Yesterday I went to the research showcase at the UofT Computer Science department called “Research in Action (RIA).” It’s always an idea feast going to research open house, and there were lots of “delicious” projects served yesterday.
Professor Steve Easterbrook showcased a number of projects his undergraduate students worked on to explore how computer can support collaborative science. One of them is called “Breadcrumbs” which allows scientists to save and share graphs of related web pages when browsing for related work. Steve also spoke at last week’s World Usability Day event in Toronto where he talked about the role of software in understanding and responding to the threat of climate change. You can follow his group’s ongoing research on his blog.
I also got to try RearType during the tour (see the image on the right). It’s a text input system that allows you to type on the back of the device. “The aim is to ‘free up’ the front of the device, maximizing the use of a physical display, minimizing the need for an onscreen keyboard and resulting pixel occlusion, and providing a tactile and multi-finger method for text entry – with the potential for knowledge transfer from QWERTY.” I’ve been using my thumbs most of time now typing on a mobile keyboard. This design will allow me to use my all my fingers especially the non-thumb fingers. When using it, it actually feels like I’m playing an instrument like flute. 🙂 This is a collaboration project between Microsoft and the university.
You can check out all the projects showcased yesterday at their website. Also, this is an annual event which you can go in-person next time.