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.
2013 Design Challenge
Making Data Useful: Improving Your Life, Community, and World
We live in a world that is increasingly alive with sensors and data. The big data, sensor networks and transparency movements have left us with a glut of potentially useful free data that is lying fallow. How can we use this to improve life, local community, and the world at large?
People and devices collect and share data both passively—monitoring environmental change—and actively—explicitly capturing and sharing information, combining data with other information, and using in unexpected ways. Today, we are only starting to understand how best to put this data to work to improve our lives and the world around us.
How might data—particularly information that makes civic society run, like bus schedules, election cycles, political information, first-hand reporting, volunteer logistics, and sporting and media events—make for a better and more community-oriented place to live?
How might this data help us understand the past and present and predict the future with more precision, and how might an individual’s personal data be used to help filter and make information more relevant in different contexts or situations?
What are key problems this data can be used to help solve, what new troubles can we anticipate it creates?
Participating schools and projects
- New York University, Interactive Telecommunications Program, New York, NY, United States
Professor: Clay Shirky
Project: Mine – See yourself the way data miners see you
- Carnegie Mellon University, School of Design, Pittsburg, PA, United States
Professors: Peter Scupelli, Bruce Hanington
Project: SeedLinks – Empowering people who care to contribute to their local communities
- Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), Herzliya, Israel
Professors: Oren Zuckerman and Noa Morag
Project: Clashers – A new way to search for music
- National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad, India
Professors: Bibhudutta Baral and Rupeshkumar Vyas
Project: Policiti – Creating a citizen-centric and transferable policing system in India
- Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Professor: Trevor Duncan
Project: Living Memory – Digital data in physical objects
- Technische Universiteit (TU) Eindhoven, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Professor: Berry Eggen
Project: AMP – Sharing social data
- Universidad Iberoamericana, Design Department, Mexico City, Mexico
Professor: Jorge Meza Aguilar
Project: Greenery – Grow your own food in a fun way
- University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), Design Media Arts, Los Angeles, CA, United States
Professor: Christian Moeller
Project: Real-time advanced sound analysis for the LA philharmonic
- University of Washington, Interactive Design Division, Seattle, WA, United States
Professor: Axel Roesler
Project: Community Slate – Improving public participation in open planning
Research in Focus: Designing a Better Tomorrow. Interview with Lili Cheng and Clay Shirky (NYU ITP).