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.
My collaboration with the United Nations focuses on improving communication between civil stakeholders in developing countries.
Cornell & UNDEF Product Studio Project
Advised by UNDEF’s Deputy Executive Head for Programmes Mikiko Sawanishi, I am a member of a group of graduate students to represent Cornell Tech, addressing the challenge of “How might we improve communication among civic stakeholders in developing countries?”
The challenge is to contribute to global efforts in promoting democracy. The UNDEF believes that new ideas and approaches are needed to break traditional barriers and out-dated bureaucratic procedures.
Our team is a very diverse group of talents, including experienced project manager Jensen Daniel, professional tech businessman Juan C. Murillo, talented designer Xinyue Geng, and law expert Sabrina Salsabila. Together, we build on the current progress, analyze the strengths and weaknesses of of project management and support, and develop a solution to improve it.
We are in the early stage of actively developing this project. Stay tuned!
I was the first ever technical artist intern for Dreamhaven’s in-house game studio Moonshot Games. I collaborated on an unannounced project with a team of ex-Blizzard veteran artists and developers.
Moonshot Games - Unannounced Project
I collaborate closely with the other Technical Artists on the team and as well as other disciplines will establish and maintain a process that unlocks the creative potential for all involved.
My responsibilities include:
- Make tools in Maya and Houdini for creating art and helping Artists.
- Make graphs for VFX and Shaders.
- Collaborate and Communicate across departments.
- Evaluate Artists’ needs, and identify issues, to understand and support them.
- Document best practices and standards to ensure workflows and pipelines are shared and understood.
I am currently working on my double Master’s degrees at Cornell University, Information Systems and Applied Information Science. I was awarded a $30,000 Connective Media fellowship from the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech.
Cornell Tech 2022 Startup Award Finalist: TrackAir
I represent one of a small group of graduate students from Cornell Tech and compete in the Startup Nation in Israel Institute of Technology, along with multidisciplinary graduate researchers Jeanne Li, Jeries Saleh, Maroun Khriesh, and Bashar Khoury. Designers Forrest Mckinney and Tali Dokorchik from Wix helped us as the corporate collaborator to create our smart product “TrackAir” that raise the awareness of lung disease in developed and developing countries.
Partnering with pulmonary diseases experts Dr. Yaniv Dotan and Dr. Amir Bar-Shai, my team work 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.
TrackAir was nominated as one of the finalists for Cornell Tech’s most prestigious award, the Cornell Tech 2022 Startup Award. We presented our product at Cornell Tech’s annual Open Studio 2022 event, along with other finalists.
Zumtobel Group Award 2021 Winner: RhinoCircular
I co-developed a Rhino plugin “RhinoCircular” with Vesela Petrova that helps to calculate the rate of material circularity during the design phase of constructing buildings.
The abstract of 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.
RhinoCircular was nominated as the winner for Zumtobel Special Prize for Innovation in 2021.
Mixed Reality Heavy Machinery Prototyping
I work with Cornell Tech’s Future Automation Research Laboratory (FARLAB) on a project that uses cardboard and Hololens to make intractable objects that simulate heavy machinery with two very talented colleagues, Yifu Liu and Yuzhen Zhang. We are advised by Prof. Wendy Ju and David Goedicke.
We are actively developing a cardboard prototype of a Press Brake for Amada Co. Ltd. (株式会社天田) in Japan that can interface through visual markers and other sensors with Unity and an XR environment. Our goal is to provide adequate equipment training without danger of real-world equipments. Ultimately, this project would adapt to allow users to interact with any machinery that doesn’t exist yet. Our focus is on optimizing the congruence between the virtual machine and the cardboard representation.
Should be a lot of fun!
Smart Devices for Senior and Disabled Citizens
I served as a data science consultant for Carter Burden Network to understand how introducing technology like Amazon Echo and Alexa into senior citizens’ homes can improve their lives for their TechPals program. Almost all the seniors that participated in our research have physical and some mental disabilities, therefore voice activated assistants, if used correctly, may help them reach a higher life quality. I am all in for that.
