Two CSE labs awarded Microsoft Surface Hub research grants

Surface HubTwo labs in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University will be awarded competitive Microsoft Surface Hub Research grants.

The Sketch Recognition Lab and Interface Ecology Lab are two of only 10 awardees selected in the worldwide competition. Both labs will receive $25,000 in unrestricted research funding and an 84-inch Microsoft Surface Hub worth approximately $20,000.

The Microsoft Surface Hub is a touch-screen device used for collaboration. The new technology allows multiple people to use the screen at the same time. The resolution, four times better than most televisions, allows for interaction with high-resolution images and models.

The Sketch Recognition Lab, run by Dr. Tracy Hammond, uses technology to identify, understand and predict human behavior. The lab will use the Microsoft Surface Hub for collaboration while developing new sketch recognition technology.

“Sketch and gesture technologies have been shown to improve learning experiences,” Hammond said. “The Surface Hub enhances the group learning environment and the student-teacher collaborative environment by allowing for a large design environment. We look forward to developing new educational solutions for working in large collaborative environments."

The Interface Ecology lab, run by Dr. Andruid Kerne, investigates the future of human expression by focusing on creativity, play, participation and learning. The lab will use the Surface Hub technology as a basis to develop new interaction techniques for creative design. The technology allows for human interaction with the hub using a finger and pen at the same time. After they are developed, the techniques will be integrated into the IdeaMâché creative support program. Kerne will collaborate with Dr. Galen Newman and Dr. Jun-Hyun Kim, to investigate how Surface Hub supports design ideation in landscape architecture studios.

“Working together, IdeaMâché and Surface Hub have the potential to transform human expression by making expression more physical and sensory,” Kerne said. “We will provide powerful new tools to propel the imaginations of architecture students at Texas A&M, and beyond.”

By working together, computer science and engineering is spreading the impact of these grants across campus. Andrew Webb, a dissertation fellow at Texas A&M, sees the potential to improve education.

“The integration of IdeaMâché with Surface Hub will transform architecture education at Texas A&M,” Webb said. “This will provide students and faculty with a digital medium to design and critique.”

While this technology can transform the classroom setting, it will soon transform industry.  Graduate assistant Paul Taele thinks the Microsoft Surface Hub will be used to improve teamwork across the world.

“The Surface Hub is a technological advancement that will allow people to collaborate, work together and achieve more throughout industry and academia,” Taele said

    Dr. Tracy Hammond                                                                                                                            Dr. Andruid Kerne

Image of Tracy Hammond

Image of Andruid Kerne