Summer Research Assistant: IIT Institute of Design, ThinkeringSpace project

27 May 2008 - 3:39pm
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Heloisa Moura

Summer Research Assistant: ThinkeringSpace
MacArthur Foundation and Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of

Are you good at tinkering? One full-time research assistant position
is available for June, July and August 2008 in the ThinkeringSpace
project. We are looking for someone with both programming and design
skills. The project will be situated at the Institute of Design,
Illinois Institute of Technology. Research will be done primarily in
the Chicago area.

Evaluation Criteria for the Applicant:

Background/Experience in HCI, Design
Comfort working with a multidisciplinary team that includes educators
and designers
Programming Skills in C#, Java, ActionScript, Sockets, Event Driven
Code, ActiveX
Familiarity with design processes used in software engineering and
industrial design.
Research/Writing Skills such as diagramming and annotating systems,
existing and proposed
Prototyping/Hand Skills such as Soldering/Hot glue, etc

About the Project:
ThinkeringSpace is a hybrid system - made of networked and remotely
accessible physical environments - that seeks to bring school-age
children together to tinker with things, both physical and virtual,
reflect upon what they do and discover, and elaborate their ideas in
ways they can share with others. Funded by the John D. and Catherine
T. MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Initiative, it is
focused on school-aged children in libraries, but potentially applies
to a wide range of ages and contexts.

During this summer, the ThinkeringSpace team is moving quickly toward
a series of working prototypes that will be installed in two
Metropolitan Chicago libraries this fall. These prototypes will run
applications to provide a wide variety of collaborative activities for
kids, supported by multi-input technologies. For more information
about the project, visit our website at

If interested in applying for a position, please submit a 1-2 page
description of interest and qualification. Project assistant
candidates will be selected from the applications received, based on
the best fit with project needs and goals, and finalists may be
interviewed before the final selection is made.

June 2, 2008, 1:00 pm. Please forward the application document (PDF)
to Dale Fahnstrom (dale at, Greg Prygrocki
(prygrocki at, T.J. McLeish (mcleish at and Heloisa
Moura (moura at

Commensurate with qualifications.

Research Assistant Responsibilities:
This summer, the applicant will assist with:

Augmenting our current survey of existing off-the-shelf devices
[including mice, keyboards, WiiMotes, dance pads and RFID tag readers].
Finding and/or developing low level systems which will manage multiple
inputs of particular types. Current implementations use sockets and
custom messaging for use with Flash and other prototyping toolkits.
Finding existing applications which support multiple interface devices.
Developing simple applications supporting collaborative interaction
[as defined by the team] using Flash and other prototyping toolkits.
Accomplishing the above leveraging existing open source efforts.
Building an open source community around the goals of Thinkering Space.

Before the Summer starts:
The research assistant will be expected to be up to date with the
content produced in the project so far, which is available on the
Thinkering Spaces website.

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