MSc students finalists CHI Student Competition

Congratulations to three student teams in our HCI MSc Programme, who have been selected to participate in the final stage of the ACM CHI Student Design Competition.
CHI only accepted 12 out of the 70 submissions for the CHI Student Design Competition (~17% acceptance rate) to present their design projects at the prestigious international conference in the field of Human-Computer Interaction in Denver May 2017. At the conference a jury of academics and industrial practitioners will select the final winners of the competition. The groups developed their projects as part of the course work for the Interaction Design module. This module connects research and teaching through a novel structure of working on applied HCI projects throughout the module. Furthermore, each student group is mentored by a UCLIC researcher guiding their design and research process, with the result of a close link between research and teaching activities in HCI.
More information on the winning groups are below.

Team ParentCircle: Helping Single Parents Build a Support Network

Latefa Al-naimi, Sinan E Arkonac, Joseph Frazer, Ryan Horgan, Anna Kracewicz
Single parents often suffer from financial difficulties, loneliness and a lack of social support. The latter in particular leaves single parents vulnerable to stress, which can lead to the development of psychological disorders such as depression. We created the app, ParentCircle, as a low-cost solution to encourage physical interaction between parents in social spaces, and thus, help them build an effective support network. They can share announcements, chat, and are encouraged to form lasting, real world relationships. ParentCircle also offers parents the ability to join various community groups, which provide information about local news, and events to take part in with their children. It differs from existing products and apps, because it actively encourages and facilitates physical interaction, with the intention of helping single parents build a support network which will ease the various burdens they experience.

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Team Tai-CHI: GotYourBack: An Internet of Toilets for the Trans Community

Diana Beirl, Jerald Chan, Kai Loh, Anya Zeitlin, Xiaodi Zhong
Transgender individuals frequently report negative experiences when attempting to access gender segregated areas, such as toilets. This includes physical and verbal harassment and being denied access to facilities. The existing applications used to locate gender-neutral toilets are limited by the few facilities available. Our research shows that many transgender individuals feel more comfortable using gendered toilets in the presence of people who support gender diversity. In this paper we present GotYourBack, a mobile application which utilizes this support network and works with an Internet of Toilets ecosystem to improve safe access to gendered toilets. GotYourBack works by utilizing motion sensors and Bluetooth beacons to provide real-time data on toilet capacity and presence of supporters.

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Team StreetHeart: Empowering Homeless Through Art

Clement Hamon, Oleksandra Danilina, Giovanna Vilaza, Johanna Mahonen
The life of the current or former homeless is not an easy one. Besides, prejudice from society can hinder their chances to overcome problems, at the same time it cripples their confidence. Fortunately, many charity organizations encour- ages artistic activities by providing the workspace, tools and materials needed. There is an impressive amount of talent out there, but much of it remains unseen. This is why we designed StreetHeart, a platform that gives the underprivi- leged the power to upload, exhibit and sell their artworks in- dependently. Through displays spread around the city, their art can reach larger audiences and the public can send
their appreciation directly to the artists. We believe that this could have a big impact on decreasing prejudice against homeless and it could serve as an incentive to the artists to keep developing their creativity.

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