Semaphore Research Cluster on Mobile and Pervasive Computing

University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario
What the facility does

Semaphore is a research cluster dedicated to inclusive design in the area of mobile and pervasive computing.

Areas of expertise

Launched in 2012, Semaphore is a research cluster at the iSchool (Faculty of Information), University of Toronto, dedicated to inclusive design in the area of mobile and pervasive computing. The cluster is part of the larger Inclusive Design Institute (IDI) research effort. 

Mobile computational devices (such as smart phones and tablets), and other wearable computing devices (e.g. smart watches and fitness trackers), now accompany us throughout our lives, linking virtual environments and experiences to our actual body states and real-world experiences. Moreover, new technologies of digital fabrication such as 3D printing increase the porosity of the boundary between digital and physical modes, troubling the current ways we manage and regulate material objects as well as allowing for the development of novel forms of material production and exchange.

The ramifications of this transformation are unknown but are certainly on par with the prior socio-technical changes attendant on the development of Information and Communication Technologies more generally. This transformation inspires theoretical and applied research in three inter-related areas:  sensory information processing, participatory material culture, and adaptive gaming. 

Semaphore is led by its director, Professor Matt Ratto (Faculty of Information) and associate directors, Professor Sara Grimes (Faculty of Information) and Professor Rhonda McEwen (Institute of Communication, Culture and Information Technology).

Research services

Digital design and desktop fabrication; eye-tracking; adaptive gaming technologies

Sectors of application
  • Information and communication technologies and media

Specialized lab



Critical Making Lab

3D printers

Additive manufacturing


Accessibility Arcade

Adaptive video gaming system


Eye-tracking technologies

Tracking eye movements

  • CBM Canada



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