Mithra Vankipuram looks out for users in HP’s Immersive Experiences Lab

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profile_picture_april2013_s.jpgGrowing up, HP Labs research scientist Mithra Vankipuram was drawn equally to science, art, math, and engineering. “I’ve always liked applying ideas and building stuff,” she says. That led her to study computer science and engineering as an undergraduate at Anna University in Chennai, India, and then to move to Arizona State University to study for her M.S. in computer science. There she became interested in 3D simulation technologies, especially haptics, which create the sensation of force or touch for virtual tactile experiences. That inspired her to pursue a Ph.D. in biomedical informatics where she addressed problems in healthcare environments, such as trauma critical care units, through the use of virtual reality. Recruited by HP as a post-doctoral researcher, Vankipuram officially joined HP Labs 3 years ago as a user experience researcher for projects in healthcare, retail, and big data analytics. This November, she became a founding member of HP’s new Immersive Experiences Lab and she spoke with us recently to share what she’s interested in, and inspired by, today.