their physicality, their preferences and their needs. Wearable devices, which are designed to work in this space, therefore not only need to be non-intrusive and accommodating, but also should support great flexibility in personalisation. Unfortunately, commercially available devices currently do not support such a degree of freedom in customisation of design, applications or interactions. This is what my research aims to address.

"My research uses advances in material sciences, functional materials and personal fabrication, along with inspiration from nature (biomimicry), to create wearable interfaces that do not require user attention, use very little power, and are customisable according to user preferences in functionality as well as appearance.

"I am particularly interested in getting the user involved in the design process. As human beings, we are unique and we celebrate the fact that we are. I try to create interfaces that appeal to this quality, rather than trying to convince the user that a team of developers in a company can create a product that appeals to everybody.

"My long-term goal is to create the ultimate wearable interface that works as an extension of human body, so that the user will not need to be aware of it - charge it, turn it on and off, worry about privacy issues - but rather it will just blend in with the user's body, senses and expressions, becoming transparent to the user."

Awards and honours

  • Most Promising Technology Award - zSense: Gestures on Smart Wearables. Innovfest unBound IDA Singapore (2016)
  • Best Pitch Award - zSense: Gestures on Smart Wearables. Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology Bootcamp (2015)
  • Best Paper Silver Award - ImpAct: Immersive haptic stylus to enable direct touch and manipulation for service computing. ACM ACE2010 Tapei (2010)
  • First Prize - Petimo: social networking robot for children. InventiON Italy (2010)

FOR Codes

080602 - Computer-Human Interaction

International Grants

2013

  • Gestures on Steering Wheel, Toyota IT.
  • Impact V2 - For Design and Creation, Keio University.

2012

  • Ambient Haptic Display for Car Steering Wheel, Toyota IT.

Selected grants

2016

  • zSense: A novel technology to allow shallow depth gesture recognition on smart wearables; Nanayakkara S, Withana A, Ransiri S; Singapore-MIT Alliance/Innovation Grant.

2015

  • zSense - A novel technology to allow shallow depth gesture recognition on smart wearables; Nanayakkara S, Withana A, Peiris R.

Selected publications

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Journals

  • Pablo, J., Fernando, P., Sridhar, P., Withana, A., Nanayakkara, S., Steimle, J., Maes, P. (2016). PostBits: using contextual locations for embedding cloud information in the home. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 20(6), 1001-1014. [More Information]
  • Sugiura, Y., Withana, A., Inami, M., Igarashi, T. (2011). Direct Operation Method with Self-projectable Finger Gestures for Bipedal robots. Journal of the Information Processing Society of Japan, 52(2), 737-742.
  • Dayarathna, M., Withana, A., Sugiura, K. (2011). Infoshare : Design and Implementation of Scalable Multimedia Signage Architecture for Wireless Ubiquitous Environments. Wireless Personal Communications, 60(1), 3-27.
  • Withana, A., Kondo, M., Makino, Y., kakehi, G., Sugimoto, M., Inami, M. (2010). ImpAct : Immersive Haptic Stylus to Enable Direct Touch and Manipulation for Surface Computing. Computers in Entertainment. Computers in Entertainment, 8(2), 1. [More Information]

