Jan Borchers is full professor of computer science and head of the Media Computing Group, an endowed Chair in the Computer Science Department at RWTH Aachen University.
With his research group, he explores the field of human-computer interaction, with a particular interest in new user interfaces for soft robotics, 3D printing and personal fabrication, augmented reality, mobile, wearable, and tangible computing, interfaces for software development, and interactive guides and exhibits. In 2009, he opened Germany's first Fab Lab.
Jan established his group in 2003 and pioneered conducting modern HCI academic research and teaching in Germany. It soon became a leading German lab in terms of archival publications at CHI, the top international conference in Human–Computer Interaction. Before joining RWTH, he held faculty positions at Stanford University and ETH Zurich, after receiving his PhD 'summa cum laude' in computer science from Darmstadt University of Technology in 2000. His PhD thesis, A Pattern Approach to Interaction Design, became the first book to bring the concept of design patterns to Human–Computer Interaction.
He is a member of ACM, SIGCHI, SIGCHI Germany, and GI, and introduced the Interactivity format to the CHI conference in 2005. He has also provided usability talks, trainings and consulting, as well as design, prototyping, and evaluation of user interfaces, for clients such as AirBus, Apple, ARD, Bayer, Children's Museum Boston, Daimler, Handelsblatt, OTIS, Scout24, TEDx, and Deutsche Telekom.
- Books: A Pattern Approach to Interaction Design • Arduino In A Nutshell • Lernkarten 3D-Druck • Handbuch Fab Labs
- Complete list of publications
From Detectables to Inspectables: Understanding Qualitative Analysis of Audiovisual Data
Paper at CHI 2021
Use the Force Picker, Luke: Space-Efficient Value Input on Force-Sensitive Mobile Touchscreens
Paper at CHI 2018
Combining Direct and Indirect Touch Input for Interactive Desktop Workspaces using Gaze Input
Paper at SUI 2015
How Tools in IDEs Shape Developers' Navigation Behavior
Paper at CHI 2013
Dynamic Portals: A Lightweight Metaphor for Fast Object Transfer on Interactive Surfaces
Note at ITS 2011
FingerFlux: Near-surface Haptic Feedback on Tabletops
Paper & Demo at UIST 2011
MudPad: A Multitouch Screen That Is Enhanced with Localized Active Haptic Feedback
Note & Demo at ITS 2010
- Die Renaissance der Hände: Intelligente Textilien und Möbel im Haus der Zukunft. Invited Talk, "Technik im Alltag 2030" Speaker Series, RWTH extern, Aachen, Jan 17, 2023.
- Usability kompakt. Invited Talk, Chambers of Commerce NRW & Bavaria Meeting, Aachen, Sep 28, 2021. (PDF)
- How To Make (Almost) Anything Usable. Recitation on usability for makers in the Fab Academy 2021 curriculum organized by MIT professor Neil Gershenfeld, May 3, 2021.
- fightcorona.ac: The Aachen Initiative fighting COVID-19. Invited talk, Connective Cities Virtual Event, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Oct 14, 2020.(PDF)
- Usability. Impulse Talk for SAP Development Team at RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Sep 23, 2020 (Part 1).
- Human–AI Interaction. Keynote, Inauguration Ceremony for Prof. Kay Schroeder, Zuyd Hogeschool, Heerlen, Feb 14, 2020.
- Digitale Fabrikation: Rapid UX Prototyping im Fab Lab. Invited speaker, 20 Jahre Gründerregion, aula carolina, Aachen, Sep 24, 2019.
- Best of CHI '19 for Makers. Aachen Maker Meetup, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Aug 21, 2019.
- Communicating with Artificial Intelligence. Keynote, IEEE ProComm 2019, Aachen, Jul 25, 2019.
- Greatest Hits & Misses: 10 Years of Aachen Maker Meetup. Keynote, Aachen Maker Meetup, Jul 17, 2019. (Video)
- Personal Photonics: Neue Benutzerschnittstellen für Open Innovation mit Photonik-Werkzeugen. Invited BMBF Research Project Overview, Laser World of Photonics Congress, Munich, Jun 24, 2019.
- Democratizing Hardware UX Prototyping. Invited Talk, Aachen Usability Meetup, Jun 18, 2019.
- Previous talks...
- ACM CHI 2023 Extra Subcommittee Chair and Associate Chair, Building Devices
- ACM CHI 2023 Student Research Competition Jury
- ACM CHI 2023 Interactivity Jury
- ACM UIST 2022 Reviewer
- (UIST 2021, CHI 2022: not volunteered due to research sabbatical)
- ACM CHI 2021 Associate Chair, Interaction Techniques, Devices and Modalities
- ACM UIST 2020 Reviewer
- ACM CHI 2020 Associate Chair, Interaction Techniques, Devices and Modalities
- ACM UIST 2019 Reviewer
- ACM CHI 2019 Associate Chair, Interaction Techniques, Devices and Modalities
- ACM UIST 2018 Program Committee Member
- ACM CHI 2018 Associate Chair, Engineering Interactive Systems and Technologies
- Previous activities...
- Tips for taking oral exams (Schwerpunktkolloquien) at our group
- How to write your Bachelor/Master thesis with us
- A must-read when you join our group as Bachelor/Master thesis student or HiWi.
- What makes a good doctoral (PhD) student?
- Older materials for students...
Jan frequently works for clients in industry and government as usability consultant, speaker, and trainer.
Some Research Pointers
- Jan's Top Ten list of books on Human-Computer Interaction
- Free booklet: Arduino in a Nutshell
- dementiatools.org: A non-profit collection of technical support tools for people with dementia (also in German under demenztools.de.)
- LumiNet: An organic illumination network
- Hardware prototyping toolkits for HCI: An overview (2012)
- The Sweet Spot and Baroque Phase of Interactive Technology Lifecycles: A manifesto for simple technology, and a rant against feature-bloat. Published in the March/April 2008 issue of interactions.
- Easier German umlauts on a US keyboard for macOS
- CHI Pages Template: An Apple Pages document template for archival Papers and Notes for the ACM CHI Conference Proceedings
- TimeStamper: A quick hack to capture time stamps into a text file while doing other tasks on macOS (useful for marking important moments while recording a screencast, for example).
- Function Keys: UI scripts to toggle between hardware and software function key mappings on macOS
- More on our group's software page
- Since 2015, Jan heads the Computer Science Department's Examination Board (Prüfungsausschuss). Please use that web site for all applications, appeals, and questions.
- Since 2010, he coordinates the Computer Science Department's public relations and web presence.
- Since 2003, he is the initiator and organizer of the Computer Science Department's weekly Faculty Lunch.
- From 2004–2010, he was the Computer Science Department's building coordinator (Baubeauftragter). The information is kept online for archival purposes.
- Portrait pictures for press use (borchers_7154.jpg, borchers_5126.jpg)
- I think eBikes are the best invention since sliced bread; here's more about them
- I play piano in the jazz sextet riffbereit
- SPIEL 2018 report
- Some Travel Disaster Stories
- Frontotemporal Dementia, notes about a rare illness that my former partner suffered from.
Older information on Jan's Stanford homepage, from his time at Stanford University (2001–2003).