Media Arts Students Participate in Yahoo!'s Annual University Design Expo

North Pitney and Erin Elliott

Five CCA Media Arts students participated in Yahoo!'s University Design Expo, an annual event that explores how humans interact with technology and showcases student projects illustrating future uses for technology services and devices.

Yahoo!'s User Experience & Design (UED) group and Yahoo! Research hosted the annual event on July 31 at the company's headquarters in Sunnyvale.

CCA and four other interdisciplinary graduate design programs were invited to participate: New York University, Interactive Telecommunications Program; Royal College of Art (London), Interaction Design Program; UCLA, Design and Media Arts Program; ESDI (Rio de Janeiro), Graphic Design Program.

Yahoo! provided CCA with $10,000 to create and present five projects. Professors Barney Haynes, Todd Blair, Allison Sant, and Anthony Burke led the students and encouraged out-of-the-box thinking in creating their interfaces.

Media Arts students Erin Elliott, Kate Richards, North Pitney, Rhonda Holberton, and Lucas Ketelle created projects for the expo. Projects ranged from Richards's living grass interactive project, in which users could run their hand over grass to trigger a video showing the world from a bug's perspective, to Elliott and Pitney's lollipop project, which consisted of lollipops with sensors that, when licked, controlled the movement of robotic babies.

"The mouth is underused in interactive art and design. This is a good example of a fun way to show you how you can use your mouth to control computers and machines," said Elliott.

The expo was launched 17 years ago by Joy Mountford, who was looking for a way to promote new ways of thinking about computers and design among engineers. She began the expo while at Apple Computer, but has recently moved to Yahoo! and has kept the expo going. She estimates 1,800 students have participated over the years.

CCA has received an invitation to participate in the event next year as well.

For more information about the CCA Media Arts Program, see Media Arts.