James Gips
John R. and Pamela Egan Professor
of Computer Science


Prof. James Gips, long-time former faculty member in the Department of Computer Science, passed away on June 10th, 2018.


Information Systems Department
Carroll School of Management
Fulton Hall 460
Boston College
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467-3808


Wikipedia bio       photos

Over the summer the best way to reach me is by email.


Fall semester 2018 I am scheduled to teach two sections of ISYS1021 Digital Technologies: Strategy and Use (recently renamed from Computers in Management).

Fall semester 2017 I taught ISYS1031 Computers in Management  (Honors).  Here is a class photo.  Sam is holding our wonderful textbook.

Class photo Nov 2017

Click here for previous class photos.

Here are the student evaluations for ISYS1031 (previously numbered as MI031) with all individual student comments: the Fall 2017 student evaluations, the Spring 2017 student evaluations, the Spring 2016 evaluations, the Fall 2014 evaluations, the Fall 2013 MI031 evaluations, the Fall 2012 MI031 evaluations, the Fall 2011 MI031 evaluations, the Fall 2010 MI031 evaluations, the Fall 2009 MI031 evaluations, and the Fall 2008 MI031 evaluations.

Spring semester 2018 I taught two sections of ISYS2157 Intro to Programming for Management.   Here are the student evaluations for ISYS2157 (previously numbered MI157) with all student comments: the Spring 2018 section 1 student evaluations and section 2 student evaluations, the Fall 2016  section 1 evaluations and section 2 evaluations, the Fall 2015 section 1 evaluations and the section 2 evaluations,  the Spring 2015 section 1 evaluations and section 2 evaluations,  the Fall 2013 MI157 evaluations, the Spring 2013 MI157 evaluations, the Fall 2012 MI157 evaluations, the Spring 2011 MI157 evaluations, the Spring 2010 MI157 evaluations, the Spring 2009 MI157 evaluations, and the Spring 2008 MI157 evaluations.

A favorite student comment: "Gips is the best professor ever with the kindest most compassionate heart."

Teaching Awards

In April 2015 I was privileged to receive the Carroll School of Management Honors Program Professor of the Year award.

In March 2015 at the Alpha Sigma Nu induction ceremony at St. Ignatius Church I was privileged to receive the Teacher of the Year Award.  The winner is nominated and selected by the BC students who are members of Alpha Sigma Nu, the honor society for Jesuit institutions of higher education.  “A great teacher develops not just the mind, but also the person, empowers his students, he believes in his students—Professor Gips does this every day.”  Here is an article about the induction ceremony in the The Heights, the BC student paper, which includes a portion of my remarks.

Selected Media Coverage

Marysville, Michigan EagleEyes (May 2017)

Boston Globe article on Camera Mouse (December 2016)

Fox 43 News (Pennsylvania) Eye-Controlled Freedom (August 2016)

Labor of Love Helps Severely Disabled Communicate (August 2015)

WSBT (Indiana) newscast on EagleEyes (March 2015)

KTUU (Anchorage) newscast on EagleEyes (August 2014)   A favorite video

Fast Company on Tablet paper (November 2013)

Redford Observer on EagleEyes (August 2013)

The Henderson Press on EagleEyes (June 2013)

KUTV (Salt Lake City) piece on EagleEyes (May 2013)

EagleEyes Changing Lives (March 2013)

Her Campus interview (January 2013)

KSL TV (Salt Lake City) newscast on EagleEyes (December 2011)

Los Angeles Times on Multitasking paper (May 2011)

BYUtv television show on EagleEyes (March 2011)   --->

Boston Globe interview on Camera Mouse (March 2011)

scientificamerican.com coverage of Red Bull paper (February 2011)

The Economist article on Fast-Forwarding paper (November 2008)


My research interests generally are in human-computer interaction, especially in developing technology to allow people with profound disabilites to interact with the computer. For a more detailed description of this work see the bc.edu/eagleeyes website and the cameramouse.org website and the EagleEyes and Camera Mouse Facebook pages.  

