Pervasive Computing and Visual Analytics

Pervasive Computing is concerned with developing wearable computers and the Internet of Things. We put sensors onto people or onto the things that they use. We use the data from these sensors to recognise what someone is doing so that we can evaluate skill-levels or adapt technology to suit user needs. Visual Analytics is the marriage of computer analytics with human decision making, through novel interactive visualisations. We design displays that allow users to act directly on their goals rather than needing to create queries or manage data. 

All of our research begins from understanding the needs of the person who will use the system, and then leads to specification and building of prototypes that we evaluate in controlled experiments.

We are led by Professor Chris Baber.

Much of this work involved applications on the Military and Emergency Services, and the most recent work on this topic focussed on wearable computers for Crime Scene Examiners.  This has led to ongoing work on sense-making and decision making in complex, dynamic environments (using eye-tracking to develop theories of how people sample their environments to make decisions).  

As a consequence of the work into wearable computers, we began exploring the impact of sensor-based interaction, both as a form of Human-Computer Interaction and as a means of studying the use of tools and everyday objects. 

This led to studies of human tools use, to research into how we can measure and automatically recognise dexterity, on the one hand, and continued work on the Internet of Things, on the other.   Given the wealth of data generated by sensors, we also work on how Visual Analytics can support decision making through the development of novel displays and through better management of visual attention.


  • CogWatch
  • Managing Attentional Demand through Visual Analytics

Academic Staff

Research Staff

  • Sandra Starke

Doctoral Researchers

  • Jose Waldo Cervantes-Solis
  • Anandhi Dhukuram Vivek
  • Adam Duncan
  • Joanne Kitchin
  • Natan Morar
  • Miguel Perez Xochicale

Contact details

All members of the Pervasive Computing and Visual Analytics laboratory can be contacted at:

School of Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT