Daniel Afergan


Ph.D. candidate in Computer Science
Tufts University Human-Computer Interaction Lab
email | CV | LinkedIn

My Research

My area of focus is using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) for real-time human performance. My goal is to use passive input from brain-sensing to determine trends in cognitive state that can help adapt computer systems. My lab uses fNIRS to measure blood flow and oxygenated/deoxygenated hemoglobin levels in the prefrontal cortex, and we use machine learning to compare the user's current state to that in a known training task in order to create adaptive interfaces. I've also begun developing for Google Glass.

My work with fNIRS and UAVs and my lab's work has been featured in articles in The Boston Globe, New Scientist, Discovery News, and a video from TuftsNow.

About Me

I am a Computer Science Ph.D. candidate at Tufts University studying brain-computer interfaces under Professor Robert Jacob. I am a member of the Tufts HCI Lab and I am also interested in visualization and visual analytics.

I graduated from from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Cognitive Science with minors in Psychology & Computer Science and Engineering in 2005. I also received a M.S. in Computer Science from The George Washington University in 2009.

From 2005 to 2010 I worked at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in the Warfighter Human System Integration Laboratory, working on immersive virtual environment training systems for Marine Corps infantry training and researching physiological measurements of performance.

Selected Publications

Afergan, D. (2009). Speed-Accuracy Comparison of Navigational Interfaces. Master's Thesis, The George Washington University. [link]

Afergan, D. and Davis, J.L. (2007). Promising Directions for Improved Training, Learning, and Memory. Foundations of Augmented Cognition, 4th Ed. Presented at Augmented Cognition International 2007. [link]

Afergan, D., Peck, E.M., Chang, R., Jacob, R.J.K. (2013). Using Passive Input to Adapt Visualization Systems to the Individual. CHI 2013 Workshop, Many People, Many Eyes: Aggregating Influences of Visual Perception on User Interface Design. [link]

Afergan, D., Peck, E.M., Solovey, E.T., Jenkins, A., Hincks, S.W., Brown, E.T., Chang, R., Jacob, R.J.K. (2014). Dynamic Difficulty Using Brain Metrics of Workload. Accepted for publication at ACM CHI 2014 Best Paper Award Honorable Mention [link],[video preview]

Peck, E.M., Afergan, D., and Jacob, R.J.K. (2013). Investigation of fNIRS Brain Sensing as Input to Information Filtering Systems. Proceedings of Augmented Human 2013. [link]

Stripling, R., Coyne, J.T., Cole, A., Afergan, D., Barnes, R.L., Rossi, K., Reeves, L., & Schmorrow, D.D. Automated SAF Adaptation Tool (ASAT). Foundations of Augmented Cognition, 3rd Ed. Presented at Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Foundations of Augmented Cognition, 2007. [link]

Tognoli, E., Kovacs, A. J., Suutari, B., Afergan, D., Coyne, J., Gibson, G., Stripling, R., & Kelso, J.A.S. (2011). Behavioral and Brain Dynamics of Team Coordination Part I: Task Design. In Foundations of Augmented Cognition. Directing the Future of Adaptive Systems. [link]

Tognoli, E., Kovacs, A. J., Suutari, B., Afergan, D., Coyne, J., Gibson, G., Stripling, R., & Kelso, J.A.S. (2011). Behavioral and Brain Dynamics of Team Coordination Part II: Neurobehavioral Performance. In Foundations of Augmented Cognition. Directing the Future of Adaptive Systems. [link]

Personal

I am the Tufts Graduate Student Council academic and career development chair, and I am the GSC Computer Science department representative.
In my free time, I play scrumhalf and am social chair for the Boston Maccabi Rugby Football Club. I run with the Boston City Sports Run Club and I also run a few races a year. I also enjoy hiking and have conquered a number of New Hampshire's 4,000 foot peaks as well as mountains in Alaska's Denali National Park and the W Trail in Torres Del Paine National Park in Chile. You can follow my deepest thoughts that fit in 140 characters at @danafergan.