Hello, I’m alex.

Currently, I am a post-doc with Olga Sorkine-Hornung at ETH Zürich, interactive geometry lab.
Previously, I was a PhD student with Patrick Baudisch at Hasso Plattner Institute, human-computer interaction lab

In my research, I investigate and develop interactive design tools that enable digital fabrication of complex shapes and structures for novice users.

In my work, I propose unifying material and device and develop what I call metamaterial devices. While metamaterials, which are materials with properties defined by their engineered microstructure, were so far understood as materials–I think of them as devices. My research focuses on new types of machines, the functionality of which are solely defined by the material’s microstructure. The typically intricate cell-structures are hard to design, because only if all cells move in concert, they can perform their macroscopic device function. I develop interactive systems that assist users in modeling and generating the material geometry.

My research and expertise lie at the intersection of human-computer interaction, digital fabrication, deformation mechanics, and material science. My work has been published in and awarded by premier venues, including ACM UIST and CHI.

email: alexandra.ion [at] inf.ethz.ch
on the web: twitter, google scholar, research gateLinkedIn

curriculum vitae: PDF


PhD topic “Metamaterial Devices”

[10] Understanding Metamaterial Mechanisms.

Alexandra Ion, David Lindlbauer ,Philipp Herholz, Marc Alexa and Patrick Baudisch.
In Proceedings of CHI’19. Glasgow, UK, May 4 – 9, 2019.

paper   video  acm dl

[9] Metamaterial Textures.

Alexandra Ion, Robert Kovacs, Oliver Schneider, Pedro Lopes and Patrick Baudisch.
In Proceedings of CHI’18. Montreal, Canada, April 21 – 26, 2018.

paper  video  acm dl

[8] Digital Mechanical Metamaterials.

Alexandra Ion, Ludwig Wall, Robert Kovacs, and Patrick Baudisch.
In Proceedings of CHI’17. Denver, CO, May 6 – 11, 2017. 

paper  video  acm dl

[7] Metamaterial Mechanisms. 

Alexandra Ion, Johannes Frohnhofen, Ludwig Wall, Robert Kovacs, Mirela Alistar, Jack Lindsay, Pedro Lopes, Hsiang-Ting Chen, and Patrick Baudisch.
In Proceedings of UIST’16. Tokyo, Japan, October 16 – 19, 2016.


paper  video  acm dl  github


Additional peer- reviewed publications

[6] TrussFormer: 3D Printing Large Kinetic Structures.

Robert Kovacs, Alexandra Ion, Pedro Lopes, Tim Oesterreich, Johannes Filter, Philip Otto, Tobias Arndt, Nico Ring, Melvin Witte, Anton Synytsia, and Patrick Baudisch
In Proceedings of UIST’18. Berlin, Germany, October 14 – 17, 2018. PDF

ARVE Error: id and provider shortcodes attributes are mandatory for old shortcodes. It is recommended to switch to new shortcodes that need only url

[5] Adding Force Feedback to Mixed Reality Experiences and Games using Electrical Muscle Stimulation.

Pedro Lopes, Sijing You, Alexandra Ion, and Patrick Baudisch.
In Proceedings of CHI’18. Montreal, Canada, April 21 – 26, 2018. PDF

[4] Skin drag displays: dragging a physical tactor across the user’s skin produces a stronger tactile stimulus than vibrotactile.

Alexandra Ion, Edward Wang, and Patrick Baudisch.
In Proceedings of CHI’15. Seoul, Korea, April 18 – 23, 2015. PDF

ARVE Error: id and provider shortcodes attributes are mandatory for old shortcodes. It is recommended to switch to new shortcodes that need only url

[3] Impacto: Simulating Physical Impact by Combining Tactile Stimulation with Electrical Muscle Stimulation.

Pedro Lopes, Alexandra Ion, Patrick Baudisch.
In Proceedings of UIST’15. Charlotte, NC, November 8 – 11, 2015. pp. 11-19. PDF

[2] Proprioceptive  Interaction.

Pedro Lopes, Alexandra Ion, Willi Mueller, Daniel Hoffmann, Patrik Jonell, Patrick Baudisch.
In Proceedings of CHI’15. Seuol, Korea, April 18 – 23, 2015. PDF

[1] Canyon: Providing location awareness of multiple moving objects in a detail view on large displays.

Alexandra Ion, Yu-Ling Chang, Michael Haller, Mark Hancock, Stacey Scott.
In Proceedings of CHI’13. Paris, France, April 27 – May 2, 2013. pp. 3149-3158. 


Other, non-peer-reviewed publications

[2] Understanding mid-air hand gestures: A study of human preferences in usage of gesture types for HCI.

Roland Aigner, Daniel Wigdor, Hrvoje Benko, Michael Haller, David Lindbauer, Alexandra Ion, Shengdong Zhao, and Jeffrey Tzu Kwan Valino Koh. Technical Report MSR-TR-2012-111. 2012. PDF


[1] Using Your Own Muscles: Realistic physical experiences in VR.

Pedro Lopes, Alexandra Ion, Robert Kovacs.
XRDS, Fall 2015, Vol. 22. PDF


Program committee:
CHI 2020 – subcommittee “Interaction Techniques, Devices & Modalities”
CHI 2019 – subcommittee “Interaction Techniques, Devices & Modalities”
SIGGRAPH Asia 2019 – Technical briefs and posters

Organizing committee:
UIST 2020 – demo co-chair
UIST 2019 – sustainability co-chair
UIST 2018 – local arrangements co-chair, accessibility chair
UIST 2017 – student volunteer co-chair
UIST 2016 – documentation chair

ACM CHI 2019 – 2014
ACM UIST 2019 – 2016
ACM TEI 2019, 2017
ACM DIS 2017, 2016
ACM Augmented Human 2016, 2015
IEEE World Haptics 2015, 2017
IEEE Haptics Symposium 2018
ACM SUI 2016

Elsevier Computers & Graphics 2018
Nature Scientific Reports 2018
Interacting with Computers 2014

Student volunteer: CHI 2016, UIST 2015, ITS 2014