Human Computer Interaction Graduate Program

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Overview of the Human Computer Interaction Graduate Program

The study of the relationship between humans and computers has quickly become one of the most dynamic and significant fields of technical investigation. Iowa State University’s graduate program in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) is an established leader in this rapidly evolving field, making strategic investments to accelerate research, attract talented students and faculty, and expand the program of study.

Interdisciplinary by definition, HCI impacts nearly every area of our lives. The HCI graduate major reflects a broad recognition in academia and industry of the need to train researchers to meet the challenges created by today’s breakneck pace of technological progress. HCI graduate students benefit from interacting with ISU faculty from departments representing every college in the University as well as researchers at the Virtual Reality Applications Center.


The interdepartmental graduate major in HCI provides advanced education and training while fostering research excellence in HCI at ISU, offering three graduate program degrees as well as a postbaccalaureate certificate.


Testimonials

  • “Iowa State University’s Human-Computer Interaction graduate program has facilitated my professional career by providing cutting edge facilities and through encouraging multidisciplinary collaborations. Our interactions with computing technologies are going to rapidly change over the next decade and this program has allowed me a glimpse into that exciting future.”
    - Jeremiah Still (Alumnus), HCI PhD
  • “The coursework of ISU’s HCI program provides an excellent preparation for working in the industry. Thanks to connections I made through the program, I had an opportunity to interview for a summer internship. Much of my interview focused on projects and topics covered by HCI 521, the introductory HCI class. Thanks in part to this preparation, my interview went successfully, and I look forward to an internship with Microsoft conducting usability research this summer.”
    - Michael VanWaardhuizen, HCI MS student

HCI News

The C6 Virtual Reality Facility

The C6 Virtual Reality Facility
The C6 is a 10x10x10 ft. room in which images are projected on all four walls, the ceiling, and the floor. It is located in the atrium of Howe Hall. In the C6, several participants can explore and interact with a virtual world simultaneously, sharing the experience.
The VRAC’s C6 is the world’s highest resolution, fully immersive virtual environment. Residing in the center atrium of Howe Hall, the facility’s exterior is shaped like a silver cyclone. Inside the C6 is a room that is 10 feet by 10 feet by 10 feet in which all four walls, the floor and the ceiling, are projection screens illuminated from outside by high-resolution, interactive computer-generated stereoscopic images that provide an experience of total immersion in a virtual environment.
The C6 displays over 16.7 million pixels (4096×4096) on each of its six surfaces – totaling more than 100M pixels. A customized image generator cluster, comprised of 48 dual-cpu/dual-gpu workstations, sends images to 24 Sony SRX-S105 digital cinema projectors, providing an intensely detailed, high-resolution, immersive experience for researchers and other participants. In addition, audio immersion is possible through the upgraded 8.1 channel surround sound audio system. The C6 debuted in 2000 and received a multi-million dollar upgrade in 2008. The original and upgraded C6 was engineered and implemented by Mechdyne Corporation.

C6 Coverage

  • Education Install: 3D Simulation to the Max The modernized C6 at Iowa State University sets new precedent for immersive virtual reality systems
  • ISU News Service:The most realistic virtual reality room in the world
  • ZDNet:100 Million Pixels of Virtual Reality
  • EE Times:VR room zooms in on 100M-pixel resolution
  • ESPN segment from 2013 Oklahoma/ISU football game.
The C6 Virtual Reality Facility
Constructed in 1999 the C6 was the first fully immersive six sided CAVE like facility in the United States.
The VRAC’s C6 is the world’s highest resolution, fully immersive virtual environment. Residing in the center atrium of Howe Hall, the facility’s exterior is shaped like a silver cyclone. Inside the C6 is a room that is 10 feet by 10 feet by 10 feet in which all four walls, the floor and the ceiling, are projection screens illuminated from outside by high-resolution, interactive computer-generated stereoscopic images that provide an experience of total immersion in a virtual environment.
The C6 displays over 16.7 million pixels (4096×4096) on each of its six surfaces – totaling more than 100M pixels. A customized image generator cluster, comprised of 48 dual-cpu/dual-gpu workstations, sends images to 24 Sony SRX-S105 digital cinema projectors, providing an intensely detailed, high-resolution, immersive experience for researchers and other participants. In addition, audio immersion is possible through the upgraded 8.1 channel surround sound audio system. The C6 debuted in 2000 and received a multi-million dollar upgrade in 2008. The original and upgraded C6 was engineered and implemented by Mechdyne Corporation.

Exterior Design
The very colorful part on the exterior of the C6 enclosure is a very thin micro-embossed film resembling a CD-ROM or holographic material. This film is sandwiched between clear acrylic to give it stability and also let it float off the primary surface of the C6 enclosure. These panels reflect light in a very active manner creating colorful reflections around the space surrounding the C6. The reflections colorfully interact with an individual’s movement around this central space in Howe Hall in a very unusual manner also responsively to the viewer’s place and spatial relationships around them. Direct light on this film reflects in a very prismatic way, where it is split into a red, green, blue and other parts of the visual spectrum, which further activates the space around the C6.

Human Computer Interaction Graduate Program

The study of the relationship between humans and computers has quickly become one of the most dynamic and significant fields of technical investigation. Iowa State University’s graduate program in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) is an established leader in this rapidly evolving field, making strategic investments to accelerate research, attract talented students and faculty, and expand the program of study.
Interdisciplinary by definition, HCI impacts nearly every area of our lives. The HCI graduate major reflects a broad recognition in academia and industry of the need to train researchers to meet the challenges created by today’s breakneck pace of technological progress. HCI graduate students benefit from interacting with ISU faculty from departments representing every college in the University as well as researchers at the Virtual Reality Applications Center.
The interdepartmental graduate major in HCI provides advanced education and training while fostering research excellence in HCI at ISU, offering three graduate program degrees as well as a post-baccalaureate certificate.
PhD in HCI
MS in HCI
Online Masters of HCI program
Graduate Certificate in HCI
Testimonials
“Iowa State University’s Human-Computer Interaction graduate program has facilitated my professional career by providing cutting edge facilities and through encouraging multidisciplinary collaborations. Our interactions with computing technologies are going to rapidly change over the next decade and this program has allowed me a glimpse into that exciting future.”
– Jeremiah Still (Alumnus), HCI PhD
“The coursework of ISU’s HCI program provides an excellent preparation for working in the industry. Thanks to connections I made through the program, I had an opportunity to interview for a summer internship. Much of my interview focused on projects and topics covered by HCI 521, the introductory HCI class. Thanks in part to this preparation, my interview went successfully, and I look forward to an internship with Microsoft conducting usability research this summer.”
– Michael VanWaardhuizen, HCI MS student

Virtual Reality Applications Center
Iowa State University
1620 Howe Hall
537 Bissell Road
Ames, IA 50011-2274

Human Computer Interaction Program
Iowa State University
1620 Howe Hall
537 Bissell Road
Ames, IA 50011-2274