This was one of the most comprehensive analyses done of any CBN projects.
Rina Desai, Director of Grants & Program Development at Carter Burden Network.
Grading Assistant: Applied Machine Learning
I was appointed by Dr. Volodymyr Kuleshov in the fall semester of 2022 as a grading assistant for CS 5787 - Applied Machine Learning.
Applied Machine Learning is one of the most popular machine learning courses in Cornell Tech. I am responsible for grading programming assignments as well as exams.
Course Assistant: Advanced Machine Learning Courses
I am working with Dr. Volodymyr Kuleshov to create two open online courses for machine learning:
- CS 5787 - Applied Machine Learning
- CS 6785 - Deep Probabilistic and Generative Models
The courses are scheduled to be initially released in mid 2022, with following progressive updates.
Volunteer Instructor: Internet Literacy Course for Senior Citizens
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.
A photo of me teaching the iOS Class at RI Senior Center. (Credit: Yulisa Santana)
University of Washington
I received a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Visual Art from the University of Washington in 2021. Throughout my study, I was very fortunate to get mentored by many master artists and passionate researchers.
Interdisciplinary Visual Arts
Fine Art: Works on Paper
Photo of me by Yukai Yan in front of the Allen Center at University of Washington, 2021.
I was mentored by Claire M. Cowie, Curt Labitzke, and Kim Van Someren. I graduated from University of Washington School of Art + Art History + Design with a 3.96 major GPA.
My primary field of study was works on paper. A wide range of traditional fine art techniques including relief printing, woodblock printing, etching, dry point, mono print, book art, and silk screen serigraphy. I also created works in non-printmaking mediums, including acrylic painting, watercolor, and computer animation.
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 also worked as one of the monitoring technicians for the IVA LINK Space, a studio space for students to work with different media.
Multiple works of mine were exhibited in various locations around the University of Washington 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.
Computer Animated Film: Dazzle! - The Juggling Clown
Collaborated with six other students, 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 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 accomplishments 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.
Virtual Reality Game: SuperFly
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.
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 15,000 copies at the time of writing. A playlist of real gameplay video from customers is also available.
Photo of me with colleagues mentioned above in the Reality Lab Incubator in 2019 by David Kessler.
Humanity & International Study
Research: Decolonization Meets Marginalization - Roma of Greece
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 Journal of Charisma Studies, University of Washington.
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.
Photo of one of the Roma residence research sites in Athens, 2019.
Study Abroad: English Literature in London
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 in London, 2018.
Computer Science & Engineering
Teaching Assistant: Introduction to Machine Learning
I was appointed as a TA for CSE/STAT 416: Introduction to Machine Learning at the University of Washington three times, a 400-level course for undergraduate and graduate students from all majors interested in problem solving and practical machine learning based on real-world scenario. I 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.
Hongjun is a great undergraduate TA for CSE 416. His machine learning fundamentals are strong, and he makes entertaining course content in the form of slides for section. Very passionate about teaching, and an asset to any course staff.
Vinitra Swamy, Instructor for CSE416 Summer 2020.
Research: Wind Tunnel Calibration for Aerodynamics Experiments
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.
Photo of the wing model that we used for wind tunnel testing in the UW Aeronautical lab, 2018.
Research: ML Tracking for Long-lived Particles and Dark Matter
While I was in Seattle, I also worked with Dr. Shih-Chieh Hsu on a project that used mass data generated by ATLAS from CERN to search for traces of long-life particle and dark matter using deep learning and CNN.
I visited 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.
Photo of me with the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) at CERN Large Hadron Collider, 2019.
Study Abroad: Engineering at Tohoku University
I exchanged to Tohoku University (東北大学) in Summer 2018, mentored by Dr. Fumio S. Ohuchi.
