DOI: 10.1145/2830718 COP YRIGH T HELD BY AUTHORS
in our lab, as the variety of research is
quite broad. Starting with the Dance.
Draw project, there has been significant
emphasis on I T support for creativity
and the arts. This has led to a focus
on video-centered collaboration and
computing education research. We also
have faculty and students focusing on
usable security and privacy, interfaces
for secure programming, recommender
systems, and tangible interaction.
Because of the wide variety of research,
it’s typical to find people working
furiously toward paper deadlines. While
the research projects in our lab are
quite varied, our students consistently
help each other by giving feedback on
research papers, study designs, and
new interfaces; assisting with user
study recruitment; and anything else
that is needed. It’s a very supportive
What is one feature of your lab that you
could not do without? The interactive
touch table in the InDe Lab is used for
the NatureNet project and for other
student projects. This table gives
students the ability to dive into the
design of touch and gestural interaction.
The NatureNet project brings a
sustainability and ecology perspective
into the lab, and connects students
and faculty at UNC Charlotte with
collaborators at other universities and at
What is one feature of your lab you
want and do not have? While we do
have some 3D printers (Makerbots
and a Cube), we do not have a full
fabrication setup with a 3D scanner,
a vacuum sublimation heat-press, a
laser cutter, and other state-of-the-art
fabrication equipment. Given the range
of application areas, from medical
devices and clothing to sustainable
building materials, we feel that having
more of this type of equipment would
help us show students how creative and
purposeful computing research can be.
What is the one thing you see as most
important about the work you do there?
Encouraging creativity and playfulness
is something we think is very important.
Not every piece of equipment is
purchased for a specific purpose.
Sometimes we just want students
to experiment and play with new
technology. We find this helps spur new
ideas and creates an environment where
experimentation and creativity are
valued. Long ago, an undergrad student
wanted to create a program that would
allow him to paint with the sound of his
whistle. It was a bit crazy, but we gave
him the space to do it and that algorithm
ended up being used for visualizations
in an interactive dance and in a project
to help support seniors aging in place.
While user-centered design to solve
problems is a large part of what we do,
sometimes it’s also great to be inspired
by fun new technology or algorithms.
→ GEMS: Bluetooth
food tags help
manage food in the