REU Research Areas

REU projects create and test innovative technologies that empower people to solve important problems with impacts for society at large. Each REU student will learn about and make a contribution in a primary research area for the program. Several research labs within our College participate. REU students are assigned to a project within a research lab, and become a member of the lab for the summer.  Research labs and faculty members connected with our REU program are highlighted below. 


Human Computer Interaction Lab
Makerspace Lab

Our research covers a broad range of areas in HCI, including: novel interactions, digital fabrication and tangible interfaces, social networking, privacy and security, recommender Systems, and case-based reasoning.


Example projects

  • Interacting with Plants - Using capacitance sensors and arduino for processing, the user can interact with a plant by touch, with varying audio/sound responses depending on the touchpoint across different leaves or parts of the plant.
  • User Perceptions of Security/Privacy in Automated Home Devices - Consumer devices for smart homes collect and use a wide array of potentially sensitive information. We are investigating how to help users understand and control that information, empowering them to maintain the security and privacy of their homes.
  • Musical Spaces - Hand tracking technology is used to sense hand motions and gestures that enable users to "play the air" as a completely new kind of musical instrument. Two or more people can perform as a virtual ensemble.
  • Collaboration for Lightweight Teams - Designing new user interfaces to enhance in-class group collaboration.
  • Accio Interaction - Using an IMU (positional sensor) creating a device to recognize a set of "wand gestures" as input for interactive systems.

Security and Cyber-Physical Systems

Smart Home Lab
CyberDNA Center
Center for Cybersecurity Analytics and Automation
Lab of Information Integration, Security and Privacy

Security faculty perform research across a wide range of connections between cybersecurity and cyber-physical systems. For example, projects focus on privacy and security in smart homes and Internet of Things - at the intersection of the digital and physical worlds.


Example projects

  • Retroactive Security for Mobile + IoT Apps - Many mobile applications are developed to interact with IoT sensors / devices. This project investigates how to protect hybrid mobile apps against a range of security and privacy vulnerabilities.
  • Security Threats against IoT Devices - This project investigates use of penetration testing tools to discover security vulnerabilities in consumer IoT devices.
  • IoT Data Provenance.  This project investigates how to track the origin and flow of information as it travels through IoT systems, such as low-resource devices that interact with the physical world around them.

Visualization and Video/Image Analytics

Ribarsky Center for Visual Analytics
Video and Image Analysis (VIA) Lab


The Ribarsky Center for Visual Analytics is a highly interdisciplinary center that applies interactive visualization and visual analytics to a variety of large scale and complex problems in science, engineering, medicine, business, design, and the arts.

The Video and Image Analysis Lab (VIA lab) in the Department of Computer Science at UNC Charlotte focuses on research that shapes the future of how people interact with computers. Our primary research areas are biomedical image analysis, computer vision, human-computer interaction, virtual environments, and virtual humans. 


Example projects

  • Visual Social Network Analysis - Social networks face various forms of fraud and attack, such as spam, denial of service, and viral marketing. To build trustworthy social networks, techniques are neede to analyze and detect bad actions. This project investigates a visual analytics approach to detecting social network fraud and attacks.
  • 3D Modeling for Augmented Reality - This project investigates using a 3D printed scale-model of a building coupled with a mixed-reality (HoloLens) device to explore the whole building right in front of you. This has a wide variety of applications from wayfinding to support for emergency response. 
  • Bringing the power of IoT to everyone - Smart "things" are appearing everywhere around us.  These range from thermostats that program themselves to save energy, lights that respond to your voice or presence, and washers and dryers that you can control from anywhere.  These devices have often helped many of us.  However, there are many considerations for accessibilty of such devices.  How can a person who cannot speak use Amazon Alexa’s voice commands to control a Nest thermostat?  What about controlling lights through apps on a smartphone if you are quadriplegic?  This project investigates steps toward using IoT to empower independence and productivity for everyone.