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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High School Research Assistant Naomi Bashkansky Named Coolidge Senator

Jon E. Froehlich Jun 22, 2020

Makeability Lab high school research assistant extraordinaire Naomi Bashkansky named Coolidge Senator—a tremendous honor: only 100 of 3,400 applicants received this award. Coolidge Senators receive a one-time $1,000 college scholarship and are invited to take part in an all-expenses-paid trip to the annual Coolidge Senators Summit in Washington, D.C. 

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The Makeability Lab Stands in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter

Jon E. Froehlich Jun 02, 2020

We are experiencing a historic moment: a worldwide pandemic, record-breaking unemployment rates, glaringly anti-education and anti-immigration rhetoric and policies from the White House (link), and now, protests and rightful anger about the unjust death of George Floyd and the systemic racism that plagues the US.

The Makeability Lab stands with the Black and African-American communities. We must all work together to combat the hate and racism and the social and economic injustices in our society. We must hold each other accountable—from our friends to our family members to our institutions. We must do more.

As an educator, as a father, and as a human, I am morally obligated and emotionally bound to proactively fight for a better future and help positively shape society.

I will use my privilege to fight. 


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CREATE Center Launches!

Jon E. Froehlich May 28, 2020

We are incredibly excited to announce the launch of the Center for Research and Education on Accessible Technology and Experiences (CREATE), which is fueled by a generous $2.5 million investment from Microsoft and helps amplify and unite UW's strength and leadership in accessibility research, education, and translation. The Makeability Lab is a co-founding member and Professor Froehlich is co-founding associate director. 

Read more here.

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