Computer Science Ph.D. Student Kotaro Hara leads HCI Team to “Best Paper Award” at ASSETS’13 Conference

Three Computer Science undergraduate students among the paper authors
Descriptive image for Computer Science Ph.D. Student Kotaro Hara leads HCI Team to “Best Paper Award” at ASSETS’13 Conference

Kotaro Hara, a 4th year PhD student in computer science at the University of Maryland, College Park and a member of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab lead his research team to the “Best Paper Award” at the ASSETS’13 conference. “ASSETS’13 is the premier forum for accessibility in computing,” says Hara’s advisor Professor Jon Froehlich, “Hara did a great job leading this effort…managing collaboration with ten researchers from two universities 2,700 miles apart: The University of Maryland, College Park and the University of Washington.” The paper entitled Improving Public Transit Accessibility for Blind Riders by Crowdsourcing Bus Stop Landmark Locations With Google Street View involved interviews with nearly 20 visually impaired potential users to better understand the challenges they face for using bus transit and to inform the design of the system. The system presented in the ASSETS'13 paper will collect bus stop location and landmark descriptions that can help people with visual impairment to find a bus stop.

Additionally, three of the ten authors on the paper were UMCP computer science department undergraduate students Vicki Le (now at AOL), Sean Pannella, and Robert Moore. “[Vicki, Sean and Robert] put in a huge amount of effort for this project, among other research tasks in design and development, they physically audited over 170 bus stops to ensure they matched with Google Street View images in the D.C. area,” says advisor Jon Froehlich. Involving undergraduate students in research is an area of focus for the Computer Science department and for Dr. Froehlich, who has advised 17 undergraduate student researchers in the past two years. 
 
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Submitted By Elissa Redmiles

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