interactive. media. research.

The Media Computing Group

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


Headed by Prof. Dr. Jan Borchers, we work in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). Grounded in Computer Science, we develop and study new interaction theories, techniques, and systems in areas like personal digital fabrication and personal design, tangible, mobile, and wearable user interfaces, interactive textiles, multitouch tables and interactive surfaces, augmented reality, and visual coding environments. Our goal is to make the Brave New World of interactive technologies useful by making it usable. Check out the current overview of our research projects, or see our older Research Overview for a more detailed text. Since starting in October 2003, we have become one of Germany's best-published research groups at CHI, the premier international academic conference in the field.

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

Our presentations at ACM CHI 2018

Use the Force Picker, Luke: Space-Efficient Value Input on Force-Sensitive Mobile Touchscreens
(Paper, Honorable Mention)
Sketch&Stitch: Interactive Embroidery for E-Textiles
Tangible Awareness: How Tangibles on Tabletops Influence Awareness of Each Other’s Actions
StatWire: Visual Flow-based Statistical Programming
(Late Breaking Work)
Physical Guides: An Analysis of 3D Sketching Performance on Physical Objects in Augmented Reality
(Late Breaking Work)
by Corsten et al. by Hamdan et al. by Cherek et al. by Subramanian et al. by Wacker et al.

Some of our previous papers 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 and Personal Fabrication, both at RWTH Aachen University 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.

FLApp, our mobile Future Lab Aachen App for iOS and Android launched in 2017, takes you on a walking tour through Aachen's inner city. But instead of historical facts, you'll find out about the latest discoveries and inventions made by engineers and scientists at each location, some using Augmented Reality.

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

News & Events

  • Our PhD student Christian Cherek will join Apple's development headquarters in Cupertino for a four-month internship this summer. He’ll be working on core parts of macOS and its SDKs that he can’t share too much about. Apparently, we have been able to bypass the heap of normal internship applications Apple gets because our past interns (like our former PhD students Eric Lee and Moritz Wittenhagen, and several of our MSc students) have impressed Apple’s engineers so much with their skills. Congratulations Christian! (Feb 6, 2019)
  • Our TABULA research project has been selected as one of four flagship projects in the Tangible Learning Initiative of the German Ministry of Science and Education (BMBF). TABULA uses an original invention of our chair — graspable, physical "tangibles" that are tracked by a large, modern capacitive touch table display — to help student teams learn fundamental computer science concepts more easily together. The BMBF has organized a roadshow that travels to Munich, Bremen, Leipzig, and Aachen, with TABULA and three other core research demonstrators, plus many more exhibits and talks. The Aachen event will be held on Nov 19, 2018. The events are free, but registration is required. More photos. (Oct 23, 2018)
TABULA with its development team, and one of the panel discussions, at the first stop in Munich
(Image credits: Jörg Koch)
Left: Riding champion Laura Klaphake with our 3D-printed logo. Center: Prof. Borchers with CHIO mascot Karli. Right: (from right to left): Carl Meulenbergh, CHIO mascot Karli, Marcel Philipp, Laura Klaphake, Sönke Rothenberger, Frank Kemperman and Prof. Dr. Jan Borchers.
(Image credits: RWTH Lehrstuhl Medieninformatik/Jan Borchers (left,middle), CHIO Aachen/Holger Schupp (right))
  • The 2nd Aachen Maker Meetup is taking place on Wedneday, March 21. This month's topic is tools. More details and signup on the Meetup page.
  • 1st Aachen Maker Meetup: We hosted the first Aachen Maker Meetup at our lab today, with invited guests and around 50 participants networking and bringing their projects to share and discuss. Today's focus was on the past, present and future of learning electronics and other Maker skills. Detailed report online. (Feb 21, 2018).
  • Guest Lecture at Fab Academy: Prof. Borchers is giving a guest lecture ("recitation") How to Make Almost Anything Usable on usability guidelines for makers, within the worldwide Fab Academy curriculum organized by MIT professor Neil Gershenfeld on Monday, February 5, 2018.
  • 3rd Aachen Usability Meetup: Today, we hosted the third meetup in this series. This time the topic was how to explain the value of user experience (UX) work to non-UX people. Prof. Borchers gave a 20min keynote, followed by three other short talks from UX professionals (Jan 25, 2018).
  • Fab Academy starts: Today, Fab Academy 2018 starts! Our lab is offering this class in collaboration with MIT's Prof. Neil Gershenfeld. It's a hands-on class teaching 3D printing and other digital fabrication skills to "make almost anything" in our Fab Lab, with Fab Labs from all around the world participating. Three of our students receive scholarships through the 3DCC 3D Competence Center research project. We're Germany's first university offering the Fab Academy, together with our partners at two Universities of Applied Sciences, Hochschule Ruhr West and Hochschule Rhein-Waal who coordinate the 3DCC project. (Jan 17, 2018)
  • 3 Papers at CHI: Three of our submissions for full papers, the most important category, have been conditionally accepted at ACM CHI, the world's premier research conference on human-computer interaction. As every year, CHI only accepted around 25% of all submissions. Our papers report our latest results in Tangibles on Multitouch Tabletops, Force Input on Smartphones, and Interactive Embroidery.
  • Collaborative Robot Race at AC2: We designed the Entrepreneur Parcours, an interactive exhibit that lets two users drive a robot ball through a maze together. It's featured at all four kickoff events of the AC2 startup competition this week and next week. (Nov 4, 2017)
(Image credit: RWTH Lehrstuhl Medieninformatik/Jan Borchers)
  • Telepresence Workshop: Prof. Borchers ran a workshop on technologies and trends in Telepresence, videoconferencing, and remote collaboration at the Aachen Chamber of Industry and Commerce. (Oct 16, 2017)
  • 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)
  • FLApp, our mobile augmented reality city tour about Aachen's innovations and discoveries in science and engineering for the City of Aachen, launches for iOS and Android (May 9, 2017).

Interested in HCI?

Lehrstuhl Informatik 10 (Medieninformatik und Mensch-Computer Interaktion) / Media Computing Group
Prof. Dr. Jan Borchers
RWTH Aachen University, Ahornstr. 55, 2. OG, Room 2208, 52074 Aachen, Germany
+49 (0)241 80-21051
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Created by system. Last Modification: Wednesday 06 of February, 2019 17:39:24 by borchers.

Media Computing Group at RWTH Aachen