MDP Research Projects

Participants | Research Projects

The MDP is committed to offering students novel and creative design opportunities exploring the diverse, multidisciplinary fields of energy, environment, healthcare, and culture. Student design teams will be fully immersed in the research laboratory, collaborating with their faculty co-mentors, and using state-of-the-art equipment. These projects will fully engage the students and provide them the opportunity to see how multidisciplinary collaboration can lead to innovative results.

The following faculty-mentored design projects are available during the 2010-2011 MDP. Select a link for an overview of the project, associated faculty co-mentors, project prerequisites, and related publications.

MDP Design Projects

    1) 3-D Microfabrication Techniques for Vascularized Tissue Constructs via Angiogenesis and Vasculogenesis

    2) Assessing Occupants’ Risk of Injury in Existing Buildings during Seismic Excitation

    3) Automation of Landscape Meshing and Parameterization of Flood Inundation Models

    4) Bootstrapping a Hackerspace

    5) Circuit Bending: Technology and Community Outreach for Children in Latino Communities

    6) Design Thinking and Creativity

    7) Design, Culture and Sustainability

    8) Development of Platforms Using Dielectrophoresis and Microfluidics to Isolate Stem Cells

    9) Earthquakes, Government, and Public Attitudes

    10) eDance: An Interactive Media Kiosk for Physical Rehabilitation, Fitness and Dance Education

    11) Health and Healing among Women in the African Diaspora: Exploring the Connections between Ghana and the United States

    12) Investigating Obstacles to Water Recycling and Re-use

    13) Microbial Desalination Fuel Cell Research

    14) Multimedia Feedback System for Stress and Pain Reduction

    15) Presenting Feedback: Designing the Packaging and Installation Process for uci@home

    16) Surface Functionalization of the Carbon Nanoelectrodes for Micro Biofuel Cell

    17) Traditions and Transitions: An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Investigation of African American and Chicana/o-Latina/o Experiences

    18) UCI Energy Invitational

    19) Using Multimedia and Visualization to Help English Language Learners Understand Environmental Systems

  Project #1:  3-D Microfabrication Techniques for Vascularized Tissue Constructs via Angiogenesis and Vasculogenesis
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Christopher C. HughesMolecular Biology & Biochemistry

Professor Steven C. GeorgeBiomedical Engineering

Professor Abraham P. LeeBiomedical Engineering

Description:  This project aims at developing a 3-D microfluidic platform that can provide a three-dimensional biological and anatomically correct environment for growing a human microtissue with perfused human capillaries in vitro. In order to create a biomimetic environment for culturing a 3-D microtissue, two specific techniques will be developed in this project. The first aim is to develop a microfabrication process to create a 3-D and multilayered microfluidic platform. The second is to build an external system that can provide a biomimetic environment for long-term culturing of a microtissue on top of a microscope. The achievement of this project is based on the multidisciplinary integration of (1) microfabrication technique, (2) microfluidics, and understanding of (3) physiology of microcirculation and stromal/endothelial cells.

Students’ Involvement and Expected Outcomes: Students who will participate in this project will be involved in the following tasks:

(1) Device fabrication: Develop and fine tune the microfabrication process of the microfluidic platform.

(2) System integration: Characterize the cell culture system built for culturing 3-D microtissue by using the microfabricated microfluidic platform.

(3) Physiology of microcirculation and stromal/endothelial cells: Work on literature search on the physiology of a living tissue and apply it to the design of the microfluidic platform, such as hydrodynamic condition of microcirculation system and behaviors of stromal cells and endothelial cells.

The expected outcome of this project is to build a 3-D microfluidic platform that can culture 3-D microtissue by using a culturing system on top of an inverted microscope that can continuously image the growth of capillary formation in the tissue. Students should develop a profound knowledge of the physiology of microcirculation in living tissue that can also apply to related engineering problems.

