Call for Student Design Competition

How might we design mobile computing technologies in a way that they alter our everyday environments into a world everyone wants to live in? In the MobileHCI student design competition (SDC), teams of students from various levels of academic backgrounds (Bachelors, Masters, and PhDs) and from various regions in the world explore needs, ideate, and develop concepts for mobile computing and demonstrate them to the MobileHCI conference attendees. This year, the SDC is excited to build on the conference theme “Facing Mobile Realities”. We would like participants to envision the future of mobile computing, with an emerging device in mind: smart glasses. In particular, looking into how smart glasses might contribute to the next era of mobile computing.

The SDC is an outstanding opportunity to showcase your creativity to leaders in the field, turn your ideas into reality, and win fabulous prizes. Your projects will be featured at the conference, where the winners will be announced. This year, SDC chairs and a jury will review and vote on the Most Creative and Best Implementation, and conference attendees will vote for their favorite teams in the People’s Choice award.

Important Dates

Deadline Date
Submission Deadline May 20th, 2022
Notification May 31st, 2022
Hardware Kits shipped to accepted teams June 1st - 14th, 2022
Development period starts June 15th, 2022
Development period ends Sept. 27, 2022
Teams demo at conference Sept. 28 - Oct. 1, 2022

Theme: Subtle Smart Glasses in the Next Era of Mobile Realities

Inspired by the emergence of lightweight smart glasses as a potentially disruptive computing device with a familiar form factor transformed into a subtle mobile computing device, the SDC aims to explore what future mobile computing might look like.

Challenge and Context

We would like participants to envision possible utopian and dystopian mobile realities that we might have to face in future everyday life: How might we design mobile computing technologies in a way that they (a) contribute to a utopian other than dystopian future or (b) act as a remedy in a potentially dystopian future.

As a starting point, and for your inspiration, here is one example of a dystopian future: Keiichi Matsuda: Hyper-Reality (2013)

The challenge will be to envision and advance the interactive experience surrounding smart glasses, and how smart glasses might contribute to a utopian future. For example, what might the smart glasses do that no previous computing devices could have achieved? How do we design for interactions that are subtle yet effective? How might smart glasses coexist with existing devices to create even further profound experiences?

We encourage the participants to paint a future, where Mobile Realities have become prominent, realized in part by the smart glasses to create a seamless, subtle, and ubiquitous computing future that is across the home, the transportation, the school, the workplace, and so on. This competition challenges the participants to explore the design space around interaction and novel sensing utilizing various sensors and devices surrounding the smart glasses.

We look forward to your creative imaginations and solutions!

Hardware Platform

For this year’s competition, the students will be provided one or two pairs of the Huawei Eyewear as the starting point for building your idea of smart glasses in the future of mobile computing (and free to keep as yours after the conference!). Huawei Eyewear is a pair of lightweight smart glasses that can be connected to existing devices such as smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, or PC wirelessly.

The eyewear has plenty of sensors for input. There is a pair of microphones to pick up your voice for voice UI and ambient sounds. The glasses arm has capacitive touch sensors to support touch gestures. The 6-axis IMU enables 3 DOF orientation sensing, and can be utilized for more sophisticated tasks such as activity sensing (e.g. neck posture sensing). On the output channel, the eyewear uses beamforming speakers that direct the sound to your ear, keeping the sound high quality and private.

For details, please refer to the official website.

  • Huawei Eyewear specification
  • A kickoff session to discuss any questions regarding the hardware device capabilities will be held. Please register via this form. For participants without access to Google forms, please register via this form.
  • Android SDK for developing with the eyewear will be available around the kickoff session

Competition Format

The 2022 MobileHCI SDC will progress in three phases: idea submission, demo development, and presentation at the conference.

Idea submission

All participating teams must submit their ideas on this form. For participants without access to Google forms, please submit via this form. The submission deadline is May 20th, 2022.

We encourage the teams to build your ideas upon utilizing the built-in sensors (microphone, 6-axis IMU, and glasses arm touchpad) and actuators (speakers) of the eyewear. It would be a big challenge to design and implement the future of mobile computing using such lightweight and power-durable smart glasses (such as repurpose these existing sensors to achieve novel sensing and interaction techniques), therefore you may receive extra scores towards the competition evaluation for solving such a challenge!

