Portrait of Ken Hinckley

Ken Hinckley

Principal Researcher


I am a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research, where I have worked since 1997 investigating novel input devices, device form-factors, and modalities of interaction.

My research seeks to augment the capabilities of technologies and user experiences to match human abilities, skills, desires, and expectations. I am perhaps best know for my work on sensing techniques, cross-device interaction, and pen computing. I have published somewhere between 80 and 100 academic papers, upwards of 150 patents, and also have a smattering of professional short fiction credits to my name.

I hold a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Virginia, where I studied with the late Randy Pausch.

I have received numerous professional distinctions in the field of human-computer interaction. I am a member of the CHI Academy (2014 inductee), I have served as an Associate Editor at ACM TOCHI (Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction) since 2003, and I received the UIST 2011 Lasting Impact Award for my work on sensing techniques for mobile interaction.

My research has been featured in national news outlets and tech blogs (MIT Technology Review, The Wall Street Journal, Gizmodo, Engadget, Slashdot, CBC Radio, FastCompany Design, and many others) on various occasions. More details are available on my current CV.

The easiest place to follow all my activity is on my blog, at kenhinckley.wordpress.com.



Established: May 9, 2017

WritLarge is a prototype system from Microsoft Research for the 84" Microsoft Surface Hub, a large electronic whiteboard supporting both pen and multi-touch input. WritLarge allows creators to unleash the latent expressive power of ink in a compelling manner. Using multi-touch, the content creator can simply frame a portion of their ‘whiteboard’ session between thumb and forefinger, and then act on such a selection (such as by copying, sharing, organizing, or otherwise transforming the content) using…

As we May Ink?

Established: January 6, 2015

As We May Ink? Learning from Everyday Analog Pen Use to Improve Digital Ink Experiences Abstract This project sheds light on gaps and discrepancies between the experiences afforded by analog pens and their digital counterparts. Despite the long history (and recent renaissance) of digital pens, the literature still lacks a comprehensive survey of what types of marks people make and what motivates them to use ink—both analog and digital—in daily life. To capture the diversity…

Tablet and Stylus Interaction

Established: October 3, 2014

We explore grip and motion sensing to afford new techniques that leverage how users naturally manipulate tablet and stylus devices during pen-and-touch interaction. We can detect whether the user holds the pen in a writing grip or tucked between his fingers. We can distinguish bare-handed inputs, such as drag and pinch gestures, from touch gestures produced by the hand holding the pen, and we can sense which hand grips the tablet, and determine the screen's…

Pen + Touch Interaction

Established: April 10, 2010

Microsoft Research has long pioneered new techniques in digital pen input, including particularly its combination with multi-touch in a manner that reflects how people naturally use their hands. For example, in the real world people hold (“touch”) a document with their non-preferred hand, and often frame a particular region of interest between thumb and forefinger. The pen (held, of course, in the preferred hand) then marks up the page. Interfaces with such “Pen + Touch” capabilities are now…


Established: December 8, 2008

This page is an archive of the InkSeine project's web page. The project is no longer active. The prototype is no longer maintained and does not work on Windows 10. If you have a tablet running Windows 7 or Windows Vista, InkSeine should still work on those platforms. It also has dependencies on older versions of Office, such as for interop with Microsoft Outlook. For those of you who were fans of InkSeine, we are…










Pen + Touch = New Tools
Ken Hinckley, Koji Yatani, Michel Pahud, Nicole Coddington, Jenny Rodenhouse, Andy Wilson, Hrvoje Benko, Bill Buxton, in UIST '10 Proceedings of the 23nd annual ACM symposium on User interface software and technology, ACM, October 3, 2010, View abstract, Download PDF














Alice: Easy to Use Interactive 3D Graphics
Jefiey S. Pierce , Steve Audia, Tommy Burnette, Kevin Christiansen, Dennis Cosgrove, Matt Conway, Ken Hinckley, Kristen Monkaitis, James Patten, Joe Shochet, David Staack, Brian Stearns, Chris Sturgill, George Williams, Randy Pausch , in UIST '97 Proceedings of the 10th annual ACM symposium on User interface software and technology, ACM, October 1, 1997, View abstract, Download PDF







Microsoft InkSeine Beta

May 2009

InkSeine is a prototype inking application for Tablet PC and UMPC devices that offers the unique ability to search for objects directly from ink without transcribing queries to a search box. The tutorial can be found here.

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