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HCII Seminar Series: Jon Froehlich

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Jon Froehlich
Assistant Professor, Computer Science, University of Maryland College Park


NSH 1305

Video link

"Characterizing Physical World Accessibility at Scale Using Crowdsourcing, Computer Vision, and Machine Learning" Roughly 30.6 million individuals in the US have physical disabilities that affect their ambulatory activities; nearly half of those individuals report using an assistive aid such as a wheelchair, cane, crutches, or walker. Despite comprehensive civil rights legislation, many city streets, sidewalks, and businesses remain inaccessible. The problem is not just that street-level accessibility affects where and how people travel in cities but also that there are few, if any, mechanisms to determine accessible areas of a city a priori. In this talk, I will describe our research developing novel, scalable data-collection methods for acquiring accessibility information about the built environment using a combination of crowdsourcing, computer vision, and online map imagery (e.g., Google Street View). Our overarching goal is to transform the ways in which accessibility information is collected and visualized for every sidewalk, street, and building façade in the world. This work is in collaboration with Professor David Jacobs and graduate students Kotaro Hara and Jin Sun. In the last portion of the talk, I will also describe other active projects in my group focused primarily on interactive physical computing (e.g., wearables, e-textiles) for health and wellness (Social Fabric Fitness) and education (BodyVis).

Speaker's Bio

Jon Froehlich is an Assistant Professor in Computer Science at the University of Maryland, College Park where he is member of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory (HCIL) and founder of the HCIL Hackerspace. His research group, the Makeability Lab, focuses on designing and studying novel interactive experiences that cross between bits and atoms—the virtual and the physical—and back again to confront some of the world's greatest challenges in environmental sustainability, health and wellness, education, and universal accessibility.

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