However, we understand if your ideas require other components that are not available on the current eyewear. We then encourage you to envision how the extra components and devices may integrate with the eyewear (such as adding additional sensors and actuators to it to augment existing capabilities) to advance the key role that smart glasses may play in the next era of mobile computing. We kindly ask you to provide the extra components and commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) devices in your idea proposal (and how you intend to use them). If your team’s idea is selected, you may receive a development fund for purchasing these hardware.

Development fund for purchasing any hardware (other than the provided Huawei eyewear) is fully reimbursed up to a maximum of $1,000 USD, after the presentation at the conference, upon meeting minimum requirements such as conforming to using the provided Huawei Eyewear as the foundation of theme of the competition, and progress towards a functional system.

Your submission should include the following:

  • A description of your idea (roughly 150-words)
  • Supporting document (max 4 pages)
  • Link to supporting materials (images, video, powerpoint presentation, etc.)
  • Completion of all items on the registration form (contact info, etc.)

Demo Development

  • Based on your idea submissions, each selected team will receive one or two pairs of Huawei Eyewear Smart Glasses (to be shipped around early June).
  • A technical kickoff session will be held around mid-June, to answer any questions you might have regarding the SDK and development.
  • Ongoing technical support for using the eyewear and SDK will be provided, please email

The demo development phase lasts until presentation at the conference. Depending on the conference’s demo session format, participants might be asked to submit a video up to X days earlier.

Conference Presentation

Teams will present your demos at MobileHCI 2022. In addition to the demo system, please design a poster to summarize your idea, design, implementations. Please also provide a video for storytelling and showcasing your concept, system, experiment, etc.

  • The demo system
  • A Poster
  • A video (maximum 5 minutes)

The teams will be evaluated by a jury and the audience, and could win cash prizes in the Most Creative, Best Implementation, and People’s Choice Awards!

Competition Rules, Details, and Suggestions

Pre-Selection Criteria: Organizers will select a minimum of 10 teams based on usefulness, creativity, complexity, feasibility, and time/resource constraints. Participants: The competition is open to any student(s) irrespective of their location, access to specific resources, or travel constraints. Please form teams of no more than 5 members. All participants must currently be enrolled as students (high school, college, university, Master’s program, Ph.D. students).

Registration Requirement: Please register for the contest and submit your idea using the form. If your team is accepted, at least one of your team members MUST register for the conference (or be accepted as a student volunteer). You will then be able to demonstrate your idea to the live audience, claim your prizes, and enjoy the awesome MobileHCI conference!

Demo Ideas: Teams will be permitted to demo only one idea; different demos of the same idea are permitted.

Demo Code: We encourage you to open-source your code (if you do, you can provide a link to your open source repo during your presentation). Note that teams will not be judged according to the quality of the code.

Extra Equipment: Teams will be required to bring all the hardware devices needed to present your demos to the conference. No additional equipment will be provided at MobileHCI.

WiFi: WiFi is available at the conference; however, please be aware of bandwidth restrictions. Teams are welcome to use the conference WiFi as a part of their demos; however, we recommend having a Plan B, such as your own local network using routers.

Anonymity: Submissions are not anonymous and should include your team members’ names, affiliations, and a team/project name.


During the conference, awards will be presented in the following categories. The jury and the conference attendees will vote for each respective award.

  • Most Creative (Jury): USD $3000
  • Best Implementation (Jury): USD $2000
  • People’s Choice (Attendee Votes): USD $1000

All teams are free to keep their Huawei Eyewear, and any additional hardware they may have purchased for their system. In addition to cash prizes. Selected winners will also be invited (fully sponsored) to present your project (to the SDC sponsor, Huawei) at the Huawei developer conference (HDC) held in Huawei SongShanHu campus, GuangDong, China.

Please note that we reserve the right to change the awards structure during the contest.


Please contact the Student Design Competition Co-Chairs.

Student Design Competition Chairs

Portrait of Marion Koelle

Marion Koelle
Saarland University, Germany

Portrait of Haojian Jin

Haojian Jin
Carnegie Mellon University, USA

Portrait of Kevin Fan

Kevin Fan
Huawei, Canada