Research & Design Challenge

Image Credit: Bennett Day School

Smart Communities: Rebuilding a compassionate world!

Did you know that we are surrounded by smart machines, or so-called Artificial Intelligence (AI), almost everywhere in our lives nowadays? Smart machines are technologies that can think, learn, engage with humans, and use sensors to understand the world. Smart machines help us all the time by recommending movies, detecting our moods, and enabling self-driving cars. But can smart machines also help create more compassion within our communities? Compassion can include treating each other kindly and equally, and caring for the sustainability of our environment. There are already smart machines that help foster compassion by playing with us like a friend, reading labels for those who need assistance, and chit-chatting with people when they feel lonely. But, our community still needs so much more!

This year, the Interaction Design and Children 2023 conference invites children, researchers and designers to participate in the Research and Design Challenge under the theme “Smart Communities”. We invite young people all over the world, of all genders, countries, and needs to imagine and submit your ideas about the question – how can smart machines foster compassion (kindness, equality, sustainability and beyond) in our communities (family, friends, neighbourhood, country and world)

When thinking about your design ideas, see if these questions below help your compassionate design process.

  • When was a time or a situation when you wanted to help others most?
  • How can smart machines bring assistance to those with different types of needs, physical, emotional, or otherwise?
  • How can smart machines help people know if/when/where they might be able to help others (e.g., build or find homes for people needing shelter)?
  • How can smart machines help community members share their joy and happiness with others?
  • How can smart machines improve sustainability by protecting the environment, providing clean energy, and supporting efficient local food systems? 
  • How can smart machines improve equity and fairness in our world related to gender, race, abilities, education, healthcare, and job opportunities? 

Your idea might be in a whole new category of compassion. There are no right or wrong answers in this process, let’s focus on being creative and empathetic. Design your ideas, draw them, construct them, or find ways to tell us about your thinking. You can look here to see ideas from past participants: IDC’22IDC’20.  

Challenge Phases & Submission

Phase 1 – Submission of children’s ideas

In Phase 1 of the Research & Design Challenge, children all over the world are invited to submit their initial ideas in response to the theme “Smart Communities”.

Submissions can be made by individuals or teams of students from a classroom, after-school program, club, maker space, or combinations from different schools, clubs, towns, or countries. There are two categories: 1) up to 12 years-old and 2) from 12 to 17 years-old. 

Each individual or team is invited to fill out a simple form with a brief description of their idea along with drawings, pictures or other forms that best express an initial impression of the idea. The ideas received will form the basis for the second phase of the Research & Design Challenge.

We accept submissions in any major language, although English is encouraged. To make non-English design ideas understandable for people around the world, we will use translation tools to also translate into English. Using clear and straightforward language will help avoid mistranslations.   

You can look here to see ideas from past participants: IDC’22IDC’20

Submit your idea here

Phase 2 – Submission of design concept – Adult Challenge (over 18 years-old)

In Phase 2, we invite researchers and designers to submit a design concept (i.e., prototypes, not actual artefacts) that responds to the same theme, “Smart Communities”, and builds on one or more of the ideas the children presented in Phase 1. Each submission should have the form of a 2-4 page summary (not including references) in CHI Extended Abstract format for the adult judges (the track chairs and expert reviewers), accompanied by a short 1-minute video (in MP4 format) that presents the concept to our child judges (think CHI teaser videos made for kids). You can also submit any supplementary material (e.g., drawings, sketches, photos) to explain your concept.

The submissions will be judged by the children who submitted their ideas on the basis of the videos, and by the adult jury, who will consider the paper and all other material.

We will select a sample of your submissions based on commonly recurring themes, unique perspectives and variations, and surprising design elements. We will then send the sample out to clever adult researchers and creative children, who will vote.

The three finalists in each category will be invited to present a prototype to the IDC audience during the conference.

Phase 2 Submission Template

  • Submission should not exceed 4 pages in length, excluding references. 
  • Submissions should use the single column ACM CHI Publication Format
  • Submissions should include the author(s) name and affiliation – in other words, they are not blind, but confidentiality will be maintained. 

Submit your ideas via the Precision Conference System (PCS) (Link will be updated soon)

For any questions, please contact the Research & Design Challenge committee: rdc-2023@idc.acm.org.

Important Dates

  • Phase 1: Child input for challenges open until – January 31, 2023
  • Phase 2: R & D Challenge starts –  21 February 2023
  • Phase 2: R & D Challenge open until – 04 April 2023 
  • Notifications to challenge finalists up to 25 April 2022
  • Camera-ready deadline on 2 May 2022
  • Presentation at the conference 29 – 30 June 2022

Call for Participation in PDF Version