The National Science Foundation (NSF) just announced the 2011 NSF Graduate Research Fellowships, three-year research awards, and HCDE graduate students Alexis Hope and John Porter were among those offered awards as part of the program. Congratulations to Alexis and John!
Alexis Hope's application proposed a research process for designing in-context instructional software for diagnostic ultrasound in order to approximate the expertise and guidance of a skilled radiologist when one might not be present (e.g., developing world, remote village context).
John Porter's proposed research project is building a context-aware natural language processing system for use in robotics, personal computing, or even assistive technology applications. Regarding his research, Porter explained, "The basic idea is that current speech recognition systems can do a decent job of figuring out the words that a user speaks, and that's great if all you want to do is speech-to-text and not much else. If you want to use language as a truly natural UI avenue, though, the system has to be able to "fill in the blanks" of casual, colloquial speech by understanding implicit meaning and context." Porter is planning to build a custom proof-of-concept robot that will use different types of sensor data (from cameras, RFID scanners etc.) to develop a contextual knowledge of the world around it and use that information to better interpret natural language directions given to it by a user.
Hope plans to use one year of funding while still an MS student at HCDE and then use the remaining two years of funding after entering a PhD program in the field. A senior in the HCDE undergraduate program, Porter will be entering HCDE's PhD program in the Fall.