Tengxiang Zhang is an Assistant Research Scientist at Institute of Computing Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, where he works at the Pervasive Computing Research Center. Dr. Zhang’s research lies in the technical side of ubiquitous computing and human computer interaction. He works on pervasive sensing and interaction techniques and systems to enable access to the digital world anytime anywhere. He publishes on top-venues including CHI and IMWUT, and has been honored with two paper awards. His previous work falls into three categories: 1) Self-sustainable sensing tags to make everyday things ‘smart’; 2) Resource-constrained interaction techniques for direct interaction with such things; 3) Novel wearables that work with the tags to enable more interaction possibilities. Such work is summarized in Research Overview and also presented in this talk.


  • Human-computer Interaction
  • Ubiquitous Computing
  • Applied Machine Learning
  • Electromagnetics


  • PhD in Computer Science, 2016-2019

    Tsinghua University, China.

  • Msc in Electrical Engineering, 2011-2013

    The University of Texas at Austin, USA.

  • Bsc in Electrical Engineering, 2007-2011

    Southeast University, China.

Latest News

  • Mar 30 Talk at Microsoft Research (Redmond) on Pervasive Sensing and Interaction Systems and Techniques. [Slides]
  • Mar 11 Our work on AR-facilitated cross-display interactive system is accepted at UX4MDE CHI 2021 workshop
  • Jan 21 Guest lecture "Introduction to Sensing in HCI" for course Managing Data and Signal Processing at GIX, University of Washington at Seattle [Slides]
  • Nov 6 Invited talk at OPPO on Thing-computer Interconnection and Future Sensing Systems. [Slides]
  • Oct 18 Attended HHME'20 in Chongqing and became a CCF HCI Technical Committee member.
  • Aug 13 Invited talk at GIX Access Computing Summer Program on Sustainable Ubiquitous Computing and Interaction. [Slides]
  • Feb 28 Our work on backscatter sensors is accepted at SelfSustainableCHI'20 workshop.
  • Jan 16 ThermalRing and MoveVR are both finally accepted at CHI 2020.

Research Overview

Research Taxonomy

I adopt a human-centered perspective to design pervasive interfaces and corresponding interaction techniques so that users can access the digtal world through everyday things. More specifically, I develop self-sustainable sensing tags and apply them on everyday things to form pervasive interfaces. However, such interfaces are limited in their functionalities due to size, cost, and power constrains. So on one side, I design interaction techniques for such resource-constrained interfaces; on the other side, I leverage the usually resource-abundant wearable devices to enrich and enchance such interfaces. Thus, my previous work falls into the following three categories:

  1. Pervasive sensors and interfaces. To make everdaythings interactive and ‘smart’, I augment everyday objects with ultra-low-power, easy-to-use, and non-intrusive wireless sensing tags, which have low manufacture, deployment, and maintenance cost; I also develop novel powering methods to reduce users’ power maintenance efforts.
  2. Resource-constrained interaction techniques (1st path). To support direct human-thing interaction, I design correlation-based and semantic-based interaction techniques that leverage the temporal domain and abstract mapping respectively to compensate for the weak sensing and computing capabilities of resource-constrained interfaces.
  3. Computer-mediated pervasive interactive systems (2nd path). To enable more interaction possiblities with everyday things, I build interactive systems that leverage both the resource-abundant wearable computers and the resource-constrained pervasive interfaces. I am especially interested in combining finger wearables and AR headsets with IoT devices to enable human-centered pervasive interaction experience.

More details of my research can be found in this talk.

Selected Publications

Click the article name for details

New Opportunities for Sustainable Interaction Using Backscatter Sensors

Self-SustainableCHI’20 Workshop. On going effort.
Design considerations of sustainable interaction interfaces with backscatter …

ThermalRing: Gesture and Tag Inputs Enabled by a Thermal Imaging Smart Ring

ThermalRing uses low-resolution thermal camera for private, robust, and efficient gesture sensing and tag recognition.

Facilitating Temporal Synchronous Target Selection through User Behavior Modeling

IMWUT 2019
This paper improves the target selection performance by optimizing blinking pattern sets with Bayesian-based human modeling.

FlexTouch: Enabling Large-Scale Interaction Sensing Beyond Touchscreens Using Flexible and Conductive Materials

IMWUT 2019
FlexTouch attach conductive strips to touchscreen edges for long-range touch sensing up to 4m and object detection up to 2m.

Tap-to-Pair: Associating Wireless Devices with Synchronous Tapping

IMWUT 2018
Tap-to-Pair pairs two wireless devices spontaneously with no modifications on either device.

TouchPower: Interaction-based Power Transfer for Power-as-needed Devices

IMWUT 2017, Discussion Paper
TouchPower transfers on-body power to off-body devices during interaction to reduce maintenance demands.

BitID: Easily Add Battery-free Wireless Sensors to Everyday Objects

SmartCom’17, Best Paper Runner-up
BitID adds sensing ability to everyday objects in a DIY, low-cost, and maintenance-free manner.

Three-dimensional Gradient-index Materials and Their Applications in Microwave Lens Antennas

IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation 2013
This paper uses drilled-hole dielectric structures as gradient-index materials.



Assistant Research Scientist

Institute of Computing Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Jul 2019 – Present Beijing, China
Conduct research on ultra-low-power sensors, smart wearables, and interconnection techniques for cross-device resource distribution.

RF Engineer/Product Manager

Tomoon Technology

Jul 2015 – Jul 2016 Beijing, China

Design RF circuits and antenna for smart watches.

Deploy and manage Bluetooth tracker product for city-scale motorbikes tracking.


Product Test Engineer

Silicon Labs

May 2013 – Mar 2015 Austin, Texas, USA
Develop test hardware and firmware for wireless MCU ICs.


  • Reviewer for
    • SIGCHI’20, ‘21
    • IMWUT/UbiComp’20
    • UIST’20
    • MobileHCI’20
    • ISS’20
    • IUI’20
    • TEI’20, ‘21 (WIP PC Member)
    • EICS’19
  • Mentor for
    • GIX Winter High School Camp 2019, Seattle, USA.
  • Student Volunteer for
    • ACM UbiComp/ISWC’18, Singapore
    • United Nations 4th World Urban Forum, Nanjing, China

Facts about Me

  • I play basketball. Go Spurs Go!
  • I play guitar, nothing too complicated though.
  • I cook a lot, thanks to my wife.