Bala Kumaravel


I am a Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research, Redmond at the Interactive Multimodal AI Systems group. I work on leveraging Generative AI models (LLMs and Diffusion models) to enhance user productivity and collaboration in business-critical applications. I am particularly interested in customizing, finetuning, and aligning generative AI models for specific end-user applications.

Before joining Microsoft, I completed my Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley where I was advised by Prof. Björn Hartmann. My research at Berkeley was concentrated in the domains of Virtual and Augmented Reality, exploring applications in diverse activities, from AR/VR-assisted robotics interactions to enhancing learning experiences. Before that, I completed my Bachelors at Indian Institute of Technology, Madras where my Bachelors’ thesis won the best interdisciplinary thesis project amongst all engineering departments and the best thesis in the department.

During my PhD I got to intern at various places and work with amazing collaborators across Microsoft, Adobe and Autodesk - Cuong Nguyen , Stephen DiVerdi , Fraser Anderson , Tovi Grossman , George Fitzmaurice , and Andy Wilson


Sep 11, 2022 Started working as Senior Researcher at the Extended, Perception, Interaction and Cognition (EPIC) team at Microsoft Research, Redmond
Aug 13, 2022 Graduated from UC Berkeley, with a PhD in Computer Science! :sparkles: :smile:

selected publications


  1. sharednerf.png
    SharedNeRF: Leveraging Photorealistic and View-dependent Rendering for Real-time and Remote Collaboration
    Mose Sakashita, Balasaravanan Thoravi Kumaravel, Nicolai Marquardt, and Andrew David Wilson
    In Proceedings of the CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2024
  2. blendscape.png
    BlendScape: Enabling Unified and Personalized Video-Conferencing Environments through Generative AI
    Shwetha Rajaram, Nels Numan, Balasaravanan Thoravi Kumaravel, Nicolai Marquardt, and Andrew D. Wilson
    In , 2024


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    StreamFunnel: Facilitating Communication Between a VR Streamer and Many Spectators
    Haohua LyuCyrus VachhaQianyi Chen, Balasaravanan Thoravi Kumaravel, and Bjöern Hartmann
    In , 2023


  1. crossroads.png
    Shaping the new future of work through mixed reality
    Bala Kumaravel
  2. thesis.png
    Interactive Cross-Dimensional Media for Collaboration and Guidance in Mixed Reality Environments
    Balasaravanan Thoravi Kumaravel
    University of California, Berkeley, 2022
  3. itsc.png
    Modeling and Influencing Human Attentiveness in Autonomy-to-Human Perception Hand-offs
    In 2022 IEEE 25th International Conference on Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITSC), 2022
  4. dreamstream.gif
    DreamStream: Immersive and Interactive Spectating in VR
    Balasaravanan Thoravi Kumaravel, and Andrew D Wilson
    In Proceedings of the 2022 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2022


  1. transceivr.jpg
    TransceiVR: Bridging asymmetrical communication between VR users and external collaborators
    Balasaravanan Thoravi KumaravelCuong NguyenStephen DiVerdi, and Bjoern Hartmann
    In Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology, 2020


  1. tutorivr.jpg
    TutoriVR: A Video-Based Tutorial System for Design Applications in Virtual Reality
    Balasaravanan Thoravi KumaravelCuong NguyenStephen DiVerdi, and Bjoern Hartmann
    In CHI ’19: Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2019
  2. loki.jpg
    Loki: Facilitating remote instruction of physical tasks using bi-directional mixed-reality telepresence
    Balasaravanan Thoravi KumaravelFraser AndersonGeorge FitzmauriceBjoern Hartmann, and Tovi Grossman
    In Proceedings of the 32nd Annual ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology, 2019


Cyrus Vaccha (Masters Student, UC Berkeley) Summer' 23
Mose Sakashita (PhD Student, Cornell) Summer' 23
Nels Numan (PhD Student, UCL) Summer' 23
Shwetha Rajaram (PhD Student, UMich) Summer' 23
Stephanie Claudino Daffara (Masters Student, UC Berkeley) 2020
Erin Kraemer (Bachelors Student, UC Berkeley) 2019