Molly Nicholas at CHI 2017

01 Jun, 2017

Molly Nicholas at CHI 2017

This spring, we were pleased to offer several grants to help support our students in sharing their research at the premiere conferences in their field. Below, Molly Nicholas reflects on her experience at CHI 2017 this May in Denver, Colorado.

After the applause had died down, I found my mind rushing with questions and excitement. I stepped through the chairs, making my way to the speaker, just stepping off the stage. He was already surrounded by folks, everyone eager to share their thoughts. We took turns speaking, the whole group happily participating together. This brief but engaging meeting of minds was exhilarating: a chance to discuss something totally new, in the context of knowledge built up over decades.

I've always been a fan of live theatre - it turns out that live academic papers are just as enthralling. The chance to travel with my labmates, celebrate their work, and connect with so many other skilled and thoughtful researchers is an opportunity I'm so grateful for. We learned about new twists on old classics, like a new spatially-stable PDF reader that displays interaction history reminiscent of the classic paper Read Wear, Edit Wear. We saw work on surprising and unusual integration with technology, like the grinder community who are self-implanting with technology, manifesting Haraway's cyborg. And of course we got to share our work with a packed house, hopefully inspiring future artists and computer scientists alike to create appealing new LED displays. As I look forward to my summer plans, I know I'll carry the great work I saw in Denver with me. I already feel inspired to create novel, useful, magical, and engaging new forms of technology.