About

About

Hi there! I am Hongjun Wu (In Chinese, 吴泓骏), a New York based technical artist. Thanks for stopping by!

I work in many very different fields, traditional art such as painting and printmaking, all the way to cool tech like virtual reality and artificial intelligence.

I always try to make things that have a healthy blend of tech and art, and my goal is quite simple: If my stuff can help someone on earth have a happier day, I consider it a success.


The Present


Cornell Tech

I am currently a research assistant and a Master’s candidate at Cornell Tech for dual Master of Science degrees in Information Systems (with a concentration in Connective Media) and Applied Information Science.

I was awarded a merit-based scholarship from the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute.

RhinoCircular - Circular Construction Lab

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My research at Cornell AAP - Circular Construction Lab with Prof. Felix Heisel is all about creating sustainable architecture. I am working on a plugin for Rhino with Vesela Petrova that helps to calculate the rate of material circularity during the design phase of constructing buildings.

Our project is currently short-listed for the Zumtobel Special Prize for Innovation!

The abstract of our paper, RhinoCircular: Integrated Material and Construction Circularity Evaluation Tool for Early-design Phases, was accepted by SBE22 Berlin conference and we look forward presenting our work in Germany very soon.

The planet earth should be happy!

RhinoCircular A picture of the RhinoCircular interface.


Pulmonary Diseases Research - iTrek Technion

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I am one of a small group of graduate students to represent Cornell Tech and participate in the iTrek program in Technion.

Partnering with pulmonary diseases researchers Dr. Yaniv Dotan and Dr. Amir Bar-Shai, along with some other graduate students from multidisciplinary fields, we will be working on site in Israel at the Rambam Health Care Campus as well as Tel-Aviv Sourasky Medical Center to focus on solving problems related to air pollution metrics, air pollutants and health, lung pollutants, and lung health awareness.


TechPals - Carter Burden Network

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I help Carter Burden Network with data science to understand how introducing technology like Amazon Alexa into senior citizens’ homes can improve their lives. Almost all the seniors that participated in our research say they have physical disabilities, therefore voice activated assistants, if used correctly, may help them reach a higher life quality.

And I am all in for that.


Mixed Reality Prototyping for Heavy Machinery

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Under Prof. Wendy Ju and David Goedicke, I work on a very interesting project which uses cardboard to make intractable objects that simulate heavy machinery with two other graduate students, Yifu Liu and Yuzhen Zhang.

We are building a cardboard prototype of a Press Brake that can interface through visual markers and other sensors with Unity and an XR environment. Our focus is on optimizing the congruence between the virtual machine and the cardboard representation. Should be a lot of fun!


iOS Literacy Course - Roosevelt Island Senior Center

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I taught a web literacy course called “Get to Know iOS” every week at the Roosevelt Island Senior Center. My primary focus in teaching this class is helping seniors with their electronics, especially on how to use their iPhones.

Many seniors, although they acquired a smart phone from their children or relatives, little to nobody actually teach them how to use it. While to me, iPhone is very intuitive and easy to use, many seniors struggle with basic functions like making a phone call or sending an e-mail. Some seniors have the feeling that they are left out by the society, they are terrified to make mistakes like accidentally call someone, further increasing their barrier to learn.

I believe access to personal computing should be for everyone, regardless of their age. My mission is to break these tech barriers and help the seniors improve their life quality with smart devices.

iOS Class A photo of me teaching the iOS Class at RI Senior Center. (Credit: Yulisa Santana)



The Past


University of Washington

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My Photo Photo of me by Yukai Yan in front of the Allen Center at University of Washington, 2021.

Before moving to New York, I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a 3.96 major GPA at the University of Washington. I specialized in printmaking and computer art, and I was very fortunate to get mentored by many master artists and passionate researchers.

Interdisciplinary Visual Art

I pursued a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Visual Art while studying at the University of Washington School of Art + Art History + Design. I was mentored by Claire M. Cowie, Curt Labitzke, and Kim Van Someren.

My field of study was traditional printmaking, including relief printing, woodblock, etching, dry point, mono print, and silk screen serigraphy. I also created works in non-printmaking mediums, including acrylic painting, watercolor, computer animation, book craft, and others.

