Portrait of Michel Pahud

Michel Pahud

Senior Research Software Development Engineer


I am truly passionate in researching and prototyping innovative breakthrough experiences that inspire product groups. My interest is ranging from productivity applications, videoconferencing, to education. I have a very strong background in computer science and engineering (hardware and software), a lot of original ideas to create experiences that solve real-world problems, and a unique ability to combine technologies together and prototype very quickly. For example, I created 32 high impact prototypes between June 2006 – June 2007 at Microsoft among other things.

I joined Microsoft in the US in March 2000. I have worked for several groups at Microsoft including Microsoft Research on the ConferenceXP research platform project, Advanced Strategy Group on an incubation project for kids and education working with Chuck Thacker and Margaret Johnson. This project launched a new company named Sabi in early 2008 (http://www.sabigames.com/). I am now back at Microsoft Research working directly with Bill Buxton on user experience research.

I personally demonstrated part of my work to executives at Microsoft including Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, Craig Mundie, Eric Rudder, Joe Belfiore, Ray Ozzie, and many others.

I have a Ph.D. in parallel computing from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. I also have been working for 2 companies as a C.S. engineer in Switzerland prior joining Microsoft in the U.S. I won several awards including the prestigious LOGITECH prize for industrially-oriented innovative hardware/software senior project at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and a runner-up prize from the Microsoft internal employees Tablet PC developer contest for an innovative fun Tablet PC application for kids.


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…









Large Display Experiences and Society of Appliances: Recently, I have been leading the research project on large display experiences and society of appliances. This project was among the very few research projects selected for the very prestigious TechForum 2013 event hosted by Craig Mundie and Eric Rudder, and was on the cover page of The Verge. This research has been shown to the press during TechForum and TechFest 2013. Among others, The Verge, The Seattle Times, readwrite science, and Display Central have been talking about this research. Also featured in the TechFest report of the printed German c’t Magazine for Computer Technology, March 2013, (lower-left photo of p. 44 when I demo the palette menu with pen and touch on the large display): http://www.heise.de/artikel-archiv/ct/2013/08/044_3D-und-Big-Data.

Actuated 3-D Display with Haptic Feedback (demo): I have also been involved in a project with a 3D haptic touch display that has been shown to the press at TechFest 2013 too. Among others, Pocket-lint,  EXTREME TECHArs Technica, TechNext Blogs, Display Central, and Futura-Techno have been talking about it. This project was among the very few projects selected to be demonstrated to several Senators and other VIPs at Washington D.C. during the very prestigious D.C. TechFair 2013 event including Senator Mark Begich (D-AK), and was covered by The Washington Post, and Photo galleries from The Washington Post. This was also covered by The Fire Hose, Windows Phone Central, Discovery News, and Correio Braziliense. For more information, see Microsoft Research feature story: Touch to Feel the Virtual World. Also covered by the Huston ChronicleThe Telegraph and BBC NEWS TECHNOLOGY.

I also worked on innovative distributed collaboration experiences (CSCW2010 publication), smartphone exploration, and also collaborating with Ken Hinckley on pen and touch experiences (high level demo, detailed demo) and in-place command experiences. You can also look at the Microsoft Campus Tours with demonstration of our project with the Larry Larsen and Microsoft Research General Manager Kevin Schofield (campus tour).

More info will come soon… In the meantime, you can enjoy the demos below:

Here are some fun demos of experiences for kids:

  • Experience I created of a robot acting out a story: low_res / high_res / downloadable

  • Experience I created of a story programmatically acted out on a Surface with play set: low_res / high_res / downloadable

  • Experience that I co-invented with the Natural Language Processing group that converts text to animation on-the-fly in order to motivate kids to learn how to write: low_res / high_res / downloadable
  • Text to animation conversion on-the-fly in the virtual and physical worlds: low_res / high_res / downloadable

Animated fonts:

This is an exploration project. The intent of this demo is only to show one possible implementation on how we could animate fonts procedurally in a very simple and scalable way (no canned graphics, everything is generated on-the-fly). The simplicity of the algorithm in this demo could even enable scenarios with slower CPU such as mobile devices. For example, this exploration could be used to animate text (a letter, a word, or a sentence) in IM, SMS messages, email, etc. when appropriate to emphasize an emotion. In addition, it could also be used in context of children’s reading to emphasize part of a text without having to create all the graphics.

  • Explanations: high_res / downloadable
  • Demo: high_res / downloadable

Hardware project example:

Other demos:

  • Story authoring on Surface with cards that contain words on it (actor, action, location): low_res / high_res / downloadable
  • Two-handed input demo: high_res / downloadable
  • Collaborative tablet PC story creation tool for kids on ConferenceXP: low_res / high_res / downloadable
  • Collaborative Visio application on ConferenceXP: low_res / high_res / downloadable
  • Collaborative visual assessment tool application on ConferenceXP: low_res / high_res / downloadable

Recent Publications:

