Interactive Design Tools for the Maker Movement

Björn Hartmann, UC Berkeley


Date: 2017-05-17
Time: 4:00PM
Location: Room 1202, CSE Building, UC San Diego

Guest Speaker: Björn Hartmann, UC Berkeley
Assoc. Prof., Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation

Host: Design Lab


This seminar with UC Berkeley professor Björn Hartmann is part of the Design@Large lecture series organized by the Design Lab at UC San Diego.

Abstract:  My group's research in Human-Computer Interaction focuses on design, prototyping and implementation tools for the era of ubiquitous embedded computing and digital fabrication. We focus especially on supporting the growing ranks of amateur designers and engineers in the Maker Movement. Over the past decade, a resurgence in interest how the artifacts in our world are designed, engineered and fabricated has led to new approaches for teaching art and engineering; new methods for creating artifacts for personal use; and new models for launching hardware products. The Maker Movement is enabled by a confluence of new technologies like digital fabrication and a sharing ethos built around online tutorials and open source design files. A crucial missing building block are appropriate design tools that enable Makers to translate their intent into appropriate machine instructions - whether code or 3D prints. Makers' expertise and work practices differ significantly from those of professional engineers - a reality that design tools have to reflect.

I will present research that enables Makers and designers to rapidly prototype, fabricate and program interactive products. Making headway in this area involves working in both hardware and software. Our group creates new physical fabrication hardware such as augmented power tools and custom CNC machines; new design software to make existing digital fabrication tools more useful; software platforms for the type of connected IoT devices many Makers are creating; and debugging tools for working at the intersection of hardware and software. We also create expertise sharing tools that lower the cost and increase the quality of online tutorials and videos through which knowledge is disseminated in this community. Our work on these tools is motivated by the daily experience of teaching and building in the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation - a 24,000 sq ft space for 21st-century design education that opened in 2015. I will give an overview of institute activities and projects, and how they inform our research agenda.



Dr. Björn Hartmann is an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley. His research in Human-Computer Interaction focuses on novel design, prototyping, and implementation tools for the era of post-personal computing. His group investigates how better software and hardware can facilitate the exploration of interactive devices that leverage novel form factors and technologies (e.g., sensors and actuators). They also investigate how software can help students, designers, and makers to learn and share their expertise online. Methodologically, Hartmann's group predominantly focuses on systems research: they contribute complex, working interactive systems that embody our research ideas and enable us to test specific hypotheses. He is a Qualcomm Faculty Fellow and has received an NSF CAREER award, Sloan fellowship, and Okawa research award.

Hartmann is the Faculty Director of the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation, a new undergraduate teaching institute focused on hands-on, human-centered design. Previously, he co-founded the CITRIS Invention Lab, a lab equipped with many digital fabrication and rapid prototyping tools. The lab serves as inspiration and testbed for many research projects. He is also involved in the Berkeley Institute of Design and the Swarm Lab. He received his PhD from the Stanford Computer Science department in 2009, and received an MSE in Computer and Information Science as well as Undergraduate Degrees in Digital Media Design and Communication from the University of Pennsylvania in 2002.


Still ahead in the Design@Large lecture series during the Spring 2017 quarter:

May 24 - Karthik Muralidharan, UC San Diego
May 31 -  Ed Vul, UC San Diego
June 7 - Eric von Hippel, MIT