I visited the 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 at Tohoku University.
Polarized Neutron Spectrometer at J-PARC, 2018.
FIRST Robotics Competition
During 2014-2017, I was actively competing in the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC). I co-founded and co-led Team 4415, which not only pursued excellence on the competition field, but also fostered a strong community.
FIRST Robotics Competition 2017: Steamworks
In my fourth and final year of competing in FRC as student, I served as the CEO, CNC lead, and co-captain of the team.
We needed to build a robot that can shoot small plastic balls, pick up and place a gear-shaped object, and climb a rope.
This year’s prompt was the most difficult, as the team captain, I was involved in all the tasks in the development pipeline, including designing, modeling, manufacturing, and assembling the robot. I machined almost all the parts of the robot, including the complex ball shooter. This was the first time that we built a robot that is high performance and can accomplish every task in the challenge.
Closeup of the 2017 robot showcasing the manufacture quality. Image courtesy from team 4415.
When attending tournaments, I communicated with other captains, developed strategy, and made alliance picks during the quarter finals. It was a very challenging and rewarding season. Leading the team in competitions was the biggest highlight in my entire four years of competing in FRC as a student.
The 2017 bot climbing a rope at the end of a match. Image courtesy from team 4415.
We were semi-finalists in the Los Angeles regional, and won our first team award in the history, the “Team Spirit Award sponsored by FCA Foundation” at the Central Valley Regional.
Although not all matches have recording, this one was one of the most intense and well-fought matches we fought in that season.
FIRST Robotics Competition 2016: Stronghold
We were challenged with making a robot to breach all kinds of medieval style obstacles, and shoot a ball into a high goal.
Our 2016 bot could breach all the challenges except the low bar, due to the height of the robot is higher than the upper bar. We also developed an experimental ball shooter for the first time in the team’s history.
This was the year when we introduced the CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machine into the team, and I lead the CNC department for precise manufacturing. I milled most of the robot’s parts using CNC. Getting my shirts soaked with WD-40 was one of my highlights of the year.
The 2016 robot competing on the field. Image courtesy from team 4415.
2016 was a turning point year for our team, the team has grown to be more mature, and we had the resources to attempt the Chairman’s award for the first time.
We made ourselves into the quarter finals in Las Vegas regional. This year’s work paved foundations for many years to come.
FIRST Robotics Competition 2015: Recycle Rush
In 2015, the team was challenged with manipulating large totes and trash cans, stacking them on top of each other and collaborate with human players to insert pool noodles into the trash cans.
We developed a tall robot with a large claw to manipulate trashcans and fold-able wings to strategically grab all trashcans to our alliance’s side.
The robot readies up for autonomous period. Image courtesy from team 4415.
Our team grew in our second year and we were able to design and manufacture more complex parts, such as the fold-able trashcan grabber which spans almost 75% of the length of the field. This well-designed robot performed exceptionally well in high level matches. The ability to steal all the trashcans at the beginning of the match, which are the most important game elements, gave us an edge over opponent teams.
Closeup of the fold-able trashcan grabber. Image courtesy from team 4415.
We made ourselves into the semi finals in the Las Vegas regional, as well as quarter finals in Los Angeles regional. A steady improvement for year two.
FIRST Robotics Competition 2014: Aerial Assist
I was one of the founding members and CAD designers of Team 4415, a team based in Cerritos, California to compete in the FIRST Robotics Competition 2014 challenge.
The challenge involves loading, pickup, and shooting a large ball into a target, and pass the ball between robots and human players.
In our rookie year, the team developed a robot that operates pretty much like an ancient catapult, and it performed well. This was the first year we had a complete CAD model of the entire robot, we produced and manufactured all the parts in house.
Closeup of the robot. Image courtesy from team 4415.
We made ourselves into the quarter finals in the Los Angeles regional in our rookie year!
The robot shoots a blue ball at the goal in Los Angeles regional. Image courtesy from team 4415.