GVU/ IPaT Research and Engagement Seed Grants

Each year, the GVU Center provides seed grants, with funding support from IPaT, to research initiatives committed to building on our success in interdisciplinary research and innovation in the human experience of computing.

Research Grants provide seed funding to conduct interdisciplinary research. The objective of the Research Grant program is to promote research activities involving faculty and students from the many disciplines represented in the GVU Center. Engagement Grants are designed to foster new sorts of engagements and collaboration, whether internally or externally.

2013 GVU/IPaT Research and Engagement Grants

Implementation and Assessment of One-Bus Away Atlanta

Kari Watkins, School of Civic and Environmental Engineering 
Russ Clark, School of Computer Science

Transit provides mobility to those who cannot or prefer not to drive, including access to jobs, education and medical services.  Transit reduces congestion, gasoline consumption and the nation’s carbon footprint.   However, from a customer perspective, a mobility choice is only a choice if it is fast, comfortable and reliable.  One inexpensive way to combat unreliability from the user perspective is real-time transit information. 

The OneBusAway transit traveler information system was originally developed at the University of Washington by Dr. Brian Ferris, Dr. Kari Watkins, and Dr. Alan Borning to provide real-time bus arrival information for riders in greater Seattle-Tacoma. OneBusAway is comprised of multiple interfaces to access information, including a website, a telephone number, text-messaging, a mobile-optimized website, and native applications for both the iPhone and Android platforms (see http://onebusaway.org); it currently hosts more than 100,000 unique users per week. OneBusAway was developed under multiple federal grants as an open-source system allowing other transit agencies to adapt the code for their own systems.  Additional deployments using the code base have begun in New York City, Tampa and now Atlanta. Previous studies have shown that real-time can increase transit ridership, increase satisfaction with transit performance, improve perception of safety, and decrease perceived and actual wait time.  

The goal of the Atlanta deployment is to provide a service to area transit riders and to further quantify the impacts of real-time information by conducting a study of OneBusAway users and compare their ridership and perceptions to those of non-users.

Launch Support for The Game Studio at Georgia Tech
Ian Bogost, School of Literature, Media & Communication
Blair MacIntyre, School of Interactive Computing

The Georgia Tech Game Studio is a new, internal, by-application game design and development organization focused on facilitating the creation of novel, excellent, complete games. The Studio aims to increase the Institute's reputation in the production of original games, both through commercial success and participation in competitions and festivals.  The Studio will help participants conceptualize, design, develop, and release original games by providing space, materials, and industry advisement.

Computational Social Science Workshop and Hackathon with Emory
Jacob Eisenstein, School of Interactive Computing
Eric Gilbert, School of Interactive Computing
+ Collaborators at Emory University

The emerging cross-disciplinary field of computational social science is transforming both research and industry by combining computational methods with social science theory and research. GVU has a unique capability to shape this emerging discipline, building on the center's tradition of interdisciplinary research. To add a strong social science foundation, GVU will team with researchers at Emory University to offer two community-building activities for Computational Social Science in 2013-2014. In the fall, we will offer a Research Workshop featuring distinguished visiting speakers and presentations from GVU and Emory faculty; in the spring, we will reconvene for a freewheeling Hackathon that brings students and faculty together to form interdisciplinary research teams working on projects of mutual interest.

FIDO - Facilitating Interactions for Dogs with Occupations
Melody Moore Jackson, School of Interactive Computing
Thad Starner, School of Interactive Computing
Clint Zeagler, School of Industrial Design

Working dogs, whether assistance, medical, or military dogs, have important information to impart to their human handlers. However, communication between human and canine partners is currently limited. Handlers give verbal or hand signal commands, and dogs respond with trained behaviors such as alerting with a paw or nose touch, or barking.

Improving dog-to-handler communication could literally save lives. A medical alert dog could directly summon aid. If a hearing dog could tell his handler specifically whether the source of the sound was the phone ringing or the fire alarm, the handler could make better decisions about how to respond. Military dogs could mark bomb locations and even indicate the type of bomb found, then move to safety, rather than the current practice of lying next to the bomb and barking until the handler arrives, putting both dog and handler at risk. Silent handler-to-dog communication could be critical as well, as voice and hand signals make dog handlers targets for snipers. Improving communication through technology could have profound implications for working dog teams in many domains.  

We plan to leverage Georgia Tech’s extensive experience in wearable computing to enable communication with animals.  We have created the Inter-species Interaction Lab to establish Georgia Tech as a pioneer in the little-explored space of Animal-Computer Interaction, studying communication with animals mediated by technology.

Celia Pearce, School of Literature, Media & Communication
Mark Riedl, School of Interactive Computing

Games @ Gatech is an institute-wide initiative to leverage Georgia Tech's leadership role in video games research and education by aggregating and incubating interdisciplinary games research and academic activities across the campus. This goal of this initiative is twofold: First, to bring together diverse games activities and foster greater internal awareness, research collaboration, and funding access among entities and individuals with the institute; second, to help create a single, more focused Georgia Tech "brand" to the outside world that improves public awareness of the institute's collective strengths in game-related research. Games @ Gatech will help create a more unified research community, advancing interdisciplinary research, and facilitating better exposure to funding opportunities, tech transfer and industry partnerships. 

Sonic Generator and the National Orchestra of Lorraine
Jason Freeman, School of Music

Sonic Generator, the high-tech contemporary music ensemble in residence at Georgia Tech, joins forces with members of L’Orchestre National de Lorraine and their conductor Jacques Mercier to present concerts at the Ferst Center for the Arts at Georgia Tech (November 3rd, 2013) and at L'Arsenal in Metz (February 15, 2014). The performances will feature innovative French and American contemporary music including Steve Reich's City Life, a new commission from Daniel Wohl, and music by GT professor Jason Freeman. These concerts will help celebrate the fifth edition of France-Atlanta and the twenty-fifth anniversary of L'Arsenal and initiate new conversations about the role of the arts at Georgia Tech's Lorraine campus. The official page for the Atlanta performance is at the Ferst Center's web site www.ferstcenter.gatech.edu.

Simulating Activities of Daily Living: Dressing Clothes
(Supported by GVU, IPaT, and RIM)
Karen Liu, School of Interactive Computing

Dressing clothing is considered as one of the Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) for an individual to maintain a functional life independently. Unlike other ADLs, such as feeding and mobility, dressing is unique to human society and is one of the most important milestones of self-care development for a child. An average child takes 24 months to develop sufficient coordination and manipulation skills to put on loose clothing. It will take another year or two before she will be able to get dressed all by herself. This is mainly due to the combined difficulty in coordinating different body parts and manipulating soft and deformable objects (clothes). This project aims to recreate this unique human behavior through physical simulation and eventually enables assistive robots to dress real humans. In particular, we are interested in designing motor control algorithms for dressing upper and lower body for oneself and others. Beyond robotic applications, we expect to expand the current biomechanical knowledge in human coordination control mechanism, to advance the control algorithms for high-dimensional, nonlinear systems in control theory, and to enhance the state-or-art simulation techniques for manipulating deformable objects.

2012 Research and Engagement Grants


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