In memory of Ina Rixen (1971–2015)

The Media Computing Group

An Endowed Chair of the B-IT Foundation at RWTH Aachen University

interactive. media. research.


Headed by Prof. Dr. Jan Borchers, we work in Media Computing and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). Grounded in Computer Science, we develop and study new interaction theories, techniques, and systems in areas like interactive audio and video streams, ubiquitous computing environments, multitouch tables and interactive surfaces, tangible and wearable user interfaces, Physical Computing, personal digital fabrication, user interfaces for software development, and HCI design patterns. Our goal is to make the Brave New World of interactive technologies useful by making it usable. See our older Research Overview, or the research projects listed to your left. Since starting in October 2003, we have become one of Germany's best-published individual research groups at CHI, the premier international conference in the field.

We're part of the Computer Science Department at RWTH Aachen University, Germany's top-ranked University of Technology and one of Germany's nine Elite Universities. Our group is an Endowed Chair of the German B-IT Foundation.

Some of our previous publications at the top HCI conferences can be found here: CHI 2016, CHI 2015, CHI 2014, CHI 2013, CHI 2012, UIST 2011, CHI 2011. For a full list, see our Publications page.


We offer courses in Human-Computer Interaction, both at RWTH and in the international MSc in Media Informatics at the Bonn-Aachen International Center for Information Technology (B-IT Center). We teach how people interact with computers and technology, and how computer science can open up new ways of interacting with technology and information. See our Teaching Overview, our courses listed to the left, or watch our classes on iTunes U!


We provide

Our clients include AirBus, Apple, Bayer, Children's Museum Boston, Handelsblatt, OTIS, Scout24, TEDx, and Telekom.

Usability for Everybody in 18 Minutes: Prof. Borchers' TEDx Talk

News & Events

  • Haptic Vest at BMBF: We demonstrated our Haptic Vest 2.0 at the Open House Event of the Ministry of Education and Science (BMBF) as one of four examples of the new high-tech strategy of the federal government this weekend. Jan Thar and Sophy Stönner from our lab demonstrated their latest prototypes of the vest to research minister Prof. Wanka (left photo) and numerous other guests. Details in the event reports on the BMBF homepage and on the pages of the Photonics Research Initiative Germany. (Aug 27, 2017)
(Image credits: BMBF/Hans-Joachim Rickel (left), RWTH Lehrstuhl Medieninformatik/Jan Thar (right))
  • Our Haptic Vest 2.0, a wearable vest that renders depth images from a front-facing camera onto the wearer's torso using an array of vibration motors, enabling people with vision impairments to avoid obstacles while walking, was featured in a dedicated TV report in WDR Lokalzeit Aachen today. The report (in German) starts at 14'50" into the program (local cached copy). (Jun 13, 2017)
  • Prof. Borchers is on research sabbatical at UCSD in the U.S. for the winter semester from Oct 2016 until March 2017.
  • Prof. Borchers speaks as an invited speaker at RWTH's annual teaching summit ("Talk Lehre") about teaching as motivation, after receiving the computer science teacher of the year award by RWTH's CS department in December. (Jun 29, 2016)
  • Last night, in a packed coronation hall at Aachen City Hall, Sophy and her brother Henric Stönner's startup Laserkatze was elected one of the three recipients of the prestigious AC² Startup Award! From among 170 contestants overall, they placed third in the startup category. Founded just recently, Laserkatze offers custom laser cutting and engraving, from design to manufacture, to businesses and consumers, from their cute store in Aachen's hip Frankenberger Viertel. Check it out if you are in the area. Since Sophy got hooked on lasercutting in our fab lab, you could consider this our first award-winning spinoff! (Jun 3, 2016)
  • Today, our lab starts work on the Personal Photonics project, a new three-year research project that aims to create new interaction techniques and user interfaces for photonics components, systems, and tools, to make them easier to use for makers, designers, artists, and other non-engineers, putting the photonics industry on center stage of the Open Innovation movement. This project is funded by the German Ministry of Science and Education (BMBF) through its Open Photonics Initiative. (June 1, 2016)
  • Join us at our next boardgame night - it takes place each 2nd and 4th Monday of the month (May 23, 2016)
  • As part of RWTH Aachen University's HCI Center, our lab heads the new three-year TABULA research project exploring the use of interactive tangible objects on multitouch surfaces in education. This project is funded by the German Ministry of Science and Education (BMBF) through its Tangible Learning Initiative, starting today. (May 1, 2016)
  • Prof. Borchers presents the future of 3D printing, personal fabrication, and personal design at the Aachen 2025 work group. (Dec 8, 2015)
  • Prof. Borchers receives the Teacher of the Year Award ("Lehrpreis") by RWTH Aachen University's Computer Science Department. In particular, the laudatio honored "his captivating lecture Designing Interactive Systems I, and the high-quality video recordings of all his classes". (Dec 4, 2015)
  • Today the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) opened the Light Cares exhibition in its new Berlin offices, showcasing Maker solutions using photonic tools and technologies to help people with disabilities. Prof. Borchers guided minister Johanna Wanka through the exhibition. Prof. Wanka took over an hour out of her busy schedule for the tour, engaging with many of the makers discussing their projects. Our haptic vest OpenVNAVI for blind users that uses a depth camera and a matrix of 128 vibration motors to render the space in front of the user onto their chest was one of the exhibits. Open Innovation and Maker Culture are thus becoming increasingly hot topics at BMBF, even beyond their highly innovative photonics research department. The exhibition shares the BMBF foyer with our permanent interactive installation ROBOLED there, a steampunk robotic arm driving an OLED wall display. (Oct 12, 2015)
  • Our Fab Lab Aachen will receive 1M€ of funding from the EU and the state of NRW through their Regio.NRW initiative, for research into future user interfaces for personal design and personal fabrication. The work is part of a collaboration headed by the University of Applied Sciences Rhein-Waal, and with the University of Applied Sciences Ruhr-West, to form a digital fabrication competence center over the next three years. The partners will also collaborate with the MIT to offer the FabAcademy curriculum at each of their three locations. Government press release (Sep 9, 2015)
  • Prof. Jan Borchers' free book Arduino in a Nutshell has been downloaded over 80,000 times. (Jul 28, 2015)

Interested in HCI?

Created by system. Last Modification: Tuesday 29 of August, 2017 13:55:35 by borchers.

Media Computing Group at RWTH Aachen