Prerequisites: The student should major in biomedical engineering. Experience with CAD software, such as AutoCAD or Adobe illustrator, is required for this project since routine design of microfluidic system is important in this project. Experience with hardware and software installation is a plus but not required to this project. Students will work to build the culture and imaging system. Experience with literature research is also a plus to this project.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   L.B. Wood, A. Das, R.D. Kamm, and H.H. Asada, “A Stochastic Broadcast Feedback Approach to Regulating Cell Population Morphology for Microfluidic angiogenesis Platforms,” IEEE T. Bio-med. Eng., vol. 56, pp. 2299-2303, (2009).:
   S. Chung, R Sudo, P.J. Mack, C.-R Wan, V. Vickermanc and R.D. Kamm, “Cell migration into scaffolds under co-culture conditions in a microfluidic platform,” Lab Chip, 9, pp. 269-275 (2009).:
   R. Sudo, S. Chung, I.K. Zervantonakis, V. Vickerman, Y. Toshimitsu, L.G. Griffith, and Roger D. Kamm, “Transport-mediated angiogenesis in 3D epithelial Coculture,” The FASEB Journal, vol. 23, pp. 2155-2164 (2009).:
   M.J. Powers, K. Domansky, M.R. Kaazempur-Mofrad, A. Kalezi. A. Capitano, A. Upadhyaya, P. Kurzawski, K.E. Wack, D. B. Stolz, R. Kamm, and L. Griffith, “A microfabricated array bioreactor for perfused 3D liver culture,” Biotechnol. Bioeng., vol. 78, pp. 257-269 (2002).:
   Y.-C. Toh, C. Zhang, J. Zhang, Y.M. Khong, S. Chang, V.D. Samper, D. van Noort, D.W. Hutmacherbgh and H. Yu, “A novel 3D mammalian cell perfusion-culture system in microfluidic channels,” Lab Chip, vol. 7, pp. 302-309 (2007).:
   C. Zhang, Z. Zhao, N.A.A. Rahim, D. van Noort, and H. Yu, “Towards a human-on-chip: culturing multiple cell types on a chip with compartmentalized micro-environments,” Lab Chip, vol. 9, pp. 3185-3192 (2009).:
   R.H. Adams and K. Alitalo, “Molecular regulation of angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis,” Nature, vol. 8, pp. 464-478 (2007).:
   C.M. Ghajar, X. Chen, J.W. Harris, V. Suresh, C.C.W. Hughes, N.L. Jeon, A.J. Putnam, and S.C. George, “The effect of matrix density on the regulation of 3-D capillary morphogenesis,” Biophys. J., vol. 94, pp. 1930-1941 (2008).:
   M. Kamei, W.B. Saunders, K.J. Bayless, L. Dye, G.E. Davis and B.M. Weinstein, “Endothelial tubes assemble from intracellular vacuoles in vivo,” Nature, vol. 442, pp. 453-456 (2006).:

  Project #2:  Assessing Occupants’ Risk of Injury in Existing Buildings during Seismic Excitation
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Farzin ZareianCivil & Environmental Engineering

Professor Lisa Grant LudwigProgram in Public Health

Description:  The goal of this activity is to develop an applied method to quantify injuries in a seismic event and estimate such quantity for typical buildings in Southern California. The first question to address is: How can we describe the type of injuries that can happen during a seismic event? The answer to this question can depend on many factors, such as type of building, occupancy, ground motion intensity, and many others that will be addressed by the research group. The answer to this question requires understanding/expertise in Structural Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Health Science. The answer will be a vector of parameters describing the type of injuries that can happen within a seismic event, and it is denoted as the injury-vector.

The second question to answer is: How can we estimate the injury-vector using available simulation tools? The answer to this question lies in the recent advancement in loss estimation, statistics, and structural engineering; however, a fresh look at the problem from a public health perspective can increase the accuracy of estimates of injuries in a seismic event.

Students’ Involvement and Expected Outcomes: Students are required to attend classes such as: PubHlth 90 NaturalDisasters, and CEE 149 Introduction to Earthquake Engineering to become familiar with the basic concepts required to perform the proposed research. In addition, students need to have weekly group meetings directed by the co-mentors to complete the required steps for completion of the project. During these meetings students will discuss the assigned special readings, computer simulation, and other activities assigned to them. As a result of this involvement students will become the new breed of engineers and scientists who not only understand the earthquake problem, but also are trained with hands-on tools for estimating the rate of injury in a building in a seismic event.

Prerequisites: Students need to be in their senior year of study, in good academic standing, and willing to work hard. The research team requires students from Civil & Environmental Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Statistics, and Health Sciences.

  Project #3:  Automation of Landscape Meshing and Parameterization of Flood Inundation Models
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Brett F. SandersCivil & Environmental Engineering

Professor William M. TomlinsonInformatics

Description:  Hind- and forecasting of flood inundation events is a common task in civil engineering, urbanized in particular due to their high social and economic value. However, urban areas constitute geometrically complex landscapes that are challenging to characterize within a flood inundation model. A multitude of fine resolution geospatial information layers may be required to capture site conditions such as preferential flow paths, drainage networks and surface dependent resistances to flow. These geospatial information layers are generally managed within a geