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Externally Funded Research Projects

This is an evolving list of selected, externally-funded research projects led by faculty in the Human-Centered Computing Department.  Potential collaborators, faculty, and students at all levels are encouraged to contact the investigators to know more about the projects and explore research collaboration opportunities to get involved.

Designing Collaborative and Transparent Work Information Systems

Funding Source: National Science Foundation
Principal Investigator: Lynn Dombrowski

NSF LogoResearch advances have enabled innovations in collaborative work information systems that can keep track of employees and contractors in domains such as ride sharing. For instance, after drivers login to begin a work session, riding sharing computers keep track of cars, customers, and ride locations. Such systems enable accurate payments to drivers and create work histories that are shared among managers, drivers, and clients. In many other work domains, such as home care, delivery, farm work, and child care, transparent collaborative information systems do not exist, leaving work environments open to inaccurate compensation, conflict over work requirements or behavior, or even exploitation. This project will examine the needs of workers, employers, and managers for collaborative and shared reporting, and opportunities for innovative technology to create such systems. The project will lead to fundamental understanding of collaboration in work information for traditional and new forms of work that currently lack accurate and transparent measures of the work hours, effort, or performance on which compensation is based.

This project requires fundamental research and application development in three potential key intervention areas: (1) technologies to enable worker education concerning worker and employer rights and responsibilities; (2) systems that could collect shared work data for workers, employers, and managers while protecting individual privacy and confidentiality, and (3) empirical evaluations to assess effectiveness as well as understand potential risks or undesirable indirect consequences of work-related data collection. Researchers will prototype and test these systems mainly in work environments, such as farm work, custodial work, and restaurants services. The project will lead to a better understanding of the potential for technology to help create better jobs for workers, and aid managers and employers to create responsive, transparent, and equitable business and work environments.

Learn more about the grant

CHIPS: Computer High: Informatics Project for Success

Funding Source: Indianapolis Public Schools (2015)
Principal Investigator: Steve Mannheimer

Indianapolis Public Schools LogoThe CHIPS program delivers a series of hands-on/brains-on, after-school learning sessions for Harshman Middle School students. The CHIPS team is composed of eight (8) IPS teachers, four (4) instructors from the School of Informatics and Computing (SoIC) at IUPUI, plus three SoIC students. CHIPS sessions last two hours and are held once a week (currently on Mondays) at Harshman. In this first year of the CHIPS project, the SoIC teachers have led the way, designing and delivering weekly learning sessions, with IPS teachers serving in a support role. In the CHIPS project, students learn basic concepts in computer science and informatics. Informatics may be easily understood as applied computer science.

Help for Cancer Caregivers

Caregiver Action Network LogoFunding Source: Cancer Caregivers Action Network (2014)
Principal Investigator: Skip Comer

Help for Cancer Caregivers is an interactive, web-based support tool for caregivers of cancer patients.  Through this project, the interactive tool has undergone design and database structure revisions.  IU was primarily responsible for syncing the tracking feature to the new Near Space design with HFCC 2.0.

From Critique to Collaboration: A Fundamental Rethinking of Computerized Clinical Alerts

Funding Source: National Science Foundation (2013)
Principal Investigator: Davide Bolchini

NSF LogoThe safe prescribing of patient medications via computerized physician order entry (CPOE) routinely relies on drug safety alerts. The most common type of such alerts, drug-drug interaction (DDI) warnings, are a basic form of clinical decision support, but their effectiveness remains surprisingly low: up to 96% of such warnings are ignored by physicians on a daily basis. Non-compliance to DDI leads to increased risk of prescribing unsafe medications, which may cause serious health complications and even death. The goal of the project is to uncover, demonstrate and evaluate novel principles for effective and novel alert design that are based on what physicians consider important when taking advice from peers in the context of their clinical activities. First, through a series of formative studies in clinical settings, we are investigating principles that accompany trusted physician-to-physician advice regarding appropriate medication prescribing. Second, we are ideating and demonstrating novel designs for computerized drug safety guidance that elicit physician trust and a sense of collaboration. Finally, through a series of comparative evaluation studies, we are evaluating the impact of the proposed strategies on physician compliance and experience. Learn more

Augmenting Screen-Reader Navigation by Linkless Dialogues

Funding Source: Google Faculty Research Award (2013)
Principal Investigator: Davide Bolchini

Google LogoIn this Google-funded research project, we are exploring advanced web navigation paradigms for the blind and visually-impaired that enable them to directly access important sections of a page or site through a simple vocabulary of shortcut commands. To accomplish this goal, we are conducting formative studies with blind and visually-impaired users to caractherize the navigation problems they face when using screen reader to browse large-scale, information-intensive web applications. We are then using this knowledge to introduce, prototype and empirically evaluate novel approaches to screen-reader navigation that speed up information finding and exploratory browsing, both at the page level and at the site level. Learn more

