Design Expo 2012


Each year, Microsoft Research sponsors a semester-long class at leading design schools. Students are asked to form interdisciplinary teams of two to four students to design a user experience prototype that solves a real-world problem. From these groups, a representative team from each school presents its work to Microsoft.

2012 Design Challenge

Information in my world
New information is increasingly produced across diverse facets of my life and interests. Technology is increasingly aware of my context, what I’ve been doing, what I will do, who I’m with, where I am.

Identify a project and create a solution
Design for the increased amount of information in my world & demontrate how technology can adapt to the way people consume information.

Participating Schools and Projects


  1. Carnegie Mellon University, School of Design; Pittsburg, PA, United States
    • Professors: Peter Scupelli and Bruce Hanington
    • Microsoft Liaisons: Yong Rhee, OXG-Office Design Group; Sogol Malekzadeh, Windows Phone Design
    • Project: Papercake is a comprehensive social sharing system that integrates financial, medical, career and social information. Papercake provides coaching about how to stay organized.
    • Professors: Brendon Clark and Niklas Andersson
    • Microsoft Liaisons: Jared Frew, Lauren Edelmeier, and Mike Kruzeniski, Windows Phone Design Group
    • Project: Lango allows new speakers of a language to learn, understand and progress through its cultural meanings. Like the difference between translation and interpreting, Lango allows for better understanding of a new language.
  2. Royal College of Art (RCA), School of Design; London, England
    • Professors: James Auger and Anthony Dunne
    • Microsoft Liaisons: Richard Banks, Tim Regan, and Alex Taylor, Microsoft Research-Cambridge
    • Projects: From RCA come two projects linked by a theme, Seeking Patterns. The projects each attempt to use algorithms to find patterns and cultural meaning in everyday events. The first project attempts to replicate a childhood past time, scanning the sky and looking for patterns in clouds. The second uses our cultural narrative around numbers ie: lucky/unlucky, and algorithmically manages a mutual fund.
  3. Delft University, Industrial Design Engineering; Delft, Netherlands
    • Professor: Stella Boess
    • Microsoft Liaisons: Arne de Booij, MBS-Dynamics Design Group; Jakob Nielsen, OXG-Office Design Group
    • Project: Elevator is a project that helps us overcome and engage in social sharing experiences in one of the most universally awkward social situations…the long elevator ride.
  4. Tsinghua University, Academy of Arts and Design; Beijing, China
    • Professor: Zhiyong Fu
    • Microsoft Liaisons: Frank Chen, Windows Phone Design Group; Jiawei Gu, Microsoft Research-Asia
    • Project: Roommate is a system that hopes to improve students adaptation to a post school world by focusing on helping to solve affordable housing needs.
  5. Escola Superior de Desenho Industrial, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    • Professors: Elianne Jobim, Noni Geiger, and Rodolfo Capeto
    • Microsoft Liaisons: Tobias Kinnebrew, Analog Labs/IEB; Greg Melander, Bing Design Group
    • Project: Zome is a system and visual language which helps people access and understand personal recommendations. Zome differentiates between unexpected and expected recommendations and adapts to a person’s mood.
  6. University of Washington, Interactive Design Division; Seattle, WA, United States
    • Professor: Axel Roesler
    • Microsoft Liaison: Nathan Auer, OXG-Office Design Group
    • Project: APT is a service that allows apps to be discovered in the real world and not in an app store by delivering apps relevant to your location and situation. The service ambiently searches for relevant apps broadcasted locally or hosted in the cloud. These apps are filtered, ranked and distributed to individuals based on the user’s location and preferences.