Dr. Aaron P. Toney




I enjoy working in positions that encompass both hardware and software development. In the past I have worked both as a principle software engineer and as a principle hardware engineer. Academically, I have an undergraduate BSEE degree, and a PhD in Computer Science. Professionally, I spent the last decade rapid prototyping devices and software for research, NPI troubleshooting, and product concept refinement. Over the last few years I have also increasingly been doing project management, building and running small startup and research teams.



B.S. in Electrical Engineering, University of Washington, 1998
Ph.D. in Computer Science, University of South Australia, 2008
LPIT Scholar 2003 - 2007
Thesis title: Garment Integrated and Deployable Technologyn



Software Development: Experience using machine-learning algorithms (especially Bayesian inference, and Hidden Markov Models HMMs) to build dynamic user interfaces (UIs). Proficient at modeling human behavior and social interaction, then implementing those models as software algorithms. Skilled at developing IOT sensors that report through REST-full interfaces. Languages: C, C++, Python, C#, Perl, and various assembly languages

Embedded Software Development: Adept at translating analog and digital circuit schematics into software requirements, and then generating the initial code base for first time hardware bringing up and debugging. Experienced at architecting, documenting, and implementing embedded software / firmware / drivers. Experienced with the full development cycle, both for entirely custom environments and developing for established real-time operating systems (RTOSs).

Modeling and Machine Learning: My machine learning and modeling work has focused at various times on modeling and anticipating human behavior, social interaction, and user movement. That work left me with expertise in applying classic ML techniques, like Bayesian inference and regression techniques - especially Hidden Markov Models (HMMs) - to datasets directly describing users and their behavior. While not the same level of expertise, I maintain proficiency with more recent advances in machine learning (e.g. tensor flow) on similar real world sensor driven data sets.

Hardware Development: Hardware design ranging from initial circuit design, schematic capture, and PCB layout (typically using Altium) - through bring up and debugging of new boards. Expertise leading architecture development from initial component selection and schematic design, through PCB layout and debugging of new boards. Proficiency working with common embedded hardware peripherals (ADCs, DACs, etc), and common high-speed communication interfaces (ADCs, DACs, UARTs, I2C, SMB, SPI, USB, Bluetooth / BLE, etc.).

Program Management: Assemble, run, and mentor small multi-disciplinary, research and prototyping teams. (Typical group size managed 3-6 people).

Prototyping: Skilled with physical fabrication technologies such as CAD modeling (Solidworks), CNC machining, 3D printing, and laser cutting. Capable of developing fully functional "looks like - feels like" prototypes to help refine initial industrial and interaction design (ID), and to trouble shoot DFX problems in testing and manufacturability (DFM).



Toneys Incorporated, Seattle Washington

September 2014 - Present

Independent Consultant

I run a small shop doing prototype development and research work for hire.


Varjo Oy, Helsinki Finland

June 2017 - August 2017

Principal Product Engineer

Solved a problem the company was having with noise and vibration generated by the motors in their foveated head mounted display. Collaborated with the ME team on refining actuator design, and developing new drive electronics, firmware, and algorithms that more efficiently mapped eye movement to required motor drive signals.


Wally Labs, Seattle, Washington

June 2016 - April 2017

Principal Software Engineer

Prototyped new IoT devices. Largest project was the creation of a battery powered cellular version of the companies IoT property monitoring solution for use monitoring remote, typically off grid and infrequently visited, properties such as vacation cabins, as well as mobile monitoring of boats, cars, trucks and vans.


Mobile Labs Microsoft, Redmond Washington

December 2012 - April 2014

Senior Project Manager, Mobile Labs

Working with the product planning teams I provided technical leadership surrounding wearables and the IoT during the scoping and definition of new products. As the products matured, my role generally evolved to spinning up targeted prototyping projects used to solve open UI and design problems. When needed, I would be also loaned out to design and product teams to provide more in depth technical mentorship on folding new technologies into product. My role on the labs team also required acting as a liaison with different research teams, both inside and outside of the company, in order to surface awareness of emerging technologies and their implications to product development and design teams.


Analog Labs Microsoft, Redmond Washington

April 2012 - December 2012

Senior Hardware Engineer, Analog Labs

Developed hardware incubation prototypes, and prototyping capability, for one of the largest stealth projects in the company's history. The Analog Labs team went on to be come what is now the Holograms team within Microsoft.


Nokia Research, Los Angeles California

April 2010 - February 2012

Senior Researcher 2 - Interaction Ecologies

Senior researcher in the Interaction Ecologies Group responsible for the development of new body worn user interface devices. Representative work includes creating Bluetooth-enabled rings and glasses to act as body worn sensor platforms, research into new eye tracking technologies for use in near eye displays, prototyping new forms of head worn audio projection, and exploring emerging low power wireless technologies. group


Purple Crayon, Issaquah Washington

January 2009 - March 2010

Company co-founder

Co-founded Purple-crayon, a small startup focused on developing consumer desktop manufacturing technology intended for use in the home. Initial products included a 3-axis CNC mill and a 3D scanner. I was responsible for both the mechanical and electrical engineering of all the company's products.


Consulting at Microsoft Hardware, Redmond Washington

October 2007 - December 2008

Contract with Emerging Product Group

Member of a small concepting team tasked with developing technologies that could be rapidly integrated into new products in under an eighteen-month timeframe. I was typically given a general area in which to target innovation and tasked with developing potential products or improvements to existing products.

During my time in this group I was responsible for developing a low power camera focusing mechanism, methods for magnetically tracking a mouse wheel, and several low powered mechanical actuators.


Wearable Computing Laboratory, UniSA, Adelaide South Australia

March 2003 - March 2007

Ph.D. Student

My thesis research focused on developing new ways to support mobile users, and there were three related but distinct branches to this work.

The first branch of my thesis research focused on studying the social consequences of using mobile technology. This research focused on how to design technology so as to minimize the unintended social consequences arising from a technology's use.

The second branch of my thesis research focused on garment integration of technology. When technology is integrated directly into clothing the act of getting dressed also instruments the user. Garment integration is attractive as it provides coverage of the user and connection to the environment without requiring the user explicitly carry and use separate devices.

The third branch of my thesis research focused on carried devices. This research was concerned with device "deployment", as when mobile users set down a device to temporarily instrument a space with sensors or user interface elements.


Independent Consultant, Seattle Washington

August 2002 - February 2003

Self Employed Consultant

Worked a diverse set of contracts while awaiting start of my graduate program. Contracts ranged from re-engineering and maintenance of legacy embedded systems, to developing smart juggling equipment able to detect and respond to the current pattern being performed.


AppliedTheory, Bellevue Washington

June 2000 - July 2002

Senior Wireless Consultant

Founding member of Applied Theory's wireless consulting group. Rapidly developed demonstration prototypes of mobile applications as part of bidding on large contracts with wireless and mobile components.


CircusSystems, Seattle Washington

July 1999 - March 2001

Corporate officer / Product Development

Co-founder and corporate officer of Circus Systems. As a co-founder I was responsible for obtaining the company's first two rounds of fundraising, and the day-to-day logistics of running the company. As the head of hardware development I led the development of the company's primary product, an Intel StrongARM based single board computer (SBC) targeted for use as a personal server in wearable and mobile computing applications.