At least that seems to be what my research is about.  If you look at the EagleEyes Turning Point video above, you can see that on another, and more important, level my research is about allowing people with very severe disabilities, people who are so locked in that people treat them as objects, as non-humans, to show their humanity and be fully accepted as fellow human beings.

I try to weave academic research and publication with products, services, and actions that help real people in the here and now.  I try to integrate and develop theory and practice. I try to aid in the education and formation of our students.

The original technology we developed is called EagleEyes. EagleEyes allows a person to control the computer by moving his eyes or head. The computer senses eye and head movements through electrodes placed around the eyes.  Here is a recent and moving newscast on one young woman's use of EagleEyes.   The Opportunity Foundation of America, based in Salt Lake City, now develops, builds and distributes EagleEyes systems under license from Boston College.  Here is an OFOA flyer on EagleEyes from Debbie Inkley, the Executive Director and Founder of the Opportunity Foundation of America.  

Below is a photo of the participants in an EagleEyes training session Debbie Inkley and Ron Williams of OFOA conducted in Sacramento, CA in July 2015.  From an email the next day: "Good Morning,  I wanted to share a clip of my son using Eagle Eyes for the first time yesterday. I have to admit, I was pretty skeptical about his tolerating the electrodes and focusing. To my surprise, he was completely engaged, forgot about the leads, and leaned into the screen to focus and concentrate on hitting those targets- truly amazing!  We are so grateful for this technology and appreciate all you are doing for these misunderstood and 'silent' children."

EagleEyes Trainging Photo from Sacramento

Here is a story from Adam's Grandpa: “Adam is our grandson, he is 5 years old. Yesterday I watched him play a computer game that made the monkeys jump on the bed while whimsical music played. Adam giggled then, miracle of miracles, Adam made it play again and then again! What kind of miracle is that you might ask. It’s the most remarkable kind if your grandson has quadriplegic cerebral palsy. Adam cannot speak, sit up, crawl, walk or roll over and is fed with a tube in his tummy. But when Adam started using EagleEyes the world changed for him and those who love him. When Adam’s eyes dwell on a graphic icon it “clicks” like a mouse. I call it the click heard around the world”. -- EagleEyes Grandpa, St. Louis.

The second major technology we developed is Camera Mouse, a program that uses a webcam to allow control of the computer by tracking small movements of the head.  Camera Mouse is available for free download at cameramouse.org.   Camera Mouse use has increased dramatically since the free program was made available in June 2007.  Over 3,000,000 copies of Camera Mouse have been downloaded.  

A recent email: "Hi Jim, Remember me, my son has ALS. I finally bought a PC and want to thank you, and all your team from the bottom of my heart for CAMERA MOUSE!!! It's a little miracle to you but a big miracle for my son to communicate. Works great, it's so fantastic. Bless you all for this precious gift to so many who lost their voice. I love you all!!!!"

A free onscreen keyboard program for use with Camera Mouse is available at midastouch.org.  A free two-level onscreen keyboard program for use with Camera Mouse and EagleEyes is available at staggeredspeech.org.  The Staggered Speech program is based on the spelling method developed by Rick Hoyt and his brother.

Muhan Zhang '15 and Deirdre Anderson '15 worked with me to develop new Google Glass based assistive technologies.  The results should be applicable for other head-mounted systems as well.

For the past several years Adam Brasel, of the Marketing Department, and I have been examining aspects of the effects of technology and new media on consumer behavior and psychology.  Adam and I have formed the Marketing Interfaces Lab at BC.  Here is an article from Boston College Magazine that describes our work.  This work approaches human-computer interaction from a different direction.

Spring semester 2004 I was a Visiting Professor at the Media Lab at MIT, where I did some work on design.

My educational background is in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence. Previous research has been quite eclectic, and has included founding work on shape grammars and on algorithmic aesthetics and on grammatical inference and on ethical robots.  Please see the bottom of this page for some early works now available for free download.

