Wellesley Computer Science Students Earn Awards

November 29, 2011

Wellesley College teams have recently showcased their creative computing skills, winning honors in computer interface design competitions.

User Interface Software and Technology’s (UIST) 2011 Student Competition

In a recent competition, 30 teams were challenged to come up with a new and innovative use of the Microsoft Touch Mouse. Entries were judged in three categories and the winners of the American Computing Machinery’s Symposium on UIST 2011 Student Competition were announced late last month.

The project “ TUI.TAR ” won top honors in the “Most Creative” category. The Wellesley College team—composed of Lara Helm '12, Casey Grote '14, Emily Lin '14, and Karen Su '14—was inspired by the “air guitar” to create an interface for the creation of digital music. Users can use the Touch Mouse to pluck, strum, and record chords.

Wellesley juniors Michelle Ferreirae, Margaret Ligon, and Wendy Xu nabbed a second-place finish for the “Most Useful” category for their project, Where’s Bo Peep? , an interactive storytelling game for kids.

“One of the main goals of our project was to inspire creativity and imagination. One of the ways we did this was by using only audio output, so the children can imagine what is going on in the game and it can also inspire more eye contact and social awareness with each other.”

International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) 2011

The lab of Orit Shaer, Clare Booth Luce Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Wellesley, teamed up with a lab at Boston University to compete in the iGEM Americas Regional Jamboree in Indianapolis, Ind., this month. Their project, which addresses issues in synthetic biology, won gold and best software at the competition.

The BU-Wellesley team created a collection of software tools to address specific technical, synthetic challenges, while also advancing the ways in which users interact with computing environments.

“From our collaborators at Wellesley College who specialize in human-computer interaction, I’ve learned a great deal about the user-centered software design process,” said BU team member Craig LaBoda. “This helps us tailor our synthetic biology software for the end users through feedback at different stages in the design process.”