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Important Dates
SDC submission deadline October 25, 2021 AoE
Notification of conditional acceptance November 18, 2021 AoE November 18, 2021, AoE
Camera-ready deadline November 22, 2021 AoE November 29, 2021 AoE
Presentation pre-recorded video due January 31, 2022 AoE
TEI 2022 conference February 13-16, 2022

Think of Things that Make: Future Digital Fabrication at Home!

Interacting with computers has taken exciting turns in recent years. As a field we went from 1D input and output (CLI) through 2D (GUI) to 3D (VR and gesture input), and we start to break the fast on the input and output of physical matter (digital fabrication + 3D scanning). Technologically we have come a long way already, but in terms of design. . . Most fabrication machines look like they fit in great in a makerspace or research lab, but very few would actually fit in nicely in our personal life environments. Let's believe for a second that the fab revolution is real and in a (few) decade(s) from now we would have "personal fabrication", the same way we transitioned to "personal computing" a few decades ago. That would mean we have to start catching up on the design side of the spectrum, ideally now!

How will this transition change our lives? Where do our fabrication machines live, what do they look like, how will they be used? TEI sits at the intersection between design, HCI, tangible computing, and digital fabrication. Which makes this community uniquely equipped to contribute to such future visions. We look forwards to beautiful designs, speculative futures and thought-provoking ideas!

For the Student Design Challenge (SDC), we invite students to contribute by submitting a vision video and, and if elected a physical prototype which will be exhibited at the TEI conference. We do not expect to receive functional fabrication machines, but rather probes, mock-ups, videos and/or scenarios of machines that go beyond what we can build right now. We expect to see how the machines (or organisms/systems…) will be used, and in what context as well as a short list of technical/social "breakthroughs" that would have to happen for this to become mainstream (or a strong argument why this should happen yesterday rather than tomorrow). The high-level goal is to provoke discussion and speculation as to how we can design that future.

Accepted TEI 2022 Student Design Challenge submissions will become a physical part of an exhibition we will run at the in-person part of the TEI conference. We will record a video in which we go through the exhibition, overlaid with quotes and speculations by the authors so as to make the exhibition accessible to virtual attendees too. The purpose of this video is to trigger discussion and further design iteration. During the conference we will host a virtual panel session in which we give out the awards and where the authors exchange thoughts around their visions, the audience can participate to design a powerful future together. Accepted papers will be published in the TEI2022 proceedings, part of the ACM Digital Library.

Submissions will further be made accessible online in the form of a virtual guided tour with statements of the authors

The jury will award three prizes : best mechanical prototype, most innovative vision, and best motivated scenario. The jury will further prepare a Jury Statement for all accepted submissions.



Current-day fabrication machines (3D printers, laser-cutters, vacuum formers …) are not ready to be taken home. From a technical perspective, you totally could do it, but they look like lab machines and more so: they produce sounds and/or fumes we do not want to have in our homes. Go around in your house and see what machines you do have there, these all have a very different aesthetic and exposure which is why you are ok having them at home. This has been a result of many iterations of careful intentional design.

The process of operating any of those machines is particularly laborious too: simple actions like swapping out a roll of filament or calibrating the focal range of your laser cutter all require advanced expertise and effort. These fine-tuned operations are very different from "jamming your clothes in a washing machine" or "putting a toast in the toaster".

And there is more: currently the biggest "competitor" of digital fabrication is Amazon (or other same-day shopping and delivery services). Why would people have your fabrication machine at home if they can get finished products in an hour from those services? Or even, is home the context we should be thinking of? Or would it make more sense to have them on your desktop or as mobile devices, or even wearable technology? If the current pandemic is any indication, there may even be changes in how we perceive our "private sphere" and "work environment" that could inform some of these outcomes.

… Or are we thinking too much down-to-earth here? We are open to much more speculative futures as well. Does the future of fabrication machinery look like "swarm fabrication robots" or "public matter compilers" (Neal Stephenson's Diamond Age), self-replicating modular machines (Andreas Eschbach's Lord of all Things/Herr aller Dinge or space ants), or shape-changing structures (e.g. Transformers, this SCI-FI paper from KAIST). Or is there no future for fabrication and is the final answer living entirely in VR (e.g. Holodeck)?

These are just some of the dimensions of the design challenge. We are sure there are many more we are overlooking right now. A good submission ideally tackles one such challenge (not limited to what we wrote here, we highly encourage exploring other dimensions!) or a combination of different challenges and paints a picture of how this will develop in the upcoming decade(s).


This year's TEI Student Design Challenge will take the form of design of future fabrication machinery. Students submit a demonstration video and a document with rationale/motivation for their particular vision.

Submissions will be selected by a jury and should include all author names, affiliations and contact information, and are thus not anonymous.

Upon acceptance, we invite students to send a physical demonstration model which will be exhibited at the in-person part of the conference. We will produce a "guided tour video" through this exhibition and host a virtual panel discussion on the topic with authors and the audience at the conference.


TEI2022 uses the new ACM workflow for submission templates and published papers. This requires the use of a simplified one-column template for submission, while the final two-column paper has to be rendered for publication after acceptance. For further details please follow the provided instructions or contact our Publication Chairs.

For the Student Design Challenge, you will have to submit an up to 4-pages long paper in the simplified one-column template (excluding references), a high-resolution image, and a video. You will also have to commit to producing an exhibition piece for the in-person conference which we can prepare on-site and attend the panel discussion.

The paper should clearly describe the submitted vision and give a rationale for the decisions that lead to this vision. You should also include a photo of the exhibition piece. The remaining space should be used to contextualize the vision and discuss elements like what technology would have to be developed to unlock this future.

The acknowledgements section should indicate whether any assistance was drawn from outside the student team (e.g., from advisors, faculty, domain experts, existing solutions, users, etc.).

We will showcase the visions at an exhibition in the live-conference and will record a guided tour through this exhibition for virtual attendance. You therefore have to commit to produce an exhibition piece and instructions for us how to build it up in case you cannot be present in-person. This exhibition and the related tour will serve as a platform for conversation during the conference and beyond.

If you have specific quotes you want to have in the video, please highlight these in the submission document.

The video length should be maximum 5 minutes. The video should demonstrate your vision and ideally use the exhibition piece to illustrate this: how, where, by whom is it used? How is it made? You are free to upload the video on other channels for publicity.

Submissions should not contain sensitive, private, or proprietary information that cannot be disclosed at publication time. You might perhaps also be submitting your project to other TEI formats such as the WIP or Demos. This is allowed, but you will still need to produce and submit a tailored submission and video for the SDC and attend the panel discussion. The different kinds of conference submission will be reviewed and handled independently.


Submission will be reviewed and selected by the SDC Chairs and a jury of selected academic and professional design experts. The submissions should include all author names, affiliations and contact information, and are thus not anonymous. Confidentiality of submissions will be maintained during the review process. All rejected submissions will be kept confidential in perpetuity.


Authors of accepted submissions will be notified on November 15th. Accepted submissions should be finalized by preparing the camera-ready revisions of the paper and submitted by November 22nd You have until January 31th to make and ship the exhibition piece, it should arrive in Korea by that time, please leave time for shipping.


During the TEI conference, there will be the in-person exhibition and the virtual guided tour with quotes form the authors on permanent exhibit. There will be a 1-hour panel session with the chosen candidates, ideally members of the jury and the chairs in which we discuss and brainstorm about the different visions. (virtual) attendees of TEI are welcome to attend/join in.**


At least one author of each accepted submission must register for the conference before the early registration deadline in order for the final paper to be published in the conference proceedings and the exhibit to be shown at the conference.


All work except the exhibition piece itself must be submitted through the Precision Conference submission system (PCS). The submission system will open in July 2021.


If any of the above information is unclear or you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us, the design challenge chairs:
Liu We, Normal Beijing University, China
Thijs Roumen, Hasso Plattner Institute, Germany