I recently received a set of Khandu cards after backing a Kickstarter. These cards are designed by a company called Seven Thinkers, their aim is to get kids thinking like designers early in life. I was interested immediately on reading about them, since part of my research focus is on the idea of design decks. I’ll have a paper published at CHI ’16 on the topic, and I’m working on another paper that will hopefully be accepted soon.
The fictional characters of Khandu
Design decks are decks of cards that help us work through a design process. These cards work well, because they mix up the lessons that a novice designer needs to learn in order to be a successful designer. In this post, I’ll discuss the format of the Khandu cards, and what I see as the value for novice designers.
The Khandu cards are based on a fictional world where the Khandus live. The Khandus are visible on cards, and some of their problems are described in the challenges. The cards are broken up into several decks. Each comes in a bag with names printed on them for storage. The decks are themed: challenges, people, tools, and actions. The Tool cards are further subdivided into 4 decks: prototyping – materials, prototyping, ideation, and inspiration.
We all know the rate of change today is fierce. As technology leaps forward, students of Human Computer Interaction may be intimidated by the breadth of topics in which they are expected to demonstrate expertise. If one is planning an academic career, it may be possible to define a narrow area of deep knowledge. If an industry position is desired, a broad understanding of UX (user experience) principles and the software development process may be the best preparation.
The last day of CHI in Seoul left everyone with that bittersweet taste of ending mixed with nostalgia and, was still a great day to see great research!
For me, the day started off with Augmented & Virtual Reality in the Real World (VR is here to stay!) and followed onto Interacting with Floors & Situated Displays (have you seen BaseLase? Check that video or the image below, quite an interesting approach to a portable large screen).
The last session of the CHI spectrum this year was Speech & Auditory Interfaces, which focused on lots of abstract sound UIs — really nice works there, go check it out if you are into sonic interaction. After this it was time for the closing keynote, by pop musician Psy. A local hero in mainstream Korea for obvious reasons and a humble speaker that decided to allude to his career build up and share lots of his personal insights with the HCI audience. At last, the next CHI was announced… see you all in San Jose for CHI’16!
Disclaimer: CHI is a multiple track conference, with a dozen of parallel sessions, so the truth is: I’ve never felt a bigger desire for ubiquity (the great thing is that this year things are being recorded and will be on the ACM Digital Library soon. Thanks to the SVs for filming the talks!)
In the third day of CHI a lot of attention was given to future interfaces that attach directly to the users’ body. The great thing is that being a research conference, CHI goes much further than the wearables and smartwatch industry so researches here presented developments in haptic wearables that control your muscles (an example of that is my own work presented this year), rings that notify you using temperature (Notiring), interactive tattoo-like stickers that allow you to interact directly onto your skin (iSkin), and even nail covers that allow you to secretly interact with your technology (NailO)!
Some future interfaces that live on your body: a bracelet that reads and writes to your muscles and a Nail interface:
Of course the CHI community is not only about new hardware but a much broader and grounded on the understanding of Computing and Human Factors. This means over the past three days we’ve seen many explorations and studies that provide a deeper understanding of the world of ergonomics, crowd-sourcing, collaborative work, interaction techniques, and human cognition too.
Furthermore, this year there has been an amazing body of work that takes the CHI community to the real world as discusses important, real-world questions, such as “Encouraging Energy Conservation”, “Gender inclusive Software” and a great focus (as always) in making HCI (and CHI) accessible to all people!
The second day of CHI started off quite happily for me as I was presenting my new work on Proprioceptive Interaction (sorry for shameful link!) at the muscle-interfaces session which was very interesting. In this session researchers discussed how future muscle sensing can be increased for higher resolution input or even by combining multiple technologies such as EMG and MMG. After that I could relax a bit and attend more interesting sessions on a variety of different topics! Later on, there were sessions on smartwatch interactions, which demonstrate that we are no longer in the smartwatch hype but instead we are really in the wearables era! Great to see that research are also thinking already beyond-wearables, skin interaction, smaller devices, haptic wearables and so forth, which will be presented tomorrow (Day 3, check the post too): looking forward to that!
Later on I attended a very interesting and futuristic session on 3D fabrication which in the same vein, demonstrates that we are beyond 3D printing only in the maker community but also in the HCI community! In this session researchers showed their new ideas for the world of fabrication, such as 3D printing using soft fabric (great for plushy-toys!), check their video here.
The day ended with the job fair… a great opportunity to the more junior people to find internships and perhaps a new position either at industry or research labs!