The IU School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis will host the 2014 Indiana VEX IQ Robotics State Championship on Feb. 22 at the Informatics and Communications Technology Complex on the IUPUI campus.
The championship, presented by the Office of Education Innovation and Robotics Education & Competition Foundation, is a competition to spur science, technology, engineering and math activities at area middle schools, with some competitors coming from elementary schools.
“Today, informatics plays a key role in many different industries,” said Polly Baker, professor of media arts and science in the Department of Human-Centered Computing. “Robotics is an example of a field where students can engage by making and designing information technology to serve people and augment our abilities to operate in the world.”
“It’s amazing to see how many students are already interested in getting involved in this exciting area of study,” said Davide Bolchini, interim chair of the Department of Human-Centered Computing and professor of human-computer interaction at the School of Informatics and Computing.
The competition is divided into different parts. The day will include team cooperative and skill competitions, as well as evaluation of design books, and mathematical research components.
Seven of the competing teams will qualify for the VEX IQ World Championship on April 17 in Anaheim, Calif. About 30 teams are expected to compete in the event at IUPUI.
Davide Bolchini, interim chair of the Department of Human-Centered Computing and assistant professor of human-computer interaction at the School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, recently received the prestigious Google Faculty Research Award.
The award is accompanied by a $44,252 grant that will support the study “Augmenting Screen-Reader Navigation by Linkless Dialogues” being conducted by Bolchini and human-computer interaction Ph.D. candidate Prathik Gadde. The study investigates how the blind and visually impaired can interact with and navigate through complex websites to compensate for their lack of sight. The study will examine novel solutions that could make surfing the Web easier for visually challenged users.
“The blind user experience with the Web is still very far from enjoyable,” Bolchini said. “There is so much more that we can do to make it not just slightly better but considerably more natural and desirable. Together with our stellar graduate students, we will explore strategies to help blind users understand where they are on a complex website, where they can go next from a page, or what to do to know more about a topic. This can make a significant difference in daily Web navigation tasks.”
The work will leverage the five-year collaboration with the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. The study will build upon the research on “aural informatics” in collaboration with professor Steve Mannheimer and Executive Associate Dean Mathew Palakal in the Department of Human-Centered Computing, which already has a prior Google Research Award and two NSF-funded projects on Web accessibility, non-speech sounds and aural navigation.
Google Research Awards‘ mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. As part of that vision, the Google Research Awards program aims to identify and support world-class, full-time faculty pursuing research in areas of mutual interest.
This round, Google received 550 proposals from 50 countries. After expert reviews, 105 projects were selected for funding, with an acceptance rate of 19 percent.