Audeme Games and Aural Semantics

Funding Source: Google Faculty Research Award (2011)
Principal Investigator: Steve Mannheimer

Google LogoOur project will expand understanding of the semantic and cognitive value of non-speech sound. Non-speech sound is an underutilized platform for cognition and semantic meaning. Based on our years of research with the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ISBVI), we believe that very short (2-5 sec.) collages of sound effects (SFX) and music (called “audemes”) function as powerful mnemonic prompts to improve student recall of complex essays of educational content, even after 5 months. This power leverages the intuitive human ability to recognize (i.e. to remember) the world as a “soundscape” of aural signs, e.g. the whistling teakettle or the chug-chugging of a large engine, etc. Our one-year project will establish the effectiveness of audemes and audeme sequences to enhance K-12 textbooks. Our project will begin by using natural language processing to distill a glossary of semantically powerful words and phrases from existing K-12 textbooks.

Audemes, Metaphors and Aural Games: A Pathways Project to Make STEM Engaging for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Funding Source: National Science Foundation (2011)
Principal Investigator: Steve Mannheimer

NSF LogoThe project investigates the design, development and dissemination of metaphoric aural sound symbols (audemes), audeme dictionary and riddle audeme games to teach scientific concepts to 75-100 students who are blind and visually impaired (BVI). A number of research questions are included. How do audemes and sequences function as metaphors of STEM concepts? Which audeme game structures and strategies work best to engage BVI students? How do audemes and audeme games impact STEM education?  The audeme-to-concept-to-audeme dictionary will build scientific concepts using standards, state-approved science textbooks, teachers and students. They will also examine secondary words that are associated with the science concepts by mining textbooks, identifying tertiary concepts, and establishing a preliminary dictionary of audemes. A team of education, students and professionals who are experts will design the audemes after multiple iterations. Learn more

Online Modules for Family Voices

Funding Source: Family Voices, Inc. (2011)
Principal Investigator: Joe Defazio

In this project, Dr. Joe Defazio partnered with Dr. Stephen Viewhig to create a series of online training modules for Family Voices International. Dr. Defazio and two graduate students from the Media Arts and Science program worked with Dr. Veiwhig and Family Voices to produce, test, and activate the Family Leadership online resource portal. The team produced the web portal using the “Functional and Content Specifications” document provided by Family Voices of Indiana. They also produced two training videos based on content received from Family Voices of Indiana. The team also secured stakeholders from Family Voices to participate in usability tests during the design cycle.

Navigating the Aural Web

Funding Source: National Science Foundation (2010)
Principal Investigator: Davide Bolchini

NSF LogoThis project aims at establishing novel design strategies for the aural navigation of complex web information architectures, where users exclusively or primarily listen to, rather than look at, content and navigational prompts. We are iteratively creating and refining aural design solutions for listening-based back and history navigation and advanced aural browsing in large collections. We are then evaluating the impact of these navigation strategies on the user experience. We are exploring the potential and limits of the aural navigation paradigms to enhance the effectiveness of web navigation by performing a series of evaluation studies involving visually-impaired participants using screen readers (at the Indiana School for the Blind in Indianapolis) and sighted participants using mobile devices. Learn more

Creatures Classified! An exploration of cataloging creatures across the galaxy

Funding Source: UC Irvine (HASTAC.MacArthur Foundation) (2010)
Principal Investigator: Mathew Powers

Students are training to become intergalactic speciologists with their training starting on an Earth Type planet. The starting mission is to find and classify 20 species of animals from a variety of environments and identify them on the basis of kingdom, phylum, etc. Armed with a science field journal, players use it to navigate terrain, avoid hazards and threatening creatures, and collect data necessary to complete the mission. Players will classify species based on evolutionary, and physical characteristics of the creature. As players navigate through their training they will complete a mission on different planets with increasingly more complex creatures to identify, classify, and interact with. Players will visit eight unique planets in total. Each planet will have informational buoys that will arm the players with information about how to preserve and save their own environment and how fragile balanced ecosystems are.

The Acoustic User Interface for the Blind

Funding Source: Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust (2007)
Principal Investigator: Steve Mannheimer

Nina Mason Trust LogoProf. Steve Mannheimer and his project team developed an acoustic user interface to enable students at the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired to better access, navigate and manage educational content delivered through the Internet or through personal computers. This interface was conceptualized and evaluated through a long-term collaboration with the students and staff of the ISBVI on computer workstations equipped with touch screens. User testing and evaluation data gained in the process was used to substantiate scholarly publications and future grant applications to other public and private agencies.