Prof. Dr. Otmar Hilliges

Prof. Dr. Otmar Hilliges

Assistant Professor of Computer Science
Advanced Interactive Technologies Lab, ETH Zürich

+41 44 632 39 56
Universitätstrasse 6, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland
ETH Zurich, Department of Computer Science, CNB, H 103.1


I'm originally from Munich, Germany where I was born and raised. Currently I'm an Assistant Professor of Computer Science (tenure-track) at ETH Zurich. I lead the AIT lab affiliated with the Institute of Pervasive Computing and the Institute of Visual Computing. Prior to joining ETH I was Researcher at Microsoft Research Cambridge, in the I3D group(2010-2013). I was awarded a Diplom (equiv. MSc) in Computer Science from Technische Universität München, Germany (Summa Cum Laude 2004) and my PhD in Computer Science from LMU München, Germany (Summa Cum Laude 2009). Following my studies, I spent two years as a postdoc at Microsoft Research Cambridge (2010-2012).

Research Interests

My research interests are centered around the computational aspects of Human-Computer-Interaction (HCI). As technologies shift computing away from the desktop, it is becoming increasingly clear that traditional means of interaction need to be replaced or complemented with new forms of input and output. My main objective is to push the boundaries of what humans can do with computers and how they interact with them.

Concretely, I am interested in machine perception of human activity, including pose estimation, gesture recognition and other forms of input sensing. Furthermore, I am interested in algorithms that can extract high-level concepts such as style and semantic meaning from observations of human activities and algorithms that continously update individualised user models (based on such data). Finally, we investigate how mathematical optimization techniques can be used to synthesize and optimize user interfaces, at design- and run-time. For example, finding optimal parametrizations of sensor-based interactive devices for a given input task or finding optimized ways to display information given the systems current best believe about the user's intention, attention and other states.

I'm interested in many different application domains such as Augmented and Virtual Reality, Human Robot Interaction and Smart Environments and more. We work in diverse areas including HCI, robotics, computer vision and computer graphics as well as in applied machine learning and numerical optimization.

CV, Research and Teaching statements

(These were in part compiled for my tenure case - I apologise for the usual boasting.)

Academic and Professional Activities


Technical Program Comittee Member

Organizing Comittee Member


I routinely review paper for ACM CHI, UIST, ITS, TEI, Ubicomp, IEEE ISMAR, 3DV as well as for many journal publications.

Selected Publications

Please see our full publications list. Also check Google Scholar, DBLP or the ACM DL.


DeepWriting: Making Digital Ink Editable via Deep Generative Modeling


AdaM: Adapting Multi-User Interfaces for Collaborative Environments in Real-Time

AuthorsS. Park, C. Gebhardt*, R. Rädle*, A. Feit, H. Vrzakova, N. Dayama, H. Yeo, C. Klokmose, A. Quigley, A. Oulasvirta, O. Hilliges
In ProceedingsSIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Montréal, Canada, 2018
* These two authors contributed equally to this work.


MagTics: Flexible and Thin Form Factor Magnetic Actuators for Dynamic and Wearable Haptic Feedback

AuthorsF. Pece*, J. Zarate*, V. Vechev, N. Besse, O. Gudozhnik, H. Shea, O. Hilliges
In ProceedingsACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technologies (UIST), Quebec City, Canada, Oct 2017
* These two authors contributed equally to this work.

Honorable Mention Best Paper Award


Real-time Planning for Automated Multi-View Drone Cinematography

AuthorsT. Nägeli, L. Meier, A. Domahidi, J. Alonso-Mora, O. Hilliges
In ProceedingsACM Transactions on Graphics (Proceedings of ACM SIGGRAPH), Los Angeles, USA, 2017


Thin-Slicing Network: A Deep Structured Model for Pose Estimation in Videos

AuthorsJ. Song, L. Wang, L. Van Gool, O. Hilliges
In ProceedingsCVPR, Hawaii, USA, 2017

Accepted as oral presentation


Real-time Motion Planning for Aerial Videography with Dynamic Obstacle Avoidance and Viewpoint Optimization

AuthorsT. Nägeli, J. Alonso-Mora, A. Domahidi, D. Rus, O. Hilliges
In ProceedingsIEEE Robotics and Automation Letters (Volume: 2, Issue: 3), July 2017


Interacting with Soli: Exploring Fine-Grained Dynamic Gesture Recognition in the Radio-Frequency Spectrum

AuthorsS. Wang*, J. Song*, J. Lien, I. Poupyrev, O. Hilliges
In ProceedingsACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technologies (UIST), Tokyo, Japan, Oct 2016
* These two authors contributed equally to this work.


Rig Animation with a Tangible and Modular Input Device

AuthorsO. Glauser, W. Ma, D. Panozzo, A. Jacobson, O. Hilliges, O. Sorkine-Hornung
In ProceedingsACM Transactions on Graphics (Proceedings of ACM SIGGRAPH), Anaheim, CA, USA, Jul 2016


Airways: Optimization-based Planning of Quadrotor Trajectories according to High-Level User Goals

AuthorsC. Gebhardt*, B. Hepp*, T. Nägeli, S. Stevsic, O. Hilliges
In ProceedingsSIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, San Jose, CA, 2016
* These two authors contributed equally to this work.


DefSense: Computational Design of Customized Deformable Input Devices

Authors M. Bächer, B. Hepp*, F. Pece*, P. G. Kry, B. Bickel, B. Thomaszewski, O. Hilliges
To appear in ProceedingsACM SIGCHI, San Jose, CA, USA, May 2016
*These two authors contributed equally to this work.


In-air Gestures Around Unmodified Mobile Devices

Authors J. Song, G. Sörös, F. Pece, S. Fanello, S. Izadi, C. Keskin, O. Hilliges
In ProceedingsACM User Interface Software and Technology Symposium, Honolulu, Hawaii, Oct. 2014


Environment-independent Formation Flight for Micro Aerial Vehicles

Authors T. Naegeli, C. Conte, A. Domahidi, M. Morari, O. Hilliges
In ProceedingsIEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, Chicago, Illinois, Sept. 2014


Tangible and Modular Input Device for Character Articulation

Authors A. Jacobson, D. Panozzo, O. Glauser, C. Pradalier, O. Hilliges, O. Sorkine
In ProceedingsACM SIGGRAPH, Vancouver, Ca, Aug 2014


Type–Hover–Swipe in 96 Bytes: A Motion Sensing Mechanical Keyboard

Authors S. Taylor, C. Keskin, O. Hilliges, S. Izadi
In ProceedingsACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (ACM SIGCHI), Toronto, Ca, Apr 2014 / Best Paper Award


Digits: Freehand 3D Interactions Anywhere Using a Wrist-worn Gloveless Sensor

Authors D. Kim, O. Hilliges, S. Izadi, A. Butler, J. Chen, I. Oikonomidis, P. Olivier
In ProceedingsACM User Interface and Software Technologies, Boston, MA, USA, Oct 2012 / runner-up Best Demo Award


HoloDesk: Direct 3D Interactions with a Situated See-Through Display

Authors O. Hilliges, D. Kim, S. Izadi, M. Weiss
In ProceedingsHuman Factors in Computing Systems (ACM CHI), Austin, Tx, USA, Apr 2012