Update: Thank you to everyone who attended one or more of our special design jams on augmented reality in September! It was great that so many of you could make it. Feel free to join our MCommunity list for updates on future design jams.

As we are getting ready for the next semester, I wanted to announce here that I will again host regular student design jams (or hackathons) in my research lab starting in September 2017.

Hackathons are 3 hour blocks (most likely on Mondays or Fridays 2-5pm) for students to work on user interface research and design challenges, and this is typically done in teams (no need to come in teams, we will formulate teams at the hackathons). Sometimes design challenges continue over multiple weeks, and it happens rather frequently that students end up doing a research project with me based on some of the initial hackathon ideas.

Previous hackathons revolved around voice-based assistants using Amazon Echo and Google Home, multi-modal interaction using Kinect and Leap Motion, and cross-device interfaces using the lab’s own technologies. For the next semester, there will be new design challenges around these same topics, but there will also be a new emphasis on augmented reality interfaces.

The lab has recently obtained 2 Tango AR phones and 4 Microsoft HoloLens AR headsets that students will have access to and will be encouraged to use in projects. Again, we also have new technologies developed in the lab’s research, and my goal is to drive these technologies forward with the help of students and these hackathons.