most significant bits
newsletter of uw computer science & engineering
volume 20, number 1, spring 2010
university of washington
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 home CSE Home     Spring 2010 MSB    MSB Archive    Contact Info 
CSE makes sense   Next-gen smart grid tech   OneBusAway   Open Data Kit Chair's message News   SWARMS   A CSE reunion in Oakland   Datagrams Awards   Alumni Achievement Award   College Diamond Award Events   Accessibility capstone   Engineering Discovery Days   ACM spring barbeque   Where the jobs are   Kings screened at SIFF
msb20.1 PDF

About MSB

MSB is a twice yearly publication of UW CSE supported by the Industrial Affiliates Program.

Editor: Kay Beck-Benton
Contributors: Ed Lazowska, Hank Levy, Sandy Marvinney
Photo credits: Jon Froehlich, Carl Hartung, Bruce Hemingway, Ed Lazowska, Mary Levin

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Accessibility capstone premiere

Each year, CSE offers a number of "capstone design courses" in a broad range of areas. In these courses, students work in teams to conceive, design, implement, and deploy complete solutions to interesting problems.

As cell phones become more capable with internet connectivity and sensors such as cameras, compasses, GPS, and accelerometers, opportunities arise to use them as accessibility or assistive devices. This was the focus of the Accessibility Capstone taught by Professor Richard Ladner. Students worked in teams to create new applications on mobile phones that allow persons with disabilities to accomplish tasks that would be difficult to impossible without such applications. An example for a blind person would be an application that would take a picture of a bar code on a product, decode it, look it up on the internet, then speak the name of the product.

At the March 15 capstone premiere, five teams presented their design projects with posters and demos. Members of the blind, deaf, and deaf-blind community attended. All projects were accessibility-oriented applications for the Google Android platform. (We acknowledge and thank Google for providing Android phones for use in this course.)

Featured projects:

ezTasker — mobile daily task trainer and
scheduler assists people with cognitive
disabilities through daily activities
with visual and audio aid.
LinkUp! — a mobile application to find
people and places nearby for people
who are blind or have low-vision.

LocalEyes — a mobile application to find
where you are, what direction you are
going, and what points of interest and
businesses lie ahead for people
who are blind, low-vision, or deaf-blind.
BrailLearn and Braille Buddies
BrailLearn & Braille Buddies — mobile
games that encourage learning Braille
while having fun, for blind children.

Mobile OCR
MOCR — an application that uses optical
character recognition (OCR) to read
aloud printed text for people
who are blind or low-vision users.

Additional information about the Accessibility Capstone may be viewed here:

Additional information about the MobileAccessibility project may be viewed here:

Engineering Discovery Days

Ben Stoddard discusses OneBusAway
technology with several attendees.

Held April 23-24, Engineering Discovery Days 2010 &mdash formerly known as "Open House" — continued the tradition of sharing exciting research projects with students, teachers, and families.

Accessibility capstone
Steven Kwan and Chris Acuario
demonstrate projects from
the Accessibility Capstone.
Engaging robot
Kimberly Todd engages attendees
with a Scribbler robot.

ACM spring barbeque

This year, the UW CSE ACM student chapter replaced the traditional faculty dunk tank with a faculty pie toss. Lots of good licks were had by all.

Dan Grossman, pied
Dan "Was That Really
Your Best Shot?" Grossman
Luis Ceze, pied
Luis "I Think I May
Have Messed My Pants" Ceze

John Zahorjan, pied
John "This Was My
Only Clean Shirt" Zahorjan
Gaetano with pie
Gaetano "Take Him Out
With The Trash, He’s
Already Bagged" Borriello

Where the jobs are

Jobs fair in the atrium

CSE hosted its Industrial Affiliates Winter Recruiting Fair on January 28. Proving that there are still jobs out there, twenty companies participated in this event, with opportunities for both internships and fulltime positions. As the picture to the right shows, it was a madhouse! The winter recruiting fair is an annual "reduced" version of our main recruiting fair, which is held in conjunction with our October Industrial Affiliates meeting.

Kings screened at SIFF

Kings still
Kings still
Two stills from Kings.

Kings, CSE’s 2008 Animation Capstone film, was screened at this year’s SIFF (Seattle International Film Festival). Selected from more than 3,000 entrants, Kings premiered May 21, 2010, as an official selection during SIFF’s Short Film Weekend in the Animation for Adults session. The showing (which included a dozen other animated shorts) was a sellout; a second SIFF showing was scheduled for June 6. SIFF is now an Academy Award qualifying festival, and ShortsFest draws entries not only from filmmakers from around the country, but also an increasingly large contingent of international filmmakers.

SIFF is the largest and most well-attended film festival in the US with an estimated 150,000 attendees. SIFF screened a wide selection of the best new international features and documentaries over the 25-day festival, presenting more than 400 films from over 50 countries. With extensive local, national and international media coverage, the festival has emerged as one of the country’s most accessible and highly publicized film events.

The computer-animated film Kings explores the theme "Old men play, while young men die" and poses the question "Is war an inevitable part of life?" It is set in a 19th century railroad car where playing cards come to life.

Barbara Mones signs photos
Barbara Mones signs posters of
CSE's Kings in the theatre lobby
following its world premiere
at SIFF on May 21

CSE’s Animation Capstone courses are taught by Barbara Mones and a host of collaborators to UW undergraduates from Computer Science & Engineering, Art, and Music. There is a long tradition of these wonderful student-created animated shorts competing well against professional submissions at national and international animation festivals.

Director Bio: Barbara Mones has been working in the field of computer animation for many years. Trained in character animation at Sheridan College, she worked at Dreamworks/PDI and Industrial Light & Magic before coming to UW CSE, where she teaches and serves as the director of animation production for the Animation Research Labs.

For more information on our animation capstone, see:
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