MSc Students Deliver a Message of Innovation with Capstone Projects
|On December 19, 2013, the dual degree Professional Master students of the CMU Portugal’s Human-Computer Interaction (MHCI) program, taught by the Universidade da Madeira (UMa) and Carnegie Mellon University, presented their capstone projects at the Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute (M-ITI), in Portugal.
Welcoming around 50 participants, including M-ITI alumni and current students at UMa, the event engaged the audience, as project presenters delivered a message of innovation and entrepreneurship. After the projects presentation, the audience had the opportunity to see a demo session. On the following day, the M-ITI welcomed Miguel Poiares Maduro, the Portuguese Minister Assistant and of Regional Development.
The MHCI project course is an 8-month long capstone project of the Master’s in HCI and it integrates everything the students have learned in their coursework into one “end-to-end” experience. Working in interdisciplinary teams with an industry sponsor, students produce a working prototype that serves as a proof of concept of a novel service or product idea. The students come from a variety of backgrounds including Computer Science, Psychology, Design, and other related programs. This year, three teams presented their capstone projects in Madeira.
MHCI’s team Power House, whose members are Ray Liaw (USA), Cátia Sousa (PT), Shailie Thakkar (USA) and Sam Lavery (USA), presented the project that wants to create a design solution for the first floor exhibit of the Casa da Luz Museum that is appealing to both youth and tourists. The Casa da Luz is a science museum that focuses on the evolution of electricity in the island of Madeira. Re-envisioning the exhibit’s space and developing a module within the exhibit using various research and design methods, the project encourages individuals to think about their electricity consumption choices using simple, colorful interactions and a dynamic LED feedback display, as well as information panels with rich supplementary content. According to the team, their goal is to understand the unique electricity challenges in Madeira, the construction and narrative of museum spaces, and the best ways to engage museum patrons, in order to create an optimal experience that encourages exploration and learning.
|The second capstone project presented, called Eat & Travel, was introduced by the team Edesia, which includes members Raunaq Gupta (India), Ashley Wilson (USA), Sheila Christian (USA). Eat & Travel is a technology startup that is trying to bring an immersive experience for people traveling to restaurants along the Lisbon coast. According to the team members, these immersive experiences will convey a sense of travel through exotic foods and virtual boat tours. The developers of the MHCI capstone project are responsible for designing a web experience that can attract potential clients and patrons to a new and innovative concept of restaurant.
Finally, team Epic (MHCI), composed of Namrata Kannan (India), Luis Guzman (Guatemala), Kristine Mendoza (USA), Susan Buenafe (USA), presented the Wow!Systems, a project that focuses primarily on multimedia installations and wants to expand to the domain of application development. More specifically, the researchers believe that there is a niche to be found in the realm of creative writing and tools that support this activity. Their goal is to understand what fuels creativity and writing in order to develop an application that provides a compelling writing experience, and because writing is difficult, according to the team, Wow!Systems is here to make the writing process epic.
On 20 December, the M-ITI also welcomed Miguel Poiares Maduro, who had the opportunity to become familiarized with the work conducted at the Institute, including with the projects mentioned above and other initiatives developed at the Universidade da Madeira. The M-ITI was created as part of the CMU Portugal, funded by the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, and it operates in the domain of human-computer interaction, combining contributions from computer science, psychology and design in order to address/engage in important scientific and technological challenges that are both relevant to society and have a significant economic impact.