Hi, I am Misha.

Photo credit: Oscar Rosello

I am a PhD candidate in the Fluid Interfaces group with Prof Pattie Maes at the MIT Media Lab graduating in June 2018. I work in the area of human-computer interaction (HCI), specifically related to virtual, augmented and mixed reality. The goal of immersive technologies is nothing short of an attempt to fool the eye and the mind into seeing and believing worlds that do not exist. My work exploits the amazing capabilities of the brain to produce believable illusions of perception. Inasmuch as we use our brains to reorder our realities via technological means, we can use these same means to re-order how our brains perceive and represent ourselves.

My doctoral research explores novel ways of enhancing presence by incorporating spatial and sensory affordances from the physical world for single and multiuser applications. The challenge of integrating the real world with the virtual one while simultaneously trying to prevent the couch or the wall from disrupting presence can be surprisingly complex. But doing so successfully can provide a magical experience where the real and virtual worlds blend seamlessly to create something new.

My thesis proposes a design framework that is rooted in psychologist JJ Gibson's theory of perception which asserts the reality of experience is grounded in action. My framework presents new ways to think about human movement, interaction, sensation, space, community and individuality for enhancing the sense of presence in immersive experiences. The goal is to invent a new language of “interactive experience design” based on managing perception and attention, a language as rich and varied as that of cinema. The systems I create have potential across an extensive array of application domains like therapy, education, journalism, architecture, data visualization, remote collaboration, and entertainment.

I enjoy doodling, photography and playing video games. I also like glass blowing and kyudo. You can contact me at sra (at) media (dot) mit (dot) edu.