Three UMSI teams named CHI competition finalists

Three teams of UMSI students have been selected as finalists for the Student Design Competition at the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI).

CHI has been held every year since 1982 and is considered one of the most prestigious academic conferences in the field of human-computer interaction, drawing international attendees including students, faculty, and industry experts. CHI 2015 will be held April 18-23 in Seoul, South Korea. 

This is the 13th year of the CHI Student Design Competition, which provides students from a variety of design backgrounds the opportunity to demonstrate their problem solving and design skills in an international competition against their peers.

The theme of this year's Student Design Competition is "Appropriating Technologies for New Cultures.” Student teams were asked to design a product, application, technology, or service that enables new and completely unexplored user groups in any country to adopt the technologies around them. The projects must solve real problems and empower people in a unique way.

Each team is required to submit a short paper summarizing the design solution and its evolution, a poster, and a video that uses scenarios to illustrate how the solution fits the lives of the users. A maximum of 12 submissions are selected as finalists. Submissions are reviewed by both academic and professional design and usability experts.

The UMSI teams and projects chosen as finalists for the CHI Student Design Competition are as follows:

Sleepstellar: A Safety Kit and Digital Storyteller for Sleepwalkers

Sleepstellar team members, from left: Jashanjit Kaur, Shengjie Zhang, Niyati Gupta, Nehal Molasaria. Not pictured: Wei Wang

Sleepwalking affects 2-4 percent of adults and can lead to potentially dangerous incidents, as well as social embarrassment. This team interviewed sleepwalkers and sleep disorder experts, and investigated sleepwalking forums to understand the characteristics of the issue.

The Sleepstellar safety kit provides the user with customized RFID stickers to put on potentially harmful places (like a staircase or kitchen stove) and connects them to a sleep-tracking wearable alarm that notifies the user when he or she gets close to the RFID sticker. The accompanying mobile app tracks sleepwalking patterns and provides a platform for sleepwalkers to share their individual stories to encourage public engagement and lessen feelings of embarrassment.

To learn more, click here to watch a video about the Sleepstellar project.


Minowe: Am I Native Enough? Exploring American Indian Identity through Language Learning

Minowe team members, from left: Mallory Anderson, Abhishek Dewan, Sofia Gutierrez, Ram Kumarasubramanian. Not pictured: Jumana Almahmoud.

Minowe is an online community dedicated to teaching and learning Ojibwe, an American Indian language. Consisting of a website and mobile application, Minowe’s goal is to enable certain groups of American Indians to better connect with their communities.

The Minowe project utilizes prior research in language education, emphasizing situation-based learning and facilitating comprehension by connecting fluent speakers and non-speakers via video chat. Minowe encourages further collaboration by incorporating user-generated vocabulary into future lessons and activities. 

Click here for a video with more information about the Minowe project.


Rice Paper: Enabling Context for Traditional Chinese Painting

Rice Paper team members, from left: Yuncheng Shen and Hariharan Subramonyam. Not pictured: Samantha Jones.

Chinese paintings are deeply rooted in cultural context. However, outside of Chinese culture, the uniqueness, meaning, and value of these paintings is largely lost. This team’s design helps bridge the cultural disconnect between the creators of traditional Chinese paintings and non-Chinese viewers.

Rice Paper uses an iPad application to facilitate the sharing of large quantities of artistic context for traditional Chinese paintings in the form of tangible, printed booklets, making the cultural context that breathes life into a Chinese painting more accessible to a wider audience.

Click here to watch a video about the Rice Paper project.

In 2014, a team from UMSI won the competition with their project “Beam: A Mobile Application to Improve Happiness and Mental Health.”

Posted February 10, 2015