GVU / IPaT Engagement Grants

2018-2019 Engagement Grant Awardees
The GVU Center and IPaT have awarded six projects funding through the 2018-2019 Engagement Grants Program. The grants are designed to build new collaborations and strategic plans for new research areas and programs. The goal of this program is to engage researchers in thinking and working across disciplinary boundaries, as a means to generate the novel research questions and approaches required to address grand challenges.

Wearable Technology and Society: Artistic Collaborations
Clint Zeagler and Jay Bolter

Wearable Technology and Society is a new course developed for the Georgia Tech School of Literature Media and Communication that will be taught in fall 2018. For the course the Computer Science and Computational Media students will work on transdisciplinary group projects in collaboration with local performance artists, making interactive wearable performance garments. This GVU / IPaT engagement grant funds materials and supplies for the students to be able to create richer experiences. Performance artists including dancers and drag queens will also keep the garments/costumes and use them to their fullest potential.

Creating Georgia Tech’s Center for Computing and Society
Ellen Zegura, Carl DiSalvo, and Michael L. Best

The influence of computing is remarkable, and its future frequently touted as unbounded. Yet against this backdrop of unprecedented development lays sobering recent events in which computing has managed not to advance society, but instead to fray it. The time is right – indeed urgent – for computing as a diverse community to mature beyond today’s whiz kid, shiny object, “move fast and break things” attitudes. The various disciplines that reflect on computing must grow up and take ownership of the many steps needed to mitigate negative impacts of research and development, as well as harness computing in service of pressing social problems. Towards these ends, we are working to create a Georgia Tech Center on Computing and Society: an emerging cross-disciplinary research initiative aiming for national and international leadership in understanding and advancing computing systems that are responsible and accountable to society.

Connecting Georgia Tech with the Future of E-Sports
Laura Levy and Anne Sullivan

Electronic sports, known as esports, have undergone a meteoric rise in popularity over the past several decades enabled by technological advances in network connectivity, game engines, and online streaming platforms. Over 300 million fans have streamed almost 300 million hours on the Twitch platform alone, and the global viewership is expected to top 380 million by the end of 2018. However, even with the rapid acceptance and legitimation of esports in popular culture, there are still many fundamental gaps in our understanding for how to support the user experience around it. In the same ways that traditional sports have been augmented and the fan experience enhanced by technology, esports have much to gain through human-computer interaction (HCI) research in supporting viewers. Barriers for capturing and supporting new and diverse audiences are significant, and it is necessary that this research be driven and founded through industry partnerships to be successful.

This engagement grant provides travel funding to support students in a Georgia Tech VIP class studying an esports HCI research thread to travel to a professionally produced esports tournament and expose them directly to the research questions they are studying, while allowing them to network with industry representatives that may lead to future career opportunities. Additionally, this grant benefits IPaT and Georgia Tech by increasing the Institute’s presence at relevant industry events bringing home new contacts and funding opportunities with the greater games industry.

The Mild Cognitive Impairment Empowerment Program’s Innovation Accelerator: Building a Diverse Coalition of Students, Faculty and Researchers to Address Aging-Related Cognitive Impairment
Craig Zimring, Jennifer DuBose, Gabrielle Campiglia, Brian Jones, Brad Fain, and Herb Valasquez

Researchers from the SimTigrate Design Lab and IPaT have been working with Emory Brain Health to develop an “Empowerment Program” for people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a condition of deteriorated mental capacity that lies somewhere between the effects of normal aging and dementia. Georgia Tech is partnering with Emory’s Brain Health Center in developing and implementing The Brain Health Village in Executive Park. The first phase of development will be an MCI day “Empowerment Program,” a patient-centered day program with activities and spaces designed to meet the specific needs of individuals with MCI and their care partners. Georgia Tech will contribute expertise about the how the design of spaces and technologies can make it easier for people with MCI to remain independent. As a part of the broader MCI Empowerment initiative, GT will lead an Innovation Accelerator component which will engage academic and research faculty to lead teams of students and persons with MCI to identify needs and explore creative solutions together through a multidisciplinary, co-design process. In many cases, solutions developed to support people with MCI may have broader applicability to other user groups, and the wider community interested in health, aging, and cognition. Through this seed grant, we seek to broaden involvement of other academic units, students, and researchers, expand the range of disciplines, extend discussion and partnerships to external stakeholders and industry, and strategize applications for additional funding in order to grow the potential impact of Georgia Tech’s involvement in this MCI Empowerment program.

Understanding the Impact of VR for Engineering Analysis on Workplace Practice
Chris Le Dantec and Thomas Kurfess

Manufacturing workplaces are a site of intense change as technologies like IoT and AR/VR are beginning to make deep inroads into how complex products are engineered and assembled. These technologies - Google Glass, HTC Vive, and Oculus Rift -  are becoming prominent in manufacturing because they offer potential solutions to the problems of workforce shortages and a growing skills gap. As technologists, designers, and practitioners, it is critical that we understand how these classes of digital technologies stand to change organizations and the kinds of work people do. In partnership with GE Aviation - Human Factors and Maintainability group, this study explores the use of VR for engineering analysis in manufacturing and the impact of VR on the changing nature of work. By conducting a usability study with VR, we can document implementation efforts to augment human labor with automation and create guidelines for successful implementation and best use cases. The future of work relies on understanding how automation can enhance the worker experience and deliver results; putting people to work with technology instead of displacing them by technology.

Building Capacity for Sustainable, Interdisciplinary, Smart Campus Research: A Needs Analysis
Russ Clark and Matt Sanders

We propose to conduct a needs analysis to inform development of a resource for use by researchers and service operators across disciplines and departments who seek to build capacity for sustainable, interdisciplinary, smart campus research and service delivery. We intend to leverage communities and projects in process including the Living Building Challenge, Coda Data Instrumentation Project, Campus Enterprise Service Bus, and ongoing smart campus efforts in the GT Facilities. We plan to leverage our living lab efforts underway with Auxiliary services, Facilities, and OIT. We expect that a key contribution will include identifying the essential ingredients for novel and sustainable living lab operation and research models. This process will include gathering artifacts which we will make available in a repository and could serve as the basis for templates or accepted campus models.