Portrait of Nicolas Villar

Nicolas Villar

Principal Hardware Architect


Nicolas Villar is a Principal Hardware Architect in the Clinical Sensing & Analytics Group at Microsoft Healthcare NExT, working on Project Premonition: an advanced health project which aims to develop technologies for scalable monitoring of the biome. The system employs robotic mosquito traps and metagenomic techniques to collect and analyze mosquitoes, detecting the movements of potential pathogens in the environment before they cause outbreaks in humans. It also collects big data on insect behavior to better inform epidemiological models and public health organizations.

Previously, Nicolas was a Senior Researcher based at Microsoft Research Cambridge, UK. There, he co-led the Connected Play initiative, and was a member of the Sensors and Devices research group. His background is in embedded interactive systems, working at the intersection of computer science, ubiquitous computing, human-computer interaction and design.

Nicolas co-led the development of Project Torino: an educational tool to teach blind and low-vision children the fundamentals of programming. He co-developed Project Emma, a platform to study the mitigating effects of vibration on tremors experienced by Parkinson’s patients. He led the R&D of Project Zanzibar, a play and interaction platform in the form of a thin, flexible sensing mat that can identify and track physical objects placed on its surface, as well as user’s touch and hand gestures. He was also one of the creators of .NET Gadgeteer, a modular electronics ecosystem to accelerate development of custom electronic devices.