HCDE at Undergraduate Research Symposium

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Undergraduate Research Symposium PosterThe department of Human Centered Design & Engineering has 16 students and faculty members represented across eight research projects in the University of Washington's 20th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium, happening May 19, 2017.

The Undergraduate Research Symposium is a chance for undergraduate students to present their research to a larger audience. It also provides a forum for students, faculty, and the community to discuss cutting edge research topics and to examine the connection between research and education. The event includes poster and presentation sessions by students from all academic disciplines and all three UW campuses, plus invited guests.

Find presentation details by HCDE students below, and the full 2017 Undergraduate Research Program, here.

11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Poster Session 1 // Commons East // Easel #65

A standard QWERTY keyboard for text entry may not be suitable for people with mobility related disabilities. As such, people with mobility related disabilities may need to find alternative ways to input text. Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) is a field that researches and develops communication methods for people with complex communication needs. The AAC field studies technological solutions and its social implications. Strategic competence is an area of AAC research that focuses on managing the functional constraints of AAC devices such as text entry speed and input accuracy. Social competence is another area of AAC research that focuses on establishing and maintaining interpersonal communication. The ability to effectively communicate emotion plays a large role in one’s social competence. An ideal alternative text entry input system should not only consider strategic competence, but also the social competence. This research will survey existing alternative text entry systems and how emotion is conveyed through standard text/text related systems. The results from both surveys will be synthesized to inform an investigation of new methods for facilitating the communication of emotion through alternative text entry systems. I anticipate discovering new methods of conveying emotion through alternative text entry systems.

Poster Session 1 // Commons West // Easel #39

Self-Transcendence (ST) is closely related to spirituality and has gained increasing popularity among populations such as Americans. ST refers to a state where an individual experiences meaning and communion from surpassing their self-ego and boundary. Strong evidence of ST’s positive effect on an individual’s life has been found in literature across disciplines. Despite its importance and popularity, research in this topic has remained rather silent in the design community. In this paper, we used the research through design methodology and constructed a framework (collect, filter, analyze) to help understand ST experience through the study of solo travelers. Solo travelers were found to have ample opportunities to reflect, especially outside of themselves, and thus studying solo travelers provided us with a platform to understand ST experiences.


12:30 – 2:15 p.m.

Session 1R: Computer Science: Distributed Systems, Verification, Security and HCI // JHN 111

Additive manufacturing - the process behind 3D printing - has been growing in widespread use since the introduction of the first commercially-available desktop printer and later improvements in cost, quality, and accessibility. Expanding horizontally and vertically in the global market, the 3D printing industry has been one that not only appeals to hobbyists, but has demonstrated potential as a solution to a variety of challenges faced around the world today, including those in biotechnology, aerospace, and industrial engineering. Seeking to take advantage of the increasing demands in 3D printing technologies, a number of companies and open-source organizations are offering new types of 3D printers and associated software. However, the rapid growth and diversity of the products being released have resulted in a loss of universal standards. Often indented to be accessible and reliable regardless of a user’s technical background, 3D printing technologies have been known to require consumers to learn the more technical aspects of their printer, G-Code, slicing software, materials, etc. in order to configure their overall setup and reduce the prevalence of errors. Our project aims at using advanced parsing strategies, program optimization, and statistical analysis to provide a universal, easy-to-use tool that both analyzes and optimizes G-Code files prior to printing. By automating the common fixes users are required to implement in their G-Code files and identifying common factors in 3D prints (material warping, inadequate temperatures, speed of extruder heads, etc.), this tool is intended to be usable for any consumer, regardless of engineering or design experience. Ultimately, our goal is to help provide a universal solution to the lack of consistency between products, and help leverage the promising field of 3D printing to reach its potential as both a home essential and reliable solution in fields such as biotechnology and industrial engineering.


1 – 2:30 p.m.