I was a founding member of UW Printmaking Association, a student ran organization that hosts visiting artist talks and organizes two yearly artwork sale for the school. I was also a volunteer monitoring technician for the UW IVA LINK Space, a studio space for students to work with different media.

Multiple works of mine were exhibited in various locations around the UW campus, as well as online exhibitions since the global pandemic in 2020. During the summer of 2020, we organized an online artwork sales for local artists and raised over $6,000 to support artists and organizations like FAB-5, to help provide free art opportunities to youth leaders in historically colored neighborhoods.


Dazzle! - The Juggling Clown

While I was working on my Animation Capstone at the UW Animation Research Labs I worked on an animated short directed by Jason Zayas, Alexander Xavier James, and Cody Wilcoxon.

I worked with six other students and together, we produced a short film called “Dazzle!”, an animated comedy about a clown going to audition at a circus and had a unexpected frenzy ride.

I lead the animation as well as hard surface modeling part of the production pipeline, while also involved heavily in tool development, rendering, and compositing. This animated short will be shown in film festivals in New York, Seattle, and other places.

One of the awesome accomplishment along the journey of production is the development of “Xwift”(Previously known as the “AnimKit”). A set of tools for Maya that are developed by me to tackle the challenges we encountered when producing the film remotely due to the pandemic.

Xwift Tools


Development of SuperFly VR - A Superhero Simulator

I was a founding member that developed SuperFly VR at the Allen School’s Reality Lab, a research project that was originally a study on motion sickness caused by different forms of movement in a VR that was later turned into a profitable superhero simulator game in virtual reality.

SuperFly VR was co-developed with some great humans like Rory Soiffer, John Akers, Yuanyuan Christie Zhao, Nini Le, Terrell Strong, and others.

As one of the game artists, I was involved since the start of the project, and in October 2020, after almost a year’s development, we launched the game onto Steam, itch.io, and Vive Port.

Our efforts to turn an idea into a profitable project was successful - multiple YouTubers made videos about it that was watched as high as 4 million for a single video, the game was rated “Very Positive” on Steam, we sold over 8,000 copies at the time of writing. A playlist of real gameplay video from customers is also available.

Incubator Photo Photo of me with colleagues mentioned above in the Reality Lab Incubator in 2019 by David Kessler.


Teaching Assistantship for Machine Learning

Since Spring 2019, I have been appointed as a TA for the CSE/STAT 416: Introduction to Machine Learning course offered at the University of Washington.

CSE416 is a 400-level course for undergraduate and graduate students from all majors interested in problem solving, and teaches practical machine learning based on real-world scenario. I helped assisted three successful quarters for Dr. Sewoong Oh, Dr. Valentina Staneva, and Dr. Vinitra Swamy, amid the global pandemic.

Aside from usual duties like teaching weekly sections, hosting office hours, and grading assignments, I also co-developed multiple programming assignments, created novice-friendly slides for my quiz sections, as well as wrote some problems for the final exam. I received an evaluation of 4.9/5 from my students, as well as all “Excellent” ratings from all the instructors.

Hongjun is a devoted TA always willing to explain complex Machine Learning concepts in a simple and intuitive way and to support the students in their journey. He worked on par with the graduate TAs, and provided both his student and teaching assistant perspective on how to handle remote teaching. He created exemplary educational materials which can be used in future iterations of the course. It was pleasure to work with him!

Dr. Valentina Staneva, Instructor for CSE416 Spring 2020.


Research in Aircraft Icing and Aerodynamics

I spent two years working on research aiding the research in how ice formed on wings would affect the performance of the aircraft at Aircraft Icing & Aerodynamics Research Group.

I was supervised by Dean Dr. Michael Bragg and Dr. Christopher Lum, and was mentored by Dr. Mohammad Reza Soltani. Over the two years, I independently developed a complex open-source control system (Repository) for calibrating pieces of equipment for testing at the UW Kirsten Wind Tunnel.

AIARG Photo of the wing model that we used for wind tunnel testing in the UW Aeronautical lab, 2018.


Tohoku University - Engineering

I was an exchange student in engineering at Tohoku University in 2018, mentored by Dr. Fumio S. Ohuchi. I also visited Japan Proton Accelerator Research Complex (J-PARC), which is the frontier of nuclear research in Japan.

