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Internship Field: Computer Science, Symbolic Systems, Interface Design

Major: Symbolic Systems

Host: Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionsanlagen und Konstruktionstechnik (IPK: Institute for Production Systems and Design Technology)

Location: Berlin

Duration: June – September 2010


"During my time at the Fraunhofer institute, in the Virtual Product Creation division, I worked primarily on two main projects. The first was the revision of a research paper that presented a software framework for building Tangible User Interfaces. To be able to help with this project, I spent the first week and a half reading up on the state of the art in the field of tangible user interfaces and then gave my opinion and ideas on how to improve the structure and framing of the paper we were revising. I was given a lot of freedom to incorporate my own ideas and my opinions were taken seriously. The paper will be published in 2010, and I am proud to have contributed substantially to the publication.

The second project I worked on was building a Graphical User Interface to make it easier for application programmers to build tangible user interfaces. Various devices (video cameras to provide tracking data, sensors, buttons, LEDs, etc.) are used in tangible user interfaces, and in order to program these devices they must be configured and instantiated via XML. My program made generating XML configuration files easier for application programmers by providing them with a graphical user interface. Logistically, I worked in Java and used DOM and SAX to parse and generate XML files. The program employed the model view controller programming paradigm. Oliver was my main boss for this project.
In addition to these main projects, I also helped with English: editing, revising, proofreading, etc. I also helped my supervisor read and review publications for the "Mensch und Computer" conference for 2011."

Comments: "I felt that my projects were worthwhile and useful to the company. Though I did not have enough knowledge to be as useful as I might have liked, I think I did contribute a great deal and I hope they felt the same. I acquired many new skills during the internship; I learned to collaborate on a software program and to build and maintain a large-scale program with more than 40 classes. I have come away with deep knowledge in the field of tangible user interfaces. I also improved my German a great deal.

My second project lasted the last 6 weeks and was quite challenging, but I wouldn’t say it was a greater responsibility than the first project. But I believe if I had worked there longer I would have been able to collaborate more and choose my own project that they would have integrated into their own research."

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