It’s not every school that gets invited to the Microsoft Research Design Expo — in fact, only nine schools get invited, and this year, the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) is one of them. MSR Design Expo is one of the most exclusive computer design events in the world, so schools that get invited want to show off their best technology.
IDC’s miLAB, the school’s new media R&D, will be representing the school, and is bringing what it hopes will be the big winner — an app developed by students called Clashers, which lets users hear the music of friends they bump into on the street. When two Clashers users get within proximity of each other, one user can break into the sound stream of the other user they’ve come across, hearing what they hear.
It’s a creative idea, but based on past winners, students need to bring something extra creative. Past winners include In-NEED from Ontario College of Art and Design University, a system for managing the community’s response to natural disasters through the use of mobile technologies; Papercake, a comprehensive social sharing system that integrates financial, medical, career, and social information, while providing coaching about how to stay organized; and Lango, which allows new speakers of a language to learn, understand, and progress through its cultural meanings.
According to the rules, not just any app is suitable for MSR Design Expo. The apps, say Microsoft, must “respond to the human need for social interaction via an interactive application.” Students must come up with something that shows that they “think out of the box,” and back up their app with research showing how their app brings to life the principles of the contest. The contest takes place in mid-July at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington.
IDC’s miLAB was established about five years ago (as part of the Sammy Ofer School of Communications), and bases its teaching and research methods on its “role model,” the Media Lab at MIT. The miLAB works together with other universities, and with the R&D labs of several large corporations, including General Motors’ human-machine interactive labs, located in Herzliya.