  • Yoon, D., Hinckley, K., Benko, H., Guimbretiere, F., Irani, P., Pahud, M., and Gavriliu, M. (2015). Sensing Tablet Grasp + Micro-mobility for Active Reading. To appear In Proc. of ACM UIST 2015.
  • Hinckley, K., Pahud, M., Benko, H., Irani, P., Gavriliu, M., Guimbretiere, F., Chen, X., Matulic, F., Buxton, W., Wilson, A. D. (2014). (short demo, long demo) Sensing Techniques for Tablet+Stylus Interaction. In Proc. of ACM UIST 2014, Honolulu, Hawaii, October 5-8, 2014. [PDF]
    ACM UIST 2014 Best Paper Award
  • Grubert, J., Pahud, M., Grasset, R., Schmalstieg, D., and Seichter, H. (2014). The Utility of Magic Lens Interfaces on Handheld Devices for Touristic Map Navigation. In Pervasive and Mobile Computing. Elsevier
  • Arif, A. S., Pahud, M., Hinckley, K., and Buxton, B. (2014). (demoExperimental Study of Stroke Shortcuts for a Touchscreen Keyboard with Gesture-Redundant Keys Removed. In Proc. Graphics Interface 2014 (GI’14). Canadian Information Processing Society, Toronto, Ont., Canada. Montreal, Quebec, Canada, May 7-9, 2014. [PDF] [Talk Slides (.pptx)]  Michael A. J. Sweeney Award for Best Student Paper
  • Sinclair, M., Pahud, M. and Benko, H. (2014). TouchMover 2.0 – 3D Touchscreen with Haptic Feedback and Haptic Texture. In Proc. of IEEE Haptics Symposium (HAPTICS ’14). [PDF] [Video – MP4]
  • Sinclair, M., Pahud, M. and Benko, H. (2013). TouchMover: Actuated 3D Touchscreen with Haptic Feedback. In Proc. of ACM Interactive Tabletops and Surfaces (ITS 2013), St Andrews, UK, Oct. 6-9, 2013. [PDF]
    ACM ITS 2013 Best Paper Award
  • Pahud, M., Hinckley, K., Iqbal, S., Sellen, A., and Buxton, B. (2013). (demo) Toward Compound Navigation Tasks on Mobiles via Spatial Manipulation. In ACM 15th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services, (MobileHCI 2013), Munich, Germany, Aug. 27-30, 2013, pp. 113-122. [PDF]
  • Arif, A., Pahud, M., Hinckley, K., Buxton, W. (2013). A Tap and Gesture Hybrid Method for Authenticating Smartphone Users (Poster). In ACM 15th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services(MobileHCI 2013), Munich, Germany, Aug. 27-30, 2013, pp. 486-491. [Paper PDF] [Poster Presentation PDF]  
  • Hinckley, K., Bi, X., Pahud, M., Buxton, B. (2012). Informal Information Gathering Techniques for Active Reading. 4pp Note. In Proc. CHI 2012 Conf. on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Austin, TX, May 5-10, 2012.
  • Hinckley, Ken, Pahud, Michel, & Buxton, Bill (2010). Direct Display Interaction via Simultaneous Pen + Multi-touch Input. Society for Information Display (SID) Symposium Digest of Technical Papers, May 2010, Volume 41(1), Session 38, 537-540.
  • Hinckley, K., Yatani, K., Pahud, M., Coddington, N., Rodenhouse, J., Wilson, A., Benko, H. & Buxton, B. (2010). Pen + Touch = New Tools. Proceedings of the 23nd annual ACM symposium on User interface software and technology (UIST’10), 27-36.
  • Hinckley, K., Yatani, K., Pahud, M., Coddington, N., Rodenhouse, J., Wilson, A., Benko, H. & Buxton, B. (2010). Manual Deskterity : An Exploration of Simultaneous Pen + Touch Direct Input. Proceedings of the 28th International Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI’10 (alt.chi), 2793 – 2802.
  • Tang, Anthony, Pahud, Michel, Inkpen, Kori, Benko, Hrvoje, Tang, John C. & Buxton, Bill (2010). Three’s Company: Understanding Communication Channels in Three-Way Distributed Collaboration. CSCW ’10: Proceedings of the 2010 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 271-280.
  • Tang, A., Pahud, M., Carpendale, S., and Buxton, B. (2010). VisTACO: Visualizing Tabletop Collaboration. In Proc. Interactive Tables and Surfaces 2010 (ITS 2010). (November 7-10, Saarbrucken, Germany). ACM Press. pp: 29-38.
  • Aikawa, Takako, Pahud, Michel, & Schwartz Lee (2005). NLP Story Maker. L&TC’05, 2nd Language & Technology Conference: Human Language Technologies as a Challenge for Computer Science and Linguistics, Poznań, Poland, April 21-23, 2005.
  • Pahud, Michel (2004). Conference XP Research Platform: Toward an Extensible Collaborative Environment, WACE04, WORKSHOP ON ADVANCED COLLABORATIVE ENVIRONMENTS, Nice, France, Sept 23, 2004.
  • Schwartz, Lee, Aikawa Takako, & Pahud Michel (2004). Dynamic Language Learning Tools. InSTIL/ICALL2004 Symposium on Computer-Assisted Language Learning, Venice, Italy, June 17-19 , 2004.

Older Publications (on parallel computing during Ph.D. at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology): http://diwww.epfl.ch/lami/team/pahud/mp_pub.html