Jarrod Knibbe

Assistant Professor, HCI
The University of Melbourne

I am a researcher in Interaction Design. I enjoy building new interactive devices and understanding the experience of using those devices. Currently, I have a special interests in both Virtual Reality and Smart Clothing

I describe myself as a future technologist and pursue technology-first human-computer interaction - revealing and exploring novel tech that may later provide solutions to human-centered problems. I am always happy to chat about new and emerging technologies and how they may present opportunities. 

Example Research Projects

Haptics for VR

One of the great challenges of virtual reality is that you can't actually touch stuff - you can't feel it's texture, weight, heat, etc. There are two broad camps trying to address this: the Accuracy camp and the Naturalness camp.

The accuracy camp wants you to experience material properties as accurately as possible, so they build specialist controllers. The naturalness camp wants you to be unencumbered by controllers, so they use illusions. 

I have no allegiance to either camp. That said, most of my work is in naturalness at the moment. 

Smart Clothing

We are increasingly able to integrate an amazing range of sensors and actuators into fabric, creating Smart Clothing. However, we are not seeing these clothes in stores or in our wardrobes. I believe this is for two key reasons: (1) no killer app - we are not yet doing anything really convincing with these clothes, and (2) tailoring is hard - we are not yet able to make smart clothing work regardless of your body shape or size. I am working on both of these problems. 

If you want to watch me and Paul Strohmeier talk about some of our work, check out this video.  

VR For Learning

Much of the excitement around VR's future surrounds its potential for education. It could support better repeatability, lower the costs for 'hands-on' training on expensive machinery, and better support tailored learning. To maximise this potential, though, we need to understand how to design learning environments and what to measure. Crucially, however, I believe we need to better understand how to use our hands in VR, so we can begin to develop accurate motor skills in virtual environments. 

Digital Twins and Mixed Reality

There is a lot of hype about digital twins and a lot of confusion about what the opportunities there really are. In this space, I depart from my usual technology-centric perspective, and argue strongly for a problem-driven (human-centered) approach. Sure, we might have a lot of data about a given process or some infrastructure, but what insights can we derive and what problems do those insights help to solve? Importantly, how do we interact with that twin, in a way that is simple and useful? Sometimes, the solution lies in mixed reality. Equally, sometimes it does not.


The most up-to-date place to see my publications is on my Google Scholar. If you are looking for a specific paper and can't find a free version, send me a message and I'll send it to you. 

Here are 5 of my favourite papers that I've written:

Current PhD Students (Supervised with various brilliant colleagues)

Aldrich Clarence
VR, Haptics, Illusions.

Ulan Kelesbekov
VR, Haptics, Materials

Sara Khorasani
VR, Learning Analytics

Ying Ma
Social Analytics

Monica Lim
Music, Novel Instruments, Collaboration

Rakesh Patibanda
(Honorary Member)
EMS, Motor Learning

Former PhD Students

Shreya Ghosh
Computer Vision, Gaze, AI

Future PhD Students

I am always looking for PhD candidates. If you have a background in Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Mechatronics, or Fashion / Costume Design (!) please get in touch. I like students who want to get stuck in and get hands-on. If you do a PhD with me, you will likely use/develop skills in digital fabrication, electronics, Unity, and mixed methods evaluation. 

We are a large group of academics in HCI at the University of Melbourne, with diverse interests spanning a broad spectrum of human-centered design and engineering. We have great lab facilities and equipment and you will join a growing cohort of PhD students, with whom you can collaborate and develop. We offer generous scholarships and Melbourne is a great place to live. If you are interested in chatting further, please get in touch. 

The University of Melbourne provides loads of information about applying for a PhD here.

Get in Touch

Email: jarrod.knibbe@unimelb.edu.au