I conducted experiments on topics such as aerodynamics, electromagnetism, and wave physics, and visited some of the labs at Tohoku University that perform state-of-the-art research in engineering.

Through guest lectures that was instructed by some of the most knowledgeable professors, I learned about many fields of engineering as well as the Japanese culture.

J-PARC Polarized Neutron Spectrometer at J-PARC, 2018.

University of Washington UK Division - English Literaturre

The University of Washington’s United Kingdom Division hosted my study in Literature. Mentored by professional book author Peter Buckroyd and professor Dr. William Streitberger.

My research was mainly on the book Brick Lane, a book by Monica Ali. In this book, Ali discussed about the life of a Bangladeshi immigrant in London. I followed Ali’s steps to Brick Lane and studied what challenges a new immigrant would face in London, as well as their living conditions.

Brick Lane Brick Lane in London, 2018.

Harvard Center of Hellenic Studies - Ethnography

During the summer of 2019, I conducted ethnographic field work in Athens and Nafplion, led by Dr. Taso G. Lagos and Dr. Nektaria Klapaki. Our study was on the modern situation of the Roma people in Greece, a group of poor and often marginalized and discriminated people in the Greek society.

Our findings, “Decolonization Meets Marginalization: Roma of Greece, Autoethnography and Academic Journalism as ‘Social Justice,’” (Abstract) is currently under review for publish at the University of California Press.

We were hosted by American College of Greece and Harvard Center of Hellenic Studies. I visited the Roma settlements, talked with their tribe leaders, and conducted over 50 interviews with random pedestrians from different parts of Athens about their understanding of the Roma. I then analyzed over 500 interviews we conducted with my research group including Yash Singh, Andrew Pace, Erik Levi Stone, Hongyi Yan, and Shayla Forbes-Luong when I went back to Seattle.

Roma Site Photo of one of the Roma residence research sites in Athens, 2019.

EPFL - Electrical Engineering

I studied electrical engineering as an exchange student at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) with Dr. Karl F. Böhringer and Dr. Zheyi Han in Switzerland.

I was extremely fortunate to visit the ATLAS and CMS detector at CERN, the Compact Muon Solenoid node for the large hadron collider during their maintenance period, as well as the CERN Data Centre. It was an eye-opening experience, and surely an accomplishment of how far humans can do with our current knowledge in science and engineering.

CMS Photo of me with the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) at CERN Large Hadron Collider, 2019.


High School

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Valley Christian High School

When I was 14, my parents decided to send me to the United States for high school. I studied at Valley Christian High School in Cerritos, California. I was loved and supported by my host families and teachers, and I could not be more thankful for everyone that helped and cared for me when I was adapting to the new environment.

Aside from robotics, I founded and chaired the Swift iOS Coding Club, and was a representative in the Model United Nations. I graduated from VCHS with a weighted 4.0 GPA and NHS honors in 2017.

FIRST Robotics Competition Team 4415

I was one of the founding members of a small group of students when we started Team 4415 and competed in the FIRST Robotics Competition in 2014.

I started as a CAD designer, transitioned to the lead of the CNC department, and finally became the CEO of the team and led the team in 2017.

We competed in annual regional competitions in Los Angeles, Orange County, Las Vegas, and Central Valley. When I led the team in 2017, we not only had an epic fight with Team 330 in Los Angeles Regional, we also were the recipient of the Team Spirit Award in Central Valley Regional.

I was mentored by Dalbert Brandon, Paul Devries, Ginger Devries, Carol DeBoer, Rob Dominik, Jim Dekker, Don Long, William Furlong, Charles Aardema, Kyle Fleming, Kyle J. Dominguez, Mark Edlin, Jerry Stratton, Dan Rupprecht, Paul Schroeder, David Fieldhouse, Tesfa Ghebreyesus, and Febien Ghebreyesus.

FRC Robots Photo of all the robots I built with team 4415 in FIRST Robotics Competition from 2014-2017.

Aquinas High School

I also spent several months in Aquinas High School in San Brandino, California.


Early Years

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I was designed and manufactured in Zhuhai, Guangdong, China, back in 1998.

Co engineered by two brilliant financial managers, I had little interest in economics, which was unfortunate. But I did won the prize of the baby who cried the loudest after birth in the hospital’s history, which surely is some sort of accomplishment on day 1.