Awards for EagleEyes

2007 da Vinci Award "honoring exceptional design and engineering achievements in accessibility and universal design, that empowers people of all abilities."  [ photo ]

The EagleEyes Project was named a 2006 Technology Award Laureate by the Tech Museum of San Jose.  "The Tech Awards program inspires global engagement in applying technology to humanity's most pressing problems by recognizing the best of those who are utilizing innovative technology solutions to address the most urgent critical issues facing our planet. People all over the world are profoundly improving the human condition in the areas of education, equality, environment, health, and economic development through the use of technology. It is the goal of The Tech Awards to showcase their compelling stories and reward their brilliant accomplishments."  

Technology Award Laureates were invited down to New York to help ring the closing bell at NASDAQ in August 2008.  [ photo ] [ photo ]

"Take the first step in faith.  You don't have to see the whole staircase.  Just take the first step."  -- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Student Involvement in Research

Boston College undergraduates have been integrally involved in all phases of the work on EagleEyes and Camera Mouse and technologies that assist people with severe disabilites. Many students have made sustained, vital contributions. Several undergraduates are co-authors of papers listed below. Students often begin not by developing technologies but rather by working directly with the children who will use the technologies.

"When the heart is touched by direct experience, the mind may be challenged to change. Personal involvement with innocent suffering, with the injustice others suffer, is the catalyst for solidarity which then gives rise to intellectual inquiry and moral reflection. Students, in the course of their formation, must let the gritty reality of this world into their lives, so they can learn to feel it, think about it critically, respond to its suffering and engage it constructively." -- Rev. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., Former Superior General of the Society of Jesus.   

Publications, Papers, Presentations

J. Gips, B. Guerin, and S. Ransbotham, "How Organizations Will Produce in an Autonomous Future:  Can AI-enabled automation replace your company’s entire labor force?",  in Artificial Intelligence and Business Strategy online blog, MIT Sloan Management Review, April 2018.  Reprint # W57330.

S. A. Brasel and J. Gips, "Media Multitasking: How Visual Cues Affect Switching Behavior", Computers in Human Behavior, Vol. 77, December 2017, pp. 258-265.  Available for free as a pdf under open access.

J. Gips, "EagleEyes: Early History", in EagleEyes Access Leads to the Transformation from Spectator to Participant in Life, Philip A. DiMattia and Allan G. Osborne, Jr.,  Underdog Educational Media, 2016, pp. 5-20.

J. Gips, "Camera Mouse: A Brief History", in EagleEyes Access Leads to the Transformation from Spectator to Participant in Life, Philip A. DiMattia and Allan G. Osborne, Jr.,  Underdog Educational Media, 2016, pp. 65-75.

J. Gips, Mastering Excel 2016: A Problem-Solving Approach, Pearson, 2016.

S. A. Brasel and J. Gips, "Interface Psychology: Touchscreens Change Attribute Importance, Decision Criteria, and Behavior in Online Choice"Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, Vol. 18, No. 9,  September 2015, pp.  534-538.  [ Fusion ]

J. Gips, M. Zhang, and D. Anderson, "Towards a Google Glass Based Head Control Communication System for People with Disabilities", Extended abstract published in Proceedings of HCI International 2015.  For a video on Glass Gab see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQVsVsOVU9o

S. A. Brasel and J. Gips, "Enhancing Television Advertising: Same-Language Subtitles Can Improve Brand Recall, Verbal Memory, and Behavioral Intent", Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science,  Vol. 42, No. 3, May 2014, pp. 322-336.

S. A. Brasel and J. Gips, "Tablets, Touchscreens, and Touchpads: How Varying Touch Interfaces Trigger Psychological Ownership and Endowment", Journal of Consumer Psychology, April 2014, Vol. 24, Issue 2, pp. 226-233. [ Boston Globe ]  [ Fast Company ] [ Digital Intelligence Today ]

J. Gips, Mastering Excel 2013: A Problem-Solving Approach, Pearson, 2013.  

J. Gips, "Rick Hoyt: Consultant, Test Pilot, Teacher", invited to appear in One Letter at a Time by Dick and Rick Hoyt with Todd Civin, Mascot Publishing, 2012, pp. 173-178.

