Informatics students participate in Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium

Wearable computing, improved information architecture, navigation drones, and protein folding are Informatics research projects on display at the 17th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium to be held on May 16 in Mary Gates Hall. More than 1,100 undergraduates will present their work.

The Symposium is organized by the Undergraduate Research Program, which facilitates research experiences for undergraduates in all academic disciplines. The Symposium is a chance for undergraduates to present what they have learned through their research experiences to a larger audience.

The event also provides a forum for students, faculty, and the community to discuss cutting edge research topics and to examine the connection between research and education. The event includes poster and presentation sessions by students from all academic disciplines and all three UW campuses, plus invited guests.


Informatics Student Participants

The iSchool is proud to be represented by the following student projects:

Wearable Computing: Designing a Solution to Enhance User Interactions

Kendall Morgan, Senior, Informatics (Human-Computer Interaction) EIP Scholar, McNair Scholar
Mentor: Katie Davis, The Information School

The ubiquity of computing devices such as smartphones and wearable devices has given users access to technology at all times. However, user interactions with these devices are often cumbersome. Interacting with these computing devices is of increasing importance and minimizing their negative cognitive effects is critical to usage of these devices in order to allow users to focus on the task they are trying to accomplish, not the technologies they are using to accomplish them. Kendall evaluated how people currently interact with computing devices such as the smartphone, wearable devices, and computers, and how these technologies try to solve computing inputs in order to minimize the negative cognitive effects of user interactions. His research will help to elevate the mobility of computing and inform how we interact with computing devices as they become more ubiquitous.

Design Practices for Information Architecture with Context Interactive System

Guiyan Bai, Junior, Informatics
Mentors: David Stearns, The Information School; Alvin Lau, Computer Science & Engineering

This project investigates how to create a website system that will store service information, strengthen usability, and improve the website’s function to improve community service needs. One important aspect of creating a helpful website is reinforcing the database management, web development, and information analysis techniques. Our goal is to improve the user experience for the Chinese Baptist Church website and to make significant website changes to support the activities of the local community.

Expanding Horizons: Autonomous Navigation for People with Visual Impairments

Jordan Smith, Senior, Informatics (Human-Computer Interaction) and Nicholas (Nick) Winkelbauer, Junior, Extended Pre-Major
Mentors: David Hendry and Katie O'Leary, The Information School

Street signs, traffic lights, and maps are the predominant navigational cues in society, each being inherently visual. When navigating through pedestrian areas that only provide these cues, people with visual impairments can experience disability. This study proposes the design of a drone for navigation, or NavDrone, a pocket-size, pilotless, and autonomous aircraft that will provide visual description of navigational cues. By creating access to visual information in the environment, the proposed NavDrone can assist people with visual impairments in navigating unfamiliar areas. 

Correlation of Residue Flexibility and Evolutionary Conservation: Testing a Common Belief in Protein Engineering using Protein Dynamics

Nishant Velagapudi, Senior, Informatics (Information Architecture), Bioengineering Honors Program Scholar
Mentor: Valerie Daggett, Bioengineering

It has been hypothesized that there is a correlation between the flexibility of amino acids in a protein and their conservation. Inflexible residues tend to be structurally important and thus less tolerant of change. By this theory, mutations at these positions are expected to typically be deleterious. The Dynameomics project is an ongoing effort by the Daggett Research Group to characterize protein folding space through molecular dynamics simulations of representatives of all known protein structures or folds. The team used a novel software module to calculate residue flexibility directly from the relevant molecular dynamics simulation files. They anticipate that a better understanding of evolution at the amino acid level of proteins will help to better predict the impact of mutation.