Poster Session 2 // Commons West // Easel #2

Misinformation is a large component of social media. Sometimes, misinformation increases during times of uncertainty and panic, such as during crisis events. By collecting Twitter data from events such as the Boston Marathon Bombings, Paris Terror Attacks, and a WestJet Airlines Hijacking, it became apparent that thousands of individuals turn to social media as a real-time news source. First, data from public Twitter profiles was collected during major crisis events. After collecting the data, it was qualitatively coded based off a scheme pertaining to rumor acknowledgement. Next, individual Twitter users were contacted to participate in a semi-structured interview centered around their social media use habits. Through interviewing individuals who participated in the online conversation, data shows that there are emotional feelings related to online rumoring. This research aims to identify different ways misinformation is handled on Twitter and explore a new idea, "emotional proximity." Implications of this research include a deeper understanding of how information travels online during crisis events, and the emotional influence social media has on individuals during drastic times.

Poster Session 2 // Commons West // Easel #13

Video games are seldom used for environmental science education, despite the variety of compelling lessons that they could be used to teach. We designed, built and tested a video game about the effects of climate change on a charismatic local animal, the pika. Native to North America and Asia, pikas are sensitive to changes in climate because they are covered with thick fur and get heat stroke even under modest temperatures (77 °F). Pikas have to gather food throughout the summer, enough for them to make it through the long winter in their burrows. When temperatures warm, pikas do not have as much time to forage for food during their day. We decided to take these ideas and turn it into the major mechanics of a game that we developed. The resulting project, Life of Pika, is a runner game in which players need to collect flowers to survive while managing their temperature to avoid overheating. We have taken inspiration from other runner games such as Frogger, Crossy Road, and Sonic the Hedgehog, but this game is unique in that player vulnerability centers around their temperature bar, rather than around avoiding obstacles. The game is divided into seven levels to represent the pika’s seven year lifespan. As one advances from level to level we make the game progressively harder by increasing the rate at which the player’s temperature increases to simulate increasing global temperatures. Developed with industry-standard software for implementation in classroom and museum settings, we aim to promote empathy in the player about the pikas’ struggle against climate change. We hope that players will become more thoughtful about their impact on the world and its inhabitants.

Poster Session 2 // Commons West // Easel #1

This research examines the politicized conversation around officer-involved shootings. Drawing on a dataset of shooting-related tweets containing #blacklivesmatter, #bluelivesmatter or #alllivesmatter, we construct a network graph of Twitter users who participated in this conversation, utilizing a measure of shared audience to connect and cluster accounts into communities. We then employed mixed-methods, including visual and qualitative analysis, to explore the communities, influencers, and information flows of this discourse. Our findings identify and describe several distinct clusters of accounts—both left- and right-leaning clusters, including a cluster of alt-right media—and show how users within the latter cluster were significant in shaping the flow of discourse. We situate our findings within the broader context of competing political narratives leading up to the 2016 presidential election. This work provides insight into the underlying structure of politicized discourse on Twitter, and demonstrates the utility of a shared audience network relation for guiding interpretivist analysis of Twitter conversations.


4 – 6 p.m.

Poster Session 4 // Commons East // Easel #47

Teaching undergraduate engineering students about the design process can be a difficult task yet is a critical part of an engineering education. A common method for design teaching involves the use of prescriptive design models, processes, and diagrams that indicate how one “should” do design. In this study we looked at student insights about design through the use of descriptive models, rather than prescriptive models. We question how engaging students in research data about design and descriptive models can be used as a teaching methodology that allow students to draw conclusions and further inform their design learning. In this study, 90 undergraduate engineering students from two different courses participate in a design activity. This activity engages students with descriptive visual data of first year and senior student design processes. Throughout the activity, students fill out a paper worksheet with 6 open response questions. A subset of 30 worksheets were randomly selected for preliminary analysis. Three researchers qualitatively coded the 6 questions for student insights in a grounded bottom up manner and a code book of student insights were developed. These codes were generated through iterative individual coding and group discussions between the three researchers. These qualitative codes have been applied in future work (outside the scope of this project) to the remainder of the student worksheets. The poster presentation displays the core results of student insight codes, preliminary conclusions, and our research process. However, this research is still an ongoing project. From this study we better understand how students can learn design from an activity that actively engages them in research data about design.


View all projects at the 2017 Undergraduate Research Symposium on May 19 from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. in Mary Gates Hall on the UW Seattle campus.