The Golden Age of Hardware

“We Have Entered The Golden Age Of Hardware Hacking”

I couldn’t agree with the author more. Like the author, I too picked up a degree in electrical engineering in the late 90’s, only to watch almost every one of my school colleagues move into the sotware realm. All that hardware work on electric theory for nothing! But understandably so, hardware was expensive to produce, while software was far less capital intense.

I stuck with it though, after many years in graduate school I founded Gazepoint which produces eye-tracking systems which include hardware (electrical and mechanical) and a whole lot of software. These systems would not have been possible were it not for the advances in low cost electronics manufacturing AND 3D printing. I happen to love 3D printing, I’ve printed everything from replacement laundry dryer knobs and sink drain plugs, to commercial products such as housings and head mounted eye-trackers.

Last year I sponsored a UBC student team that developed an incredible video game called Focalpoint. The game was amazing, they did a fantastic job but it was all software. I’m impressed that electrical engineering produces graduates well rounded enough to do full bore software projects like this, but I also think we’re just entering this Golden Age of Hardware and believe students might find some real opportunities innovating in hardware.

So this year at BCIT I have two student teams working on hardware based projects. Of course both include significant software components but each is based around the hardware device. As the teams progress I’ll post more!

PETMEI 2014

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I will be attending the 4th International Workshop on Pervasive Eye Tracking and Mobile Eye-Based Interaction in Seattle on September the 13th, 2014. We tried very hard to get a paper done in time for the conference but we were just too swamped with everything else on the go. So instead I might just bring down one of our custom head mounted eye-gaze tracking system we’ve been working on to demo instead.

Let me know if you are coming too, looking forward to seeing everyone there!

Cheers,

Craig

HCI Group back in action

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The HCI Group has been quiet the last few years as I have been very busy focusing on entrepreneurship while my academic activities as Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia took a back seat. I am very happy to announce that I am finally able to restart the HCI Group and all related activities based on my new tenure at the British Columbia Institute of Technology.

As always, the focus of the HCI Group is on human-computer interaction with an emphasis on eye-gaze tracking. However, in addition to HCI, the HCI Group has partnered with the research group of Dr. Julie Robillard, assistant professor at the University of British Columbia and will be assisting on the technical side with the research in Neuroscience and Scientific Communication.

Stay tuned for more!

Craig Hennessey