Conferences

  • Nittala, A., Withana, A., Pourjafarian, N., Steimle, J. (2018). Multi-touch skin: A thin and flexible multi-touch sensor for on-skin input. 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2018), New York: Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). [More Information]
  • Withana, A., Groeger, D., Steimle, J. (2018). Tacttoo: A Thin and Feel-Through Tattoo for On-Skin Tactile Output. 31st ACM User Interface Software Technology Symposium (UIST 2018), New York: ACM Digital Library. [More Information]
  • Withana, A., Steimle, J. (2017). Personalized interactive surfaces with printed electronics. 2017 ACM International Conference on Interactive Surfaces and Spaces, ISS 2017, United States: ACM. [More Information]
  • Withana, A., Nittala, A., Steimle, J. (2017). Personalized user interfaces with printed electronics. 3rd European Tangible Interaction Studio, ETIS 2017, Luxembourg: CEUR-WS.
  • Nanayakkara, S., Schroepfer, T., Wyse, L., Lian, A., Withana, A. (2017). SonicSG: From Floating to Sounding Pixels. 8th Augmented Human International Conference (AH 2017), Mountain View, CA: Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). [More Information]
  • Ploderer, B., Fong, J., Withana, A., Klaic, M., Nair, S., Crocher, V., Vetere, F., Nanayakkara, S. (2016). ArmSleeve: a Patient Monitoring System to Support Occupational Therapists in Stroke Rehabilitation. 2016 ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS 2016), New York: Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). [More Information]
  • Withana, A., Ransiri, S., Kaluarachchi, T., Singhabahu, C., Shi, Y., Elvitigala, S., Nanayakkara, S. (2016). waveSense: Ultra Low Power Gesture Sensing Based on Selective Volumetric Illumination. 29th Annual Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology, UIST 2016, United States: Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). [More Information]
  • Withana, A., Koyama, S., Saakes, D., Minamizawa, K., Inami, M., Nanayakkara, S. (2015). RippleTouch: Initial exploration of a wave resonant based full body haptic interface. 6th Augmented Human International Conference, AH 2015, United States: Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). [More Information]
  • Withana, A., Peiris, R., Samarasekara, N., Nanayakkara, S. (2015). ZSense: Enabling shallow depth gesture recognition for greater input expressivity on smart wearables. 33rd Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2015), New York: Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). [More Information]
  • Koyama, S., Sugiura, Y., Ogata, M., Withana, A., Uema, Y., Honda, M., Yoshizu, S., Sannomiya, C., Nawa, K., Inami, M. (2014). Multi-touch steering wheel for in-car tertiary applications using infrared sensors. 5th Augmented Human International Conference, AH 2014, United States: Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). [More Information]
  • Ortega-Avila, S., Huber, J., Janaka, N., Withana, A., Fernando, P., Nanayakkara, S. (2014). SparKubes: Exploring the Interplay between Digital and Physical Spaces with Minimalistic Interfaces. The 26th Australian Computer-Human Interaction Conference on Designing Futures: the Future of Design (OzCHI 2014), New York, NY: ACM Digital Library. [More Information]
  • Sugiura, Y., Lee, C., Ogata, M., Withana, A., Makino, Y., Sakamoto, D., Inami, M., Igarashi, T. (2012). PINOKY: A ring that animates your plush toys. The 30th ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2012), New York: Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). [More Information]

Patents

  • Withana, A., Nanayakkara, S. (2019). Gesture recognition devices, gesture recognition methods, and computer readable media. Patent No. US10175768B2.
  • Withana, A., Nanayakkara, S., Pulukkutti Arachchige Don, S. (2018). PATENT: Method and device for determining position of a target. Patent No. WO2018/044233Al.
  • Nanayakkara, S., Kandage, N., Peiris, R., Withana, A. (2017). PATENT: Rehabilitation exercise system. Patent No. US020170312575A120171102.
  • Yoshizu, S., Sannomiya, H., Koyama, S., Sugiura, Y., Withana, A., Ogata, M., Inami, M. (2015). Input device and input acquisition method. Patent No. JP2015156096A.

2019

  • Withana, A., Nanayakkara, S. (2019). Gesture recognition devices, gesture recognition methods, and computer readable media. Patent No. US10175768B2.

2018

  • Withana, A., Nanayakkara, S., Pulukkutti Arachchige Don, S. (2018). PATENT: Method and device for determining position of a target. Patent No. WO2018/044233Al.
  • Nittala, A., Withana, A., Pourjafarian, N., Steimle, J. (2018). Multi-touch skin: A thin and flexible multi-touch sensor for on-skin input. 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2018), New York: Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). [More Information]
  • Withana, A., Groeger, D., Steimle, J. (2018). Tacttoo: A Thin and Feel-Through Tattoo for On-Skin Tactile Output. 31st ACM User Interface Software Technology Symposium (UIST 2018), New York: ACM Digital Library. [More Information]

