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.


2016-17 Grant Awardees
The GVU Center and IPaT have awarded three projects funding through the 2016-2017 Research and Engagement Grants Program.

Creative Collisions

Laura Levy (Interactive Media Technology Center)
Maribeth Gandy (Interactive Media Technology Center)
Clint Zeagler (Wearable Computing Center)
Madison Cario (Arts@Tech)
Lane Conville-Canney (Arts@Tech)
Wayne Li (School of Industrial Design)

The arts can be a natural and effective showcase to demonstrate the potential of cutting-edge and advanced technologies. However, there often exists a barrier in communication and collaboration between artists and technologists. To further complicate how these groups might work together, they can be balkanized within their own groups and also from the greater community. Too often, novel and interesting technologies are demonstrated for brief periods of time and then left to languish in labs frequently forgotten for years later. Meanwhile, artists seeking technical knowledge and exposure to advances in technology often have difficulties locating these resources to further their artistic process. With a thoughtful plan to bring artists and technologists to work in an exploratory workshop, this coming together will offer opportunities for artists to learn about engineering/technology creative processes while allowing experts in engineering/technology to see first-hand what artists need to relate to broad audiences in site specific locations in their process and practice. This workshop offers a blank slate for artists and technologists to create together, rather than having each other “assist” in the other’s already existing project.

(T)racing Eyes and Hearts: An Installation to Reflect on the Physiology of Empathy

Anne Pollock (School of Literature, Media, and Communication)
Lewis Wheaton (School of Applied Physiology)
Nassim JafariNaimi (School of Literature, Media, and Communication)

Eyes darting, or maintaining a steady gaze straight ahead. Heartbeat racing, or maintaining a slow, even rhythm. If we encounter these phenomena in another, how do we respond – not just affectively, but physiologically? Eye movements and heartbeats are among the most intuitively meaningful physiological characteristics that humans observe in one another. Without necessarily consciously realizing it, we often respond empathetically. This project brings together humanities scholars and physiology scholars to create an art installation that uses representation, tracking, and visualization to investigate and reflect upon the physiology of empathy. The installation renders video of eye movements and audio of heartrate of a virtual person, and tracks the eye movements and heartrate of an observing user. We anticipate a mirroring, empathetic physiological response from the user, in which their heartrate also speeds and slows in conjunction with the virtual person. Immediately after the experience, the user will be provided a visual and auditory representation of the data, in order to see and reflect on this empathetic engagement, and also provided with a link to a copy of the video by email if they so choose. The playback could be either in real time, or in a time that is set to either the virtual person or the user’s heartrate as a metronome, to allow a distinctively human-centered exploration of the data.

Passive Haptic Rehabilitation for Stroke

Thad Starner (School of Interactive Computing)
Steve Wolf (Emory University's Department of Rehabilitation Medicine)

Over 5 million people are disabled by stroke each year.  Current techniques for stroke rehabilitation are costly and time-consuming, require cumbersome machinery, access to clinicians, and put strain on patients.  However, using our lightweight and mobile computerized gloves, patients may be able to get rehab on-the-go.

In our initial work, we found that tactile stimulation, like vibration, can improve sensation and mobility when applied to the impaired hands of people with partial Spinal Cord Injury. We now apply this "Passive Haptic Rehabilitation" to stroke. Using this technique, these patients can simply wear a vibrating glove to stimulate their affected hand while they go about their daily life. After two months, function improved in those that wore the glove.