1. Abstract:
    Prototyping is a key part of the hardware product development process. When done well, prototyping can reduce the risk of a product being delayed or not meeting target specifications. In this talk, we’ll go through the hardware product development process we use at Synapse, how to decide what type of prototypes you should make, and the importance of testing the prototypes that you build. We’ll walk through some examples of product we’ve developed at Synapse like the Nike+ SportWatch GPS and how we prototyped during their development.

    Kate is the Director of Electrical Engineering at Synapse Product Development. She specializes in miniaturized low-power electronic design, including flexible and high density PCB design, low power microcontrollers and radios, batteries, and display technology. She has extensive experience in design for manufacturing, contract manufacturer ramp up, and production test development. Kate received her BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Olin College.

    Bret is a mechanical engineer with a wide range of product development experience. While earning his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at Olin College, he joined the engineering team at Seahorse Power Company (now BigBelly Solar) to design prototypes of the first solar-powered garbage compactors, which are now seen on street corners in cities around the country. He later moved to Slipstream Design in Seattle, where he worked on a diverse set of projects, from ski pole adjustment mechanisms to lab equipment for cleaning rodent cages in research institutions. After a hiatus as a Crew Leader at Washington Trails Association for volunteer trail maintenance crews, he joined the Synapse family in 2010. During his time at Synapse, Bret has worked as a mechanical engineer, a project manager, and a mechanical engineering lead on projects like the Philips AirFloss, the Viableware RAIL, and a number of small, highly integrated consumer electronics. In his current role as Director of Mechanical Engineering, Bret is responsible for ensuring that Synapse’s Mechanical Engineers are delivering high-quality product development consulting to meet their clients’ needs.

    # vimeo.com/175476698 Uploaded 25 Plays 0 Comments
  2. The program hosted a Career Conference for students and alumni on June 22, 2016. This was a unique opportunity for industry friends and potential employers to get to know our students and for our students to make career connections.

    # vimeo.com/174850543 Uploaded 11 Plays 0 Comments
  3. Abstract:
    The goal of my research is to reduce technical barriers to creative expression, with a focus on audio and music. Digital audio production tools (the audio-equivalents to Photoshop) used to make music recordings are typically controlled using low-level technical parameters, imitating their analog counterparts from forty years ago. Learning the mapping between creative intent (“give me a ”) and these low-level parameter setting requires considerable knowledge and experience, discouraging many from using the tools. In my research, I fundamentally rethink the interaction paradigm of audio production tools. My research allows users to communicate using natural methods similar to how one typically communicates audio ideas to another human—e.g. using descriptive language, vocal imitation, examples, and evaluative feedback. Using these methods, even novice users can realize and explore creative ideas, letting them overcome hurdles such as limited technical knowledge and experience with the tools. In this talk, I present systems that implement these interaction approaches and experiments that explore the strengths and limitations of these approaches.

    Mark Cartwright is a Chicago-based computer scientist and musician. He is a Ph.D. candidate in computer science at Northwestern University in Bryan Pardo’s Interactive Audio Lab. His research lies at the intersection of human-computer interaction, audio signal processing, and machine learning. It focuses on creating new interfaces and tools for music production that support creativity by rethinking the traditional interaction paradigms. He received a Bachelor of Music from Northwestern University and a Master of Arts from Stanford University (CCRMA). He won a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to fund his Ph.D. and was a visiting researcher at the Center for Digital Music at Queen Mary University of London and Adobe’s Creative Technology Lab. As a member of the experimental-rock trio volcano!, Mark exercises his passion for low frequencies, enveloping noise, and unusual sound textures using computers, synths, and bass. volcano! has released albums on The Leaf Label and has toured the United States and Europe.

    # vimeo.com/169952032 Uploaded 22 Plays 0 Comments
  4. Abstract:
    A decade ago we saw the birth of Flickr, a media website for social photo sharing. Since then, social media websites have grown to encompass many types of photo, video, audio, and even hyper-link sharing. Many researchers have conducted work on these social-websites in general yet there still exists many opportunities to explore how people engage with media online, specifically multimedia, in social contexts. However, the practice of photography itself is almost two centuries old. What can we further understand about the modern practice of photography (selfies, food, and all) from the works and writings of the masters (both past and contemporary)? In this talk, I will highlight some new challenges for researchers studying social photography and present a few recent findings from an investigation of Flickr which include geographic annotation of photographs and regions, community congregation online, and social engagement.

    David Ayman Shamma is the former Director of the HCI Research Group at Yahoo Labs and Flickr. He received his Ph.D. at Northwestern University in 2005 in Computer Science from the Intelligent Information Laboratory. His personal research investigates social multimedia computing and creativity. He currently serves on the steering committees for ACM Multimedia and ACM TVX. In 2013, he was co-chair of the Technical Program at ACM Multimedia and he is a co-general chair for ACM Creativity and Cognition 2017. In the past, he was a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Keiko-NUS CUTE Center at the National University of Singapore (2014), he was appointed as a Senior Member of the ACM (2012). Before Yahoo!, he was an instructor at the Medill School of Journalism; he has also taught courses in Computer Science and Studio Art. Prior to receiving his Ph.D., he was a visiting research scientist for the Center for Mars Exploration at NASA Ames Research Center.

    # vimeo.com/168832919 Uploaded 64 Plays 0 Comments
  5. Abstract:
    Recent increases in access to smartphones has dramatically altered the accessibility landscape for people with visual impairments in parts of the Global South, where accessible technologies have historically been scarce. Examining ongoing transitions from button-based feature phones to devices with touchscreen interfaces in Bangalore, India, we explore the concept of an accessibility infrastructure that includes a broader set of factors that enable or inhibit the functional use of accessible technologies. We argue that the functional use of these technologies is difficult, if not impossible to extract from the larger social context in which they operate. Through the lens of social infrastructure for technology adoption – such as networks of users and technical support ecologies, we discuss ways in which touchscreens have changed the public participation of people with disabilities in important ways. On the flip side, we look at ways in which the same infrastructures can be barriers to the devices being used to their full potential.

    Joyojeet Pal is an assistant professor at the School of Information at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His work focuses on social studies of accessibility in low- and middle-income countries, specifically in-depth qualitative examinations of access to technology and its impact on social inclusion. Some of his recent work has examined the use of social media in political action in India. He is the producer and researcher of the award-winning documentary “For the Love of a Man.”

    # vimeo.com/164670119 Uploaded 12 Plays 0 Comments

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