UMSI team wins CHI 2014 Student Design Competition

2014 CHI student design competition winners. Top to bottom:
Mengdi Zhang, Shi Pu, Kritika Versha, Jianqi Xing and Joyce Sakata.

A team of UMSI students took first place in the Student Design Competition (SDC) at the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), and four other UMSI groups were named finalists in CHI competitions.

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 2014 was held April 26-May 1 in Toronto, Ontario.

Master’s students Joyce Sakata, Mengdi Zhang, Kritika Versha, Jianqi Xing, and Shi Pu received the top SDC prize for their project, “Beam: A Mobile Application to Improve Happiness and Mental Health.” The application uses random acts of kindness to analyze and improve the mental health of its users.

The concept for the Beam application was developed through a user-centered design process that included contextual inquiry, surveys, low and high-fidelity prototypes, and usability testing. Through its research, the group found that users had a tendency to be pessimistic and concentrate on stress and negative thoughts.  

The students applied a combination of theory and design to their research findings to develop the application with a goal of encouraging users to focus on positive action and self-reflection, which could influence users to become more optimistic and improve individual mental health in the process.

Only 12 projects were chosen as SDC finalists. In addition to the Beam project, three other UMSI student projects were selected as finalists in this category:

  • “DAYA: A System for Monitoring and Enhancing Children’s Oral Hygiene,” developed by team members Kejia Shao, Jiye Huang, Huaying Song, Runze Li, and Jinxi Wu.
  • “Nuwa: Enhancing the pregnancy experience for expectant parents,” created by  team members Yuan Gao, Yu-Hsuan Lin, Xin Liu, and Xinying Li.
  • “InnoMotion: A Web-Based Rehabilitation System Helping Patients Recover and Gain Self-Awareness of their Body Away from the Clinic,” developed by team members Luxi Chen, Ni Yan, Miranda Kiang, Anna S. Muth, and Kruthi Krishna.

Another UMSI project, “Chorlody: A Music Learning Game,” was selected as a finalist in CHI 2014’s Student Game Competition. This application to help music learners develop abilities in recognizing chord progressions was created by master’s students Yang Liu, Ni Yan, and Dili Hu.

Some of these projects received prior accolades at expoSItion, the annual UMSI student showcase held in late March. DAYA was voted the best overall project presentation and Chorlody received an honorable for mention for overall presentation. Nuwa won first place in expoSItion’s Technology/Design category.

Posted on May 2, 2014