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Francesco Cafaro, Ph.D.

Francesco Cafaro
  • Assistant Professor, Human-Computer Interaction


fcafaroiu [dot] edu
IT 579


  • Ph.D. Computer Science, University of Illinois at Chicago (2015)
  • M.S. Computer Science, University of Illinois at Chicago (2009)
  • “Laurea Specialistica” (equivalent to M.S.), Engineering of Computing Systems, Politecnico di Milano, Italy (2008)
  • “Laurea” (equivalent to B.S.), Engineering of Computing Systems, Politecnico di Milano, Italy (2006)


Francesco Cafaro’s work is centered on the use of novel interaction techniques in support of STEM informal learning and cultural heritage. Specifically, he investigates how theories from learning, cognitive, and computer sciences can provide the scaffolding for the design of intuitive, embodied interactions. Cafaro’s recent efforts have focused on:

  • Designing and implementing hand gestures and body movements for interactive museum installations that can help visitors to make sense of what they see on the screen.
  • Defining design strategies to aid visitors in navigating multiple, complex historic narratives at outdoor cultural heritage campuses.
  • Using tracking technologies in augmented mirrors for ballet studios.

Cafaro’s multi-disciplinary research has involved the design and evaluation of prototype exhibits at Discovery Place in Charlotte, North Carolina, and for the Historic New Harmony program in southern Indiana.

Before joining our school as an assistant professor of human-computer interaction, Cafaro was a research assistant at the Learning Technology Group (Electronic Visualization Laboratory) of the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he served as a key collaborator on multi-disciplinary, federally-funded research projects. These efforts have produced prototype interactive exhibits for collaborative data exploration, first at the Jane Addams Hull House Museum in Chicago, and then at the New York Hall of Science in Queens.

Research Interests

  • Embodied interaction
  • Interaction design
  • Informal learning

Active Research Grants

Prior Research Grants


INFO-I 101 Introduction to Informatics

INFO-I 480 Experience Design and Evaluation of Ubiquitous Computing

INFO-H 566 Experience Design for Ubiquitous Computing

INFO-H 570 Experience Design for Tangible and Embodied Systems

INFO-H 680 Human-Computer Interaction Professional Practice 1

INFO-H 681 Human-Computer Interaction Professional Practice 2

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