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Process – How can you participate?

Welcome CIID Class of 2014!

This Design Expo is an opportunity to explore an exciting new topic with the design constraints that you set for yourself. The Design Expo creates a forum for spotlighting design, encouraging “out of the box” thinking, by exploring students’ visions for the future of computing as well as honing their presentation skills and engaging with students from other design teams from around the world to see how they approached this year’s theme.

If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the Topic here…

This challenge runs from Feb 21 to May 5 and culminates in a student team being selected to present their ideas at the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit in Redmond, WA, in July 2014. (Selected ideas will have extra time in May and June to further develop their work for presentation).

Take part by joining in as an individual with your THOUGHT STARTERS, COMMENTS and ENCOURAGEMENT.

Form a team with your fellow students and set a Mission for yourself. Then work together to INVESTIGATE, BRAINSTORM and PROTOTYPE your ideas.


At the briefing session you will be introduced to the topic and website.

THOUGHT STARTERS – Feb 21 to March 3
Login and Post your THOUGHT STARTERS  to the website! Submit relevant articles, projects, presentations, blogs, images, stories to the challenge website.

Start the discussion with your fellow students by commenting.

TEAMS SIGNUP – March 3 Deadline
Form your teams of 2-4 students. Submit your team NAME, MISSION and BIOs to teams@billionsensors.com

INVESTIGATE – Feb 28 to March 14
Find out more, conduct some research. To gain insight into your Mission go out and do some of your own research such as user interviews & observations. Keep the community updated with your progress by posting regularly to the blog. This will also generate more discussion about your team.

BRAINSTORM – March 14 – March 21
Brainstorm within your teams and share your ideas with the community. Gain feedback and comments from fellow students and mentors along the way.

This will culminate in an IDEA SHARE where you will take forward your top ideas and present them to the mentors.

PROTOTYPE – March 21 to April 30
Once scenarios are refined, the teams will focus on building a design prototype, interaction and user experience. Ideally if the design solution involves software, students should mock up what a user would see and do, thinking through the interface, the context of the user and how their needs have been addressed. Students should feel free to use whatever tools they feel comfortable with in doing this kind of work. In prior years, students have used tools such as Flash, Silverlight, Html5 or other programming tools to help create the illusion of the experience. Others have made movies of part of the experience to set the context.

Think beyond traditional software, toward solutions such as lightweight user interfaces and designing user interaction for your particular scenario and solution. The interfaces and interactions should be designed more to communicate what is unique about the experience. That may be done more effectively with designing an interactive prototype (even if it is a scripted click through) that demonstrates the thinking behind the experience and the interaction design.

The goal of the prototype is to create a vehicle which best communicates the tangible experience of the design solution.

CRITIQUE – May 1 to 5
We will ask the community and mentors to critique on projects. The selection committee will take community discussion into consideration – so make sure you gain a fanbase throughout the project!

Winning students will be selected to present their project at the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit July 13-15, 2014, in Redmond, WA.






Brief – Designing for a billion sensors…

In our daily lives we encounter sensors all the time, like when a motion sensor turns a light on in a dark place, or when a carbon monoxide detector tell us that the air is becoming hazardous. Sensors extend our abilities to see, hear, and feel far beyond what we ourselves can take in – from arrays of telescopes sensing the edges of the universe to nano-scale biological sensors amplifying our own sense of smell.

In a world with a billion sensors, how will we make sense of it all?

How will sensors change the way we perceive not only our environment but ourselves and others? How will sensors change the way we live and work? What interfaces, services, devices and experiences will be necessary to make sense of it all and avoid sensory overload?

What are key problems this data can be used to help solve, what new troubles can we anticipate it creates?


Because this is a very broad topic, it will be critical for you to focus in on a particular community, type of sensor and data, and problem you feel has impact.  Below are some scenarios you might begin with, to narrow in on a particular project:

Physical objects.  Imagine physical objects with sensors:  a door that knows when it’s opened; a refrigerator that knows the ambient temperature of the kitchen; a car that knows when it was turned off and on, and how far it traveled; shoes recorded with speed and GPS data; a television that allow you to tell it what you like and what you don’t.  With all this data from my personal objects, how might it actually improve my life in a holistic way?

Getting things done.
Today my phone, and personal sensors such as a Fitbits, Shoes and Glasses begin to monitor my actions.   How might sensors be used to better motivate an individual to define goals to get things done?  How might these sensors give advice at just the right moment to keep someone on track?  How can we design systems which know an individual and reward appropriately to avoid being ignored or becoming an “annoying nag” which gets turned off?

Sensors which inspire.
Many scenarios are practical, but they don’t appeal to the emotion of humans.  Design and prototype a mind-blowing physical computing urban installation in a large public space. How does this make people in the city a bit happier, bit friendlier, and aspire to change the way people interact and become a symbol of what embedded computing could be in the future.