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HCI Hangout + Reading Group

The Hybrid Ecologies Lab at UC Berkeley is hosting a weekly Zoom group for undergraduates who are interested in finding out more about the field of "Human-Computer Interaction" (HCI). This group, led by graduate students in HCI at Berkeley, is a hybrid between a "reading group" and casual hangout. Each week we discuss a research paper that introduces a particular sub-area of HCI and spend the rest of the time showing and discussing projects and potential future directions in that area.


Who is this for?

This group welcomes ANYONE who is vaguely tickled by the idea of discussing and finding out more about HCI. Absolutely no prior exposure or coursework is necessary, and you don't need to have a specific goal or outcome in mind to join. We strongly believe that diverse backgrounds and experiences generate the most interesting, provocative ideas, so we especially encourage students who have interest but may disregard this call anyway because they don't feel like they have the "technical background" to come. Conversely, if you already consider yourself experienced and/or active in the field, we'd also love to have you join us! We're super interested to hear about what you've been working on and thinking about, and hopefully you'll also be able to generate some new ideas with others in the group as well.


What will I get out of this?

Community: You will meet a group of other undergrads from different backgrounds who are also curious about HCI. You will also get to converse with various graduate students in the field. In addition to serving as a potential pathway to new friendships, we hope that these new connections may prove helpful for finding future project partners and learning more about research opportunities on campus.


Skills: We will read and discuss a few "landmark" papers that will introduce you to how to find, read, and critique research papers.


Knowledge: We will try to feature papers/projects that "everyone in the field knows about" to familiarize you with the lingo and references that get tossed around when researchers and professionals discuss HCI. You'll also learn about a lot of projects and challenges in various sub-fields that people are working on, which may inspire ideas of your own!


How much time will this take?

We will have a 1 hour weekly Zoom meeting, which will feature discussions about a couple of papers/projects (some of which we find, some of which you find) as well as open-ended brainstorming or other activities to generate new ideas. You will be strongly encouraged to read 1 paper every 1-2 weeks before our meeting (~15-45 minutes). You can choose to spend 0-2 hours outside of meetings to read interesting papers, watch cool videos, and have additional conversations with us or other members of the group.


Wait, what is Human-Computer Interaction?

First of all, you don't need to know to join us! But briefly, HCI is the study and design of technology with a human-centric approach. It is often considered a subfield of computer science departments at many institutions but has become increasingly multidisciplinary, drawing upon work in other branches of engineering, along with psychology, information science, and art. In fact, some of the most interesting projects have arisen from researchers with "non-traditional" backgrounds and interests. Wearables, AR/VR technologies, digital fabrication (laser cutters, 3D printing, etc.), ubiquitous computing, user interface design, and creativity support tools are just a few of the kinds of thrusts that fall under the umbrella of HCI.

How do I join? 

Join our Slack to connect with the conversation, find logistics, and learn more.  We'd love to have you!

HCI Hangout News

  • [March 2022] Congratulations to Kaitlyn Lee and Ritik Batra for winning "Best Motivated Scenario" at the TEI 2022 Student Design Competition

  • [Jan 2022] Join us for the spring 2022 Hangout -- details in the Slack

  • [Nov 2021] Congratulations to Jasmine Bae, Ritik Batra, Kaitlyn Lee, and Alex Wu for their accepted TEI 2022 Student Design Competition submissions!

    • Redycler: Daily Outfit Texture Fabrication Appliance UsingRe-Programmable Dyes, Ritik Batra and Kaitlyn Lee

    • Modular Furniture Design and Manufacturing with Paper in the Home, Jasmine Bae and Alex Wu

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