Dr. Aaron P. Toney




My PhD explored how to make mobile technologies user aware and minimally invasive to their users lives. In the seven years since obtaining my PhD I have been conducting research and developing prototypes for groups ranging from startups to large corporate research and incubation teams. My dual research and hardware backgrounds have made me equally comfortable developing new user experiences or developing the algorithms and hardware providing them. My past positions have included Senior PM, Senior Hardware Engineer, and Senior Researcher all in positions focused on creation of disruptive new technologies.



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



Design & Prototyping: Develop concept sketches & CAD models. Use appearance models and mockups to create compelling stories providing the look and feel of an idea. Build physical models and prototypes through processes such as 3D printing, pattern making, metal casting, and machining.

User Research: Develop understanding of end-user needs from sources ranging from interviews, questionnaires, and ethnographic video observation, to applying machine learning techniques to sensor data. Creating mathematical models of human behavior, preference, and intent then converting them into algorithms suitable for software implementation.

Hardware Development: Hardware design ranging from initial circuit design, schematic capture, and PCB layout through bring up and debugging of new boards. Proficient with standard hardware bench, rework, and debugging tools. Component selection. Languages: C, C++, C#, Perl. Proficiency with common communication protocols (I2C, SPI, USB, Bluetooth, etc.)



Self-Employed Consultant, Seattle Washington

September 2014 - Present

Independent Consultant

Working a range of prototyping and proof of concept development contracts. Example projects from last year include an IoT smart garden sensor system, a residential atmospheric water harvesting system, a low resolution smart mater extrusion prototype, and an interactive Voodoo doll.


Analog Labs Microsoft, Redmond Washington

December 2012 - April 2014

Senior Project Manager, Microsoft 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, Microsoft 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. The group's focus was on the opportunities for using collections of mobile devices as a single aggregate interface. 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.