Thank you for applying to a technical position at MannLab and/or Steve Mann's University of Toronto HI lab or HII (Humanistic Intelligence Initiative).

At MannLab, we build ethical technology to positively invent and shape the future of humanity. This requires well developed technical skills. We are a multidisciplinary team with some broad hackers who can excel in many areas, and some makers who are more specialized and deep in one or two areas. Intelligence and talent are prerequisites to excelling in the lab, but they are only the raw ingredients for engineering skills. What we need to see is how you have utilized these raw ingredients to develop real-world, applied, technical skills. Show us the area or areas in which you have honed your abilities, which can only be done by building projects, making things that work, and moving from an initial mental vision to a prototype/design that users can interact with. Thus, we want you to demonstrate your skills by showing off things that you have made.

Deliverable (what you should respond to this email/phone-call/message with)

  1. Show us 3 personal (*not* school or employer) projects in the form of video demonstration, computer code, pictures, documentation, etc. Show us what the project is and how *you* built it. Use this to show off *your* skills with tangible examples.
  2. If you like CAD, 3D printing, making, etc., write some g-code showing proper use of g2 and g3 calls to generate concentric circlar arcs like this (link) (to run on our mechanical milling machine) or this (link) (to run on our CNC mill to which an RGB LED has been affixed for long-exposure photography as in this paper (link) on human eye as a camera) and send it to us to evaluate. Include well-documented variables at the beginning of the g-code for number of circles, size of rectantular area, and the location of the center (which is typically outside of the rectantular area).
  3. If computer programming is your thing, provide us with a very brief explanation of how you use a CLI (Linux/Unix (preferred), cmd, powershell) to interface with your computer every day. A quick mention of your most common commands (and how you use them), favorite pipeline(s), or most used Bash alias(es) is great. Of course, don't just tell us about day 1 commands like `cd` and `ls`. If you do use a CLI daily but are lost for examples, try running:
    `history | awk '{print $2}' | sort | uniq`
    for a sorted list of most recent commands. If you don't use the terminal, that's fine, just let us know.

A note on GUI

At MannLab, we believe that GUI exists in an uncanny valley between CLI and NUI:

The premise is that anyone who can't program CLI is generally unable to understand or use computing at a fundamental scientific level. They'd make a good data entry clerk, but we don't think it is possible to fundamentally understand computing without understanding CLI.

There's a natural progression (see NUI diagram) in which GUI is, we believe, the uncanny valley.

History: Evolution of user interfaces

In the 1990s, Steve Mann developed a number of user-interface strategies using natural interaction with the real world as an alternative to a command-line interface (CLI) or graphical user interface (GUI). Mann referred to this work as "natural user interfaces", "Direct User Interfaces", and "metaphor-free computing".[2] Mann's EyeTap technology typically embodies an example of a natural user interface. Mann's use of the word "Natural" refers to both action that comes naturally to human users, as well as the use of nature itself, i.e. physics (Natural Philosophy), and the natural environment. A good example of an NUI in both these senses is the hydraulophone, especially when it is used as an input device, in which touching a natural element (water) becomes a way of inputting data. More generally, a class of musical instruments called "physiphones", so-named from the Greek words "physika", "physikos" (nature) and "phone" (sound) have also been proposed as "Nature-based user interfaces".[3]