Molly Nicholas at TEI 2018

30 Apr, 2018

Molly Nicholas at TEI 2018

Molly Nicholas, a graduate student studying Human Computer Interaction at the Computer Science department at the University of California, Berkeley, attended the TEI 2018 Conference in Stockholm, Sweden. The conference took place from March 18-21.

The Spring 2018 BCNM Conference Grant helped cover Nicholas's costs of attending a premier conference in her field.

In her own words:

All conferences are enriching experiences: a whirlwind exposure to new and established ideas, the chance to discuss your own work with many inquiring minds, and relaxed but enriching interactions with dedicated and passionate scholars. But there's something especially satisfying about a smaller but still top-tier conference like TEI: the single track means everyone takes the same intellectual journey together, and the smaller number of participants means new faces become familiar very quickly. Lunch becomes both a social time to connect with researchers near and far, but also a way to share and discuss the ideas we're all enjoying in the presentations and the demos. We caught up with Irene Posch, whose [excellent paper on creating new tools to support electronic textile work]( won an honorable mention award, and were introduced to her friends and connections. The Arts Exhibition celebrated the contributions of less traditional explorations, and supported a deeper engagement with researchers and art practitioners from all over the world. Christie tried on a hand-knit wifi-sensing suit filled with vibration motors from a group from the Netherlands, and Susan Kozel, Ruth Gibson, and Bruno Martelli shared their work exploring how to perform encryption algorithms, while asking us tough questions about the terms and design of our own work. We all seemed to share a sense of being invigorated and inspired, and I've connected online with more people after this event than any other conference I've attended. Maybe I'm biased, but I think cross-disciplinary experiences can help bring people together.

We were particularly excited that so many other researchers had chosen to make their work open source, even including an Instructable to further increase accessibility. [Our own HäirIÖ Instructable]( was quickly featured on the site, and we look forward to helping people design and build their own versions of the hair interfaces. We've had a few other short articles written about the work including a short one from [Arduino]( and a piece by [Hackaday](, where our work prompted a discussion about the role of autonomous movement in wearable interfaces, fulfilling one of our goals to enable debate about the effects of expanding the body in this way. We also particularly enjoyed the meme that a Twitter user shared. Memefied research achievement: unlocked.

In addition to our presentation, we spent the months leading up to the conference creating a more robust, smaller, and more easily reproducible version of the HäirIÖ circuit for a live demo. Because TEI is all about tangible interfaces, it's particularly fulfilling to let people actually engage with our work, and we were one of many excellent demos.