Kendra Schmal

  • Undergraduate Student
    Willamette University, USA
    Attended SIGGRAPH
    2014, Vancouver, Canada

My experience of SIGGRAPH this year was very service oriented; I really enjoyed the keynote by Not Impossible Labs (which was about using graphics-oriented technology to aid those with disabilities), and felt that it helped frame the conference for me, and what I wanted to get out of it this year. Some of my favorite things I got to see and learn about this year included a pair of augmented reality glasses designed to aid the legally blind, a talk on using Google Glass to connect EMTs with doctors when responding to emergenices, and a demo of some lego-like robotics toys designed to teach children programming through more physical/non-abstract means.

Of course, there was also a lot of pure fun involved (like the full-body bird flight simulator, the computer animation festival, and the many, many 3D printing stations), but the panels on service-oriented technology had a much bigger impact on me. As I’ve been approaching graduation and trying to decide what to pursue in the future, I’ve also been thinking about the ways I can combine my degree and my love of computer graphics with my desire to help others. Seeing so many awesome technologies that leverage graphics for the sole purpose of doing good in the world was really inspiring and has helped convince me that I’m on the right path. I am extremely grateful to the ACM-W, and to ACM SIGGRAPH for allowing me to attend the conference this year, and I hope I will be able to pay it forward in the future.