Sara Burns

  • Undergraduate Student
    Wellesley College, USA
    Attended TEI 2015
    2015, Palo Alto, California, United States

Attending TEI was a fantastic learning opportunity. Not only did I have the chance to hear about the latest advancements in Human-Computer Interaction and present my work to some of the most influential forces in the field, but I was also to gain an understanding of what it means to pursue a career in HCI. As a student volunteer, I was able to interact closely with a group of primarily PhD candidates from around the world – a rather unique opportunity for an undergraduate student. I heard about their work and their background and what motivates them to study Human-Computer Interaction. Learning this information is valuable in helping me to determine my own path in the future.
Even though the conference specifically focused on tangible, embedded, and embodied interaction, the work at TEI was extremely diverse. It was interesting to see the influence of the maker movement – Arduinos and 3D printers were quite common in projects, and Sparkfun was a sponsor of the event. I was excited to see the amount of work going into helping people. One paper talked about creating a smartwatch that conveyed information via haptic feedback for the visually impaired (paper). Another explored making wearable light therapy for the treatment of seasonal affective disorder (paper). There is also a big emphasis on design and the arts. In fact, there was even an Arts Exhibition throughout the conference. TEI showed me the current reality of HCI – a unique field with a bright future ahead.