I propose research in human-computer interactions, specifically in personalized fabrication. I worked on the SenseBox under Dr. Foad Hamidi from Spring 2018 to through the end of the Spring 2019 semester. It is an open-source, low-cost, customizable hardware/software prototyping platform to turn everyday objects into audio triggers for users with diverse abilities.
I initially assisted in creating the SenseBox software, and I experimented with the fabrication process. For this portion, I was volunteering in the lab about 4 hours a week for 10 weeks. My biggest contributions have primarily been about documentation and simplifying instructions. I did a research project on DIY assistive technology and used the SenseBox as a case study for how instructions can be simplified. This took about 5 hours a week for 12 weeks. I have spent 80 hours directly working on the SenseBox and an additional 30 hours of planning and presenting research related to the SenseBox as well as attending HCI conferences and seminars. I have spent about 130 hours on this project
This experience is relatively well tied to the Advancing Personalized Learning Challenge. A lot of the work I want to do around advancing personalized learning is related to accessibility and the research I did in personal fabrication made me realize that DIY projects can be very empowering for the end user especially for assistive technology. A similar approach to education could prove fruitful, especially for learners with disabilities. This includes learning platforms that could allow users to create something while learning a topic.
This very strongly relates to perspectivism. In technology, we often think about the average user and initial work in advancing personalized learning may fall into a similar habit. With accessibility in mind, the goal is thinking about users that have vision impairments or users that may be experiencing loss of motor functions. It is important to maintain perspective when working to advance personalized learning for as many people as possible and make sure the groups I am working to help are included in discussions.
Identify the different disciplines that contribute to the solution of a complex problem. This project required integration of design using a 3D printer, programming software, electronics, and product analysis.
Describe and apply strategies for creating common ground between different disciplinary perspectives. HCI is a field that does not merely allow collaboration from different disciplines, it encourages it. The initial focus of the project was to create a product that had the functionality we wanted. However, the initial enclosure was not well suited to be used in the settings we envisioned. As a result, we had to shift focus to designing an enclosure that could hold our electronic components but also have a look and feel that made users comfortable.
Describe and apply bridging strategies that facilitate the conscious integration of different disciplines. I think the biggest bridging strategy id ensuring that all groups are represented. In smaller teams, this may mean any one person may be wearing different hats. For example, in my team I was a programmer, but I was also doing product analysis. In a larger team, there can be any number of individuals acting in different roles to accomplish the task at hand.