2017

  • Withana, A., Steimle, J. (2017). Personalized interactive surfaces with printed electronics. 2017 ACM International Conference on Interactive Surfaces and Spaces, ISS 2017, United States: ACM. [More Information]
  • Withana, A., Nittala, A., Steimle, J. (2017). Personalized user interfaces with printed electronics. 3rd European Tangible Interaction Studio, ETIS 2017, Luxembourg: CEUR-WS.
  • Nanayakkara, S., Kandage, N., Peiris, R., Withana, A. (2017). PATENT: Rehabilitation exercise system. Patent No. US020170312575A120171102.
  • Nanayakkara, S., Schroepfer, T., Wyse, L., Lian, A., Withana, A. (2017). SonicSG: From Floating to Sounding Pixels. 8th Augmented Human International Conference (AH 2017), Mountain View, CA: Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). [More Information]

2016

  • Ploderer, B., Fong, J., Withana, A., Klaic, M., Nair, S., Crocher, V., Vetere, F., Nanayakkara, S. (2016). ArmSleeve: a Patient Monitoring System to Support Occupational Therapists in Stroke Rehabilitation. 2016 ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS 2016), New York: Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). [More Information]
  • Pablo, J., Fernando, P., Sridhar, P., Withana, A., Nanayakkara, S., Steimle, J., Maes, P. (2016). PostBits: using contextual locations for embedding cloud information in the home. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 20(6), 1001-1014. [More Information]
  • Withana, A., Ransiri, S., Kaluarachchi, T., Singhabahu, C., Shi, Y., Elvitigala, S., Nanayakkara, S. (2016). waveSense: Ultra Low Power Gesture Sensing Based on Selective Volumetric Illumination. 29th Annual Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology, UIST 2016, United States: Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). [More Information]

2015

  • Yoshizu, S., Sannomiya, H., Koyama, S., Sugiura, Y., Withana, A., Ogata, M., Inami, M. (2015). Input device and input acquisition method. Patent No. JP2015156096A.
  • Withana, A., Koyama, S., Saakes, D., Minamizawa, K., Inami, M., Nanayakkara, S. (2015). RippleTouch: Initial exploration of a wave resonant based full body haptic interface. 6th Augmented Human International Conference, AH 2015, United States: Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). [More Information]
  • Withana, A., Peiris, R., Samarasekara, N., Nanayakkara, S. (2015). ZSense: Enabling shallow depth gesture recognition for greater input expressivity on smart wearables. 33rd Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2015), New York: Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). [More Information]

2014

  • Koyama, S., Sugiura, Y., Ogata, M., Withana, A., Uema, Y., Honda, M., Yoshizu, S., Sannomiya, C., Nawa, K., Inami, M. (2014). Multi-touch steering wheel for in-car tertiary applications using infrared sensors. 5th Augmented Human International Conference, AH 2014, United States: Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). [More Information]
  • Ortega-Avila, S., Huber, J., Janaka, N., Withana, A., Fernando, P., Nanayakkara, S. (2014). SparKubes: Exploring the Interplay between Digital and Physical Spaces with Minimalistic Interfaces. The 26th Australian Computer-Human Interaction Conference on Designing Futures: the Future of Design (OzCHI 2014), New York, NY: ACM Digital Library. [More Information]

2012

  • Sugiura, Y., Lee, C., Ogata, M., Withana, A., Makino, Y., Sakamoto, D., Inami, M., Igarashi, T. (2012). PINOKY: A ring that animates your plush toys. The 30th ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2012), New York: Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). [More Information]

2011

  • Sugiura, Y., Withana, A., Inami, M., Igarashi, T. (2011). Direct Operation Method with Self-projectable Finger Gestures for Bipedal robots. Journal of the Information Processing Society of Japan, 52(2), 737-742.
  • Dayarathna, M., Withana, A., Sugiura, K. (2011). Infoshare : Design and Implementation of Scalable Multimedia Signage Architecture for Wireless Ubiquitous Environments. Wireless Personal Communications, 60(1), 3-27.

2010

  • Withana, A., Kondo, M., Makino, Y., kakehi, G., Sugimoto, M., Inami, M. (2010). ImpAct : Immersive Haptic Stylus to Enable Direct Touch and Manipulation for Surface Computing. Computers in Entertainment. Computers in Entertainment, 8(2), 1. [More Information]

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