Previous Lectures & Videos

Feb.26.2014 – Dr. Ben Shapiro

Principled Design of Online Learning Environments

Professor Shapiro will discuss the value-laden choices that researchers must confront in order to construct and study online environments for learning. These choices are both pedagogical (concerning the design of how people interact in order to teach and learn) and ethical (concerning both who benefits and who loses by different system designs, as well as how researchers should study online learning while respecting participants’ to informed consent and privacy). Using examples of current environments (including online games, crowd-sourcing systems, and MOOCs) as well as hypothetical future environments to show how these value-laden choices arise, can be made poorly or well, as well as could be resolved in design and research practices that value privacy, autonomy, and education as a mechanism to achieve social equality.

Jan.15.2014 – Ali Mazalek

Design for Creativity | Creative Designs

Abstract: Dr. Ali Mazalek has spent over 15 years trying to get digital technologies to fit better into her physical world and life, rather than letting them drag her into the pixelated depths of her computer screens.  At the same time, she has a deep interest in how computational media can support and enhance creative practices and processes, supporting new forms of expression and new ways of thinking and learning. Drawing from and building on theories of embodied cognition, she believes the key to design for creativity is in the way computational media can engage our minds and bodies together. In this talk, she’ll provide some perspectives on the emerging fields of tangible and embodied interaction, and highlight work from her lab that supports creativity  and expression across the physical and digital worlds, for art and  science disciplines alike.

Nov.11.2013 – Tom Furness

Cobwebs in a Virtual Brain

Over a career spanning 48 years, Prof. Furness has been exploring and developing technology for getting bandwidth to the brain and between brains.  His work has encompassed fighter cockpits, virtual reality, retinal displays, educational tools, medical simulators, pain, phobias, molecular modeling, scanning fiber endoscopes and entertainment systems.  This quest has been punctuated with side trips and ‘aha’ experiences that have led to unanticipated destinations. Dr. Furness plans to talk about lessons learned on his journey including unexpected delights…with an aim to inspire, entertain and challenge.

Oct.21.2013 – Rob Woodbury

Alternatives: A New Fundamental Structure for Computer-aided Design

It is beyond reasonable dispute that a central (if not the central) act of designing is to explore in a space of possibilities. Some call it search, some exploration or even sketching, but it is at the core. Designers make many representations on their way to a design that satisfies them. Along the way, even the notion of what will satisfy a situation can change. The iconic sketchbook, in pencil (or ink) remains the principal tool for exploration. In stark contrast, current computer aided design (CAD) tools provide little exploration support (though this is growing) especially in the academic literature. CAD provides relentless single-state systems that bias strongly to working with one model at a time, clever workarounds such as using layers for alternatives notwithstanding. Clearly we need a new way to interact with alternatives. We need tools  for multiple alternatives, rapid sketching and exploration over multiple visible, editable alternatives. We have built such a tool, which we call CAMBRIA (after the Cambrian explosion of life) and a language to support alternatives, which we call SHIRO (after spreading mycelium). In this talk I present design arguments for working with alternatives and show how CAMBRIA and SHIRO implement some of these ideas.

Sept.20.2013 – Eleni Stroulia

Smart Condo – A Sensing Platform and Evaluative Tool for Independent Living

Abstract: The anticipated increase in the world population, people’s desire to live at home for as long as possible and the shortage of health-care professionals make the need to develop technological supports for people with chronic yet manageable conditions to monitor and take care of their own health. In our work in the Smart Condo, we are developing a sensor-based infrastructure for non-intrusively monitoring people at home and analyzing the collected data to extract information about their activities. The inferred activities can be simulated in a virtual world (OpenSim) and visualized through a web-accessible interface. The platform is also equipped with a simulation component, which enables us to comparatively study alternative deployments. In this presentation, we review our technology and research methodology and we report on the findings of a first feasibility study with two participants at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital.