Liang He Passes General Exam

Jon E. Froehlich Dec 18, 2020

Announcing Liang He, PhD Candidate! Liang He successfully passed his General Exam entitled Interactive Design Tools and Techniques for Augmented 3D Printable Behaviors. His talk and accompanying slides were beautifully designed and thoughtfully captured his vision for enabling designers and DIY makers to more easily prototype and fabricate interactive 3D printable forms.

Congrats Liang!

A screenshot of one of Liang He's general exam slides that says "My Research: Making 3D Printable Mechanical Behaviors" and enumerates benefits of his approach


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Dhruv Jain Passes General Exam

Jon E. Froehlich Dec 11, 2020

It's my pleasure to announce that Dhruv Jain passed his General Exam entitled Sound Sensing & Feedback Techniques for d/Deaf & Hard of Hearing Users: A Dissertation Proposal. His dissertation work was thoughtfully presented, well rehearsed, and even included two live demos (of HomeSound and of SoundWatch). Congrats DJ!

Thanks also to the wonderful committee, including co-chair Professor Findlater and fellow committee members Professors Mankoff, Ladner, Wobbrock, and Bigham—literally an all-star cast of HCI+accessibility experts.

You can download the slides here or watch the whole thing on YouTube!

A few screenshots of the talk (all but the presenter + interpreters had video off):

An image showing the introductory screen to the HomeSound demo

Image shows DJ holding an Android watch running the SoundWatch app, which has inferred that speech is inferring around him and shows this on the display


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Announcing Dr. Seokbin Kang

Jon E. Froehlich Nov 10, 2020

Announcing Dr. Seokbin Kang—Seokbin successfully defended his PhD dissertation entitled Augmented Reality Systems and USer Interaction Techniques for STEM Learning." Seokbin is my last UMD CS advisee and it was an enormous honor working with him.

Thanks also to the amazing commitee, which included Professors David Jacobs, Tamara Clegg, Huaishu Peng, and David Weintrop.


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SoundWatch Wins Best Artifact Award at ASSETS

Jon E. Froehlich Oct 29, 2020

Members of the newly launched UW CREATE accessibility center won all three top awards at ASSETS2020—the top publication venue in accessibility research—including Best Artifact for our SoundWatch work, Best Paper awarded to Professor Leah Findlater and her PhD student Lotus Zhang, Best Student Paper awarded to PhD student Megan Hofmann and colleagues (including her advisor and CREATE co-director Jennifer Mankoff). Congrats all!

Relatedly, Sarah McQuate wrote a lovely article on our SoundWatch work—check it out!



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Manaswi Saha Honored with Google PhD Fellowship

Jon E. Froehlich Oct 07, 2020

We are incredibly excited and proud of PhD student Manaswi Saha, who was just honored with the 2020 Google PhD Fellowship for her work on Project Sidewalk and urban accessibility. Congrats Manaswi on this well-deserved recognition for your important work.

An excerpt of the official blurb from the Allen School News website:

Saha, who is one of 53 students throughout the world to be selected for a Google Fellowship, will use those tools to fill an informational gap between citizens and the local government and stakeholders showing where improvements in sidewalks need to be made to make them accessible to all. 

“Since the beginning of my academic career, my research interests have been towards socially impactful projects. Public service, especially for underrepresented communities, runs in my family,” Saha said. “The driving force for the work I do stems from my role model, my father, who dedicated his life towards rural and agricultural development in India. His selfless efforts inspired me to explore how technology can be used for the betterment of society. With this goal in mind, I set out to do my Ph.D. with a focus on high-value social problems.”

Saha works with Froehlich in the Makeability Lab on one of its flagship ventures, Project Sidewalk. The project has two goals: to develop and study data collection methods for acquiring street-level accessibility information using crowdsourcing, machine learning, and online map imagery and to design and develop navigation and map tools for accessibility.

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CSCW2020 Paper on "Urban Accessibility as a Socio-Political Problem" Accepted!

Jon E. Froehlich Aug 04, 2020

CSCW2020 June submission results were just released (link), and we were incredibly excited to find out that our paper entitled "Urban Accessibility as a Socio-Political Problem: A Multi-Stakeholder Analysis" was accepted with minor revisions. Of the 593 submissions, only 47 were chosen for 'Minor Revision' (7.9%) and 273 for 'Major Revisions' (46.0%). 

Through semi-structured interviews with five stakeholder groups, we examine the socio-political challenges surrounding accessible infrastructure development. The paper has some important findings around policy making, gentrification, and urban development tensions related to accessibility and extends and complements our broader research in this area (e.g., Project Sidewalk).

Congrats to lead PhD student Manaswi Saha and the rest of the team!

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ISWC 2020 Paper on "Field Study of a Tactile Device" Accepted!

Jon E. Froehlich Aug 04, 2020

We just heard that our paper on "Field Study of a Tactile Sound Awareness Device for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Users" was accepted as a 2-page ISWC Brief!

This work was a collaboration between Makeabilty Lab and DJ's previous school MIT Media Lab, and reports on important findings related to use of wearable tactile technology for 'experiential' sound awareness, self-awareness, the impact on presence, and long-term behavior.

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Liang He Accepted into UIST2020 Doctoral Symposium

Jon E. Froehlich Jul 29, 2020

PhD student Liang He was just accepted into the UIST2020 Doctoral Symposium for his dissertation work entitled "Designing, Controlling, and Fabricating On-Demand Structures." Congrats Liang!

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SoundWatch and Navigating Grad School with a Disability Accepted to ASSETS'20

Jon E. Froehlich Jul 22, 2020

We just received news that two of Dhruv Jain's first-authored submissions were accepted to ASSETS'20—an amazing accomplishment. Importantly, the work itself is impactful and diverse. Congrats DJ and all collaborators! The papers are linked below:

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Four Makeability Lab Ugrads Accepted to BS/MS Program

Jon E. Froehlich Jul 15, 2020

We just received some wonderful news: four Makeability Lab undergraduate research assistants were accepted into the Allen School's BS/MS program. Congratulations to Hung Ngo, who is working on our SoundWatch project; Greg Guo and Robin Yang, who are working on advancing augmented reality for deaf and hard of hearing users; and Aileen Zeng who has been a major contributor to the Project Sidewalk initative. 

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