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 with a goal of merging the physical and digital worlds. He builds self-sustainable sensing and interactive systems to enable spontaneous and smooth flow of information and energy among computers and everyday things. 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) Sensing Tags; 2) Finger Wearables; 3) Interconnection Techniques, which are summarized in Research Overview and Research Statement.


  • 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 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

I adopt a human-centered perspective to design sustainable sensing and interaction systems, which form a pervasive interface to merge the digital and physical world. I believe the key for such an interface is spontaneous and smooth flow of information and energy among computers and everyday things. Thus, my previous work falls into three categories:

  1. Sensing Tags. I augment everyday objects with ultra-low-power, easy-to-use, and non-intrusive wireless sensing tags, which have low expense, deployment cost, and maintenance cost.
  2. Finger Wearables. I develop multi-purpose, power-efficient, and privacy-protective finger wearables, which can provide a rich, spontaneous, and consistent interaction experience.
  3. Interconnection Techniques. I establish both power and information links among devices to redistribute the power, computational, and interactive resources, especially between today’s powerful on-body devices and resource-limited off-body devices.

Please click the corresponding card for more details of my previous work. My research statement including the future research plan can be found here.

Sensing Tags

I invent passive sensors that can be deployed in a DIY manner to detect object status and human behaviors.

Finger Wearables

I design modularized smart rings and use a thermal imaging smart ring to detect gesture and tag inputs.


I develop power transfer and cross-device interaction techniques for interactive IoT devices.

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.

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.