We care about human experiences with computing.

As a part of Microsoft, we aim to build new technologies, to map out new design spaces, and to provide different ways of looking at human behaviour from low level interaction through to the social and cultural ramifications of technology.

To do this, we draw on diverse perspectives across the sciences, engineering, arts and humanities. Because of our skill-set, we are unique in being able to create and explore new experiences end-to-end, starting from technology insight, user understanding or design.

Social Science



Recent Work

Accessing Multiple Sclerosis with Kinect

ASSESS MS provides a consistent, quantified measure of motor ability for Multiple Sclerosis patients that is both inexpensive and non-invasive.

Digital Possessions

In this project we looked more closely at what digital possessions are, where they are hosted and stored, how users interact with them, and what this meant for their relationships with them.

Socially Intelligent Meetings

Engaging meetings need to be contextually adaptive and inclusive. The Socially Intelligent Meetings project explores how to improve video-mediated collaboration by bringing social intelligence to meetings.


Torino (now Code Jumper) is a physical programming language for teaching computational thinking skills and basic programming concepts to children ages 7–11, regardless of their level of vision.

Things We’ve Learnt About

A magazine from the Human Experience & Design team that summarises our work around 5 specific themes in a way that we hope is interesting, insightful and inspirational. And most importantly, succinct. The magazines are available as free PDFs, or can be bought in print form.


HXD is part of the Human-Computer Interaction Group.

Work with us

Opportunities to work with the HXD group include student internships, Post Doc positions, and Research Assistant posts. The “Career Opportunities” section of this page shows open positions, and if it is not visible we unfortunately have none available at this point. You can follow these links to find out more about career opportunities and internships at the Cambridge lab more broadly.

If you are a graduate student and are interested in applying for an internship with the group, look out for opportunities to apply towards the end of 2019. That’s when we’ll start looking for great candidates for the Summer of 2020, when the bulk of our interns come to the lab. We need to fill positions well in advance of the start date in order to allow our recruitment team to get the paperwork all done, so be sure to apply early.


Archived Work

Project Zanzibar

A flexible, portable mat that can sense and track physical objects and allow you to interact.

Autonomous Pixels

A display in which every pixel has its own sensing and signal processing capabilities built in, and acts independently of its neighbour.

Touchless Interaction in Medical Imaging

Developing touchless interaction within surgical settings, allowing images to be viewed, controlled and manipulated without contact through the use of Microsoft Kinect.

Conversational Agents that See

Augmenting conversational agents with the ability to see.

Beyond Search

Exploring search experiences that point to other human values to design for, beyond speed and efficiency.


A system for digitally sharing the rich, physical objects that you collect in your life.

The Future of Looking Back

What does it mean to inherit someone else’s digital as well as physical belongings?

A Memory Making System

A digital system for family archiving that allows for the creation of new kinds of digital memorabilia.


Seasonal climate information for absolutely anywhere on Earth.

Data and its Street Life

Exploring what data means for the people living and working on Tenison Road.

Future of Writing

A design project commissioned by from the Royal College of Art in London.

Memory Dialogue

Exploring artefact-based memory sharing

Being Human

A report on Human-Computer Interaction in the Year 2020.

Visualizing Text of (Children’s) book series

How might the analytical power and display capabilities of computers may be used to enhance our understanding of book texts.

HXD Studio

The HXD team has recently moved from individual offices to an open design studio, with a diversity of spaces for individual and team work. An emphasis here has been on flexibility and the goal of creating a space that is used by everyone, that can be messy. With this in mind we put an emphasis on furniture that is mobile, buying much of it at low cost to discourage us from feeling like we couldn’t discard it if it wasn’t what we needed.

We use wheeled, bespoke bar-height tables for large group meetings, as well as for breaking out into individual teams. 4 large monitors on wheels give us flexibility for different kinds of presentations, and can be moved anywhere in the studio thanks to a broad distribution of power in the floor. Most of the studio wall is covered with pin board, onto which a lot of materials can be hung, as well as whiteboard.

We have a project-focussed area, with a smaller meeting table, and again this space can be used very flexibly and on a semi-permanent basis. A set of moveable picnic benches with floor power access offer both space to eat together, as well as hot desk space for individuals and smaller groups.

We are a multi-disciplinary team, with a mix of working styles. While the acoustics in the space work really well, the carpeting particularly helping to dampen the movement of noise between the open spaces and desks, we offered offices for those people in the team whose working style puts more emphasis on reading, writing and confidentiality. Open plan desks all have shelves behind and around them, so although open plan they still offer a modicum of privacy, and help avoid the feeling of people watching over your shoulder. Finally, our reading corner offers a quiet spot for consuming the written word.

We are happy to have navigated the complications of open plan working, and the space is already working well to encourage collaboration and make the team more aware of one another’s work, as well as giving our team a strong identity within the lab.