S. A. Brasel and J. Gips, "Media Multitasking Behavior: Concurrent Television and Computer Usage"Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, Vol. 14, No. 9, September 2011, pp. 527-534. [ UPI ] [ The Chronicle of Higher Education ]  [ Science Daily ] [ Los Angeles Times ] [ Daily Mail ]

S. A. Brasel and J. Gips, "Red Bull ‘Gives You Wings’ For Better or Worse: A Double-Edged Impact of Brand Exposure on Performance”, Journal of Consumer Psychology, Vol. 21, Issue 1, January 2011, pp. 57-64.  [ scientificamerican.com ] [ redpepper ] [ Science Daily

J. Gips, Mastering Excel 2010: A Problem-Solving Approach, Pearson, 2010.

S. A. Brasel and J. Gips, "Points of View: Where Do We Look When We Watch TV?", Perception, Vol. 37, No. 12, December 2008, pp. 1890-1894. 

J. Magee, M. Betke, J. Gips, M. Scott, and B. Waber, "A Human-Computer Interface Using Symmetry Between Eyes to Detect Gaze Direction"IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics--Part A: Systems and Humans, Vol. 18, No. 8, November 2008, pp. 1248-1261. 

S. A. Brasel and J. Gips, "Breaking Through Fast-Forwarding: Brand Information and Visual Attention", Journal of Marketing, Vol. 72, November 2008, pp. 31-48. [ Reuters ] [ PopSci.com ] [ Science Daily ] [ The New York Times ] [ The Economist ]  [ Wired ]

J. Gips, Mastering Excel 2007: A Problem-Solving Approach, Pearson, 2007.  

J. Gips, "EagleEyes Technology for People with Profound Disabilities", keynote address, The 18th International Conference on Systems Research, Informatics and Cybernetics, Baden-Baden, 2006.

P. DiMattia and J. Gips, "EagleEyes: Technologies for Non-Verbal Persons", Handbook of Human Development for Health Care Professionals, K. Thies and J. Travers (eds.), Jones and Bartlett, 2005, pp. 429-448.

J. Gips, "Ethical Robots: Do We Have 30 Years to Get Them Right?", abstract in Cognitive, Emotive and Ethical Aspects of Decision Making in Humans and in AI, Volume IV, The International Institute for Advanced Studies in Systems Research and Cybernetics, 2005.

S. Tai, J. Gips, and P. DiMattia, "Enabling Non-Verbal People with Quadriplegia to Interact through the Internet Using only Eye and Head Movement", Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Universal Access in Human-Computer Interaction, 2005.

A. Gips, P. DiMattia, and J. Gips, "The Effect of Assistive Technology on Educational Costs: Two Case Studies", in K. Miesenberger, J. Klaus, W. Zagler, D. Burger (eds.), Computers Helping People with Special Needs, Springer, 2004, pp. 206-213.

K. Grauman, M. Betke, J. Lombardi, J. Gips, and G. Bradski, "Communication via Eye Blinks and Eyebrow Raises: Video-Based Human-Computer Interfaces", Universal Access in the Information Society, 2(4), pp. 359-373, November 2003.

P. DiMattia and J. Gips, "Experiencing the Regular Classroom Curriculum by Use of an Access Technology", presented at the International Conference on Computers and Advanced Technology in Education, Rhodes, 2003.

H. Larson and J. Gips, "A Web Browser for People with Quadriplegia", presented at the International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, Crete, 2003. Published in Universal Access in HCI: Inclusive Design in the Information Society, C. Stephanidis (ed.), Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2003, pp. 226-230.

J. Gips, "Ramona's Painting", about a painting by an elephant of an elephant, May 2003.  Also, see ramonaspainting.com.

C. Fagiani, M. Betke, and J. Gips, "Evaluation of Tracking Methods for Human-Computer Interaction", IEEE Workshop on Applications in Computer Vision (WACV 2002), Orlando, 2002.

R. L. Cloud, M. Betke, and J. Gips, "Experiments with a Camera-Based Human-Computer Interface System", 7th ERCIM Workshop on User Interfaces for All (UI4ALL 2002), Paris, 2002.

M. Betke, J. Gips, and P. Fleming, "The Camera Mouse: Visual Tracking of Body Features to Provide Computer Access for People with Severe Disabilities", IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, Vol.10, No. 1, 2002, pp. 1-10.

J. Gips, P. DiMattia, and M. Betke, "Collaborative Development of New Access Technology and Communication Software", abstract in Proceedings of International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication Conference (ISAAC 2002), Odense, 2002.

J. Gips, P. DiMattia, M. Curran, D. Lees, and M. Gates, "Accessing Internet Courses by Eye Movement and Head Movement", in Computers Helping People with Special Needs, K. Miesenberger, J. Klaus, and W. Zagler (eds.) Springer-Verlag, 2002.

J. Gips, Mastering Excel: A Problem Solving Approach (Second Edition), John Wiley, 2002.

K. Grauman, M. Betke, J. Gips, and G. Bradski, "Communication via EyeBlinks -- Detection and Duration Analysis in Real Time", IEEE Computer Society Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR 2001), 2001.

J. Gips, M. Betke, and P. DiMattia, "Early Experiences Using Visual Tracking for Computer Access by People with Profound Physical Disabilities", in Universal Access in HCI: Towards an Information Society for All,C. Stephanidis (ed.), Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2001.

P. DiMattia, F. X. Curran, and J. Gips, An Eye Control Teaching Device for Students Without Language Expressive Capacity: EagleEyes, Edwin Mellen Press, 2000.

J. Gips and J. Gips, "A Computer Program Based on Rick Hoyt's Spelling Method for People with Profound Special Needs", Proceedings International Conference on Computers Helping People with Special Needs (ICCHP 2000), Karlsruhe, pp. 245-250.

J. Gips, M. Betke, and P. Fleming, "The Camera Mouse: Preliminary Investigation of Automated Visual Tracking for Computer Access", Proceedings of RESNA 2000, RESNA Press, pp. 98-100.

J. Gips, "Teaching People with Profound Disabilities to Control the Computer with Eye Movements: The EagleEyes Project", Irish Workshop on Eye-Tracking, Trinity College Dublin, 2000.

J. Gips, "Computer Implementation of Shape Grammars", invited paper, Workshop on Shape Computation, MIT, 1999.

J. Gips, P. DiMattia, and F. X. Curran, "Progress with EagleEyes", Proceedings of the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication Conference (ISAAC '98), Dublin, 1998, pp. 458-459.

J. Gips, "On Building Intelligence into EagleEyes", in Lecture Notes in AI: Assistive Technology and Artificial Intelligence, V. Mittal, H.A. Yanco, J. Aronis, R. Simpson (eds.), Springer Verlag, 1998.

J. J. Tecce, J. Gips, P. Olivieri, L. Pok, M. Consiglio, "Eye movement control of computer functions", International Journal of Psychophysiology, vol. 29, no. 3, 1998, pp. 319-325.

H. A. Yanco and J. Gips, "Driver Performance Using Single Switch Scanning with a Powered Wheelchair: Robotic Assisted Control versus Traditional Control", Proceedings of the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America Annual Conference (RESNA '98), RESNA Press, 1998, pp. 298-300.

J. Gips and P. DiMattia, "EagleEyes", invited presentation, U. S. Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication conference (USSAAC '97), Baltimore, August 1997.

H. A. Yanco and J. Gips. "Preliminary investigation of a semi-autonomous robotic wheelchair directed through electrodes", Proceedings of the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America Annual Conference (RESNA '97), RESNA Press, 1997, pp. 414-416.

J. Gips, Mastering Excel: A Problem-Solving Approach, John Wiley, 1997.

J. Gips, "Towards an Intelligent Interface for EagleEyes", presented at the AAAI Symposium on Developing Assistive Technologies for People with Disabilities, MIT, November 1996.

J. Gips, P. DiMattia, F. X. Curran, and P. Olivieri, "Using EagleEyes -- an Electrodes Based Device for Controlling the Computer with Your Eyes -- to Help People with Special Needs", in Interdisciplinary Aspects on Computers Helping People with Special Needs, J. Klaus, E.Auff, W. Kremser, W. Zagler (eds.), R. Oldenbourg, Vienna, 1996.

J. Gips and P. Olivieri, "EagleEyes: An Eye Control System for Persons with Disabilities", presented at the Eleventh International Conference on Technology and Persons with Disabilities, Los Angeles, March 1996.

J. Gips, "Bringing the City into the Home: Trends in On-Line Services", Proceedings of the IFIP International Conference on Home-Oriented Informatics, Telematics and Automation (HOIT '94), Copenhagen, June 1994.

R. Keyes, P. Olivieri, and J. Gips, “Making the Grade: An Interactive Video Case for Teaching Ethics”, National Educational Computing Conference, Boston, 1994.

J. Gips, "Information Technology: Trends and Ethical Issues", in Corporate Ethics, T. A. Mathias (ed.), Allied Publishers, Bombay, 1994.

J. Gips and D. Green, "Trying to KISS* with the Robot Vacuum Cleaner (*Keep It Simple, Stupid)", Proceedings of the AAAI Symposium on Instantiating Real-World Agents, Raleigh NC, October 1993.

J. Gips, P. Olivieri, and J. J. Tecce, "Direct Control of the Computer through Electrodes Placed Around the Eyes", presented at HCI International '93, Orlando, July 1993.  Published in Human-Computer Interaction: Applications and Case Studies, M. J. Smith and G. Salvendy (eds.), Elsevier, 1993, pp. 630-635.

J. Gips, "On Algorithmic Aesthetics", invited paper, Symposium on Determinacy and Indeterminacy in Complex Systems Behavior, Wharton, Philadelphia, March 1992.

J. Gips, "Towards the Ethical Robot", presented at The Second International Workshop on Human and Machine Cognition: Android Epistemology, Pensacola, Florida, May 1991.  Published in Android Epistemology, K. Ford, C. Glymour and P. Hayes (eds.), MIT Press, 1995.  Republished in Machine Ethics, M. Anderson and S. L. Anderson (eds.), Cambridge University Press, 2011.


Early Publications Available for Download

J. Gips and G. Stiny, "Production Systems and Grammars: A Uniform Characterization", Environment and Planning B, 1980, Vol. 7, pp. 399-408. [ Download the paper ]

G. Stiny and J. Gips, Algorithmic Aesthetics: Computer Models for Criticism and Design in the Arts, University of California Press, 1978.  [ Download the book as a pdf.  View a scanned copy of the book. ]  Translated into Korean by Prof. Junho Oh, of Soongsil University, in 2010.  [ Download the Korean translation. ]

J. Gips, Shape Grammars and their Uses, Birkhauser Verlag, 1975. (1974 Ph.D. dissertation from Stanford published by Birkhauser.)  [ Download the book ]

J. Gips, "A Syntax-Directed Program that Performs a Three-Dimensional Perceptual Task", Pattern Recognition, Vol. 6, 1974, pp. 189-199. [ Download the paper ]

G. Stiny and J. Gips, "Shape Grammars and the Generative Specification of Painting and Sculpture", presented at IFIP Congress 71, Ljubljana, Yugoslavia.   Published in the Proceedings: Information Processing 71, C. V. Freiman (ed.), North Holland, 1972, pp. 1460-1465.  Selected as Best Submitted Paper at the Congress. Republished in The Best Computer Papers of 1971, O. R. Petrocelli (ed.), Auerbach, 1972, pp. 125-135.  Two versions of this paper are available. [ Download the original submitted paper including an Appendix of color photos of paintings.  Download the final paper as published. ]

J. Feldman, J. Gips, J. Horning, and S. Reder, "Grammatical Complexity and Inference", Artificial Intelligence Memo No. 89, Stanford University, 1969.  This technical memo includes material from my 1968 Masters thesis on grammatical inference. [ Download the technical memo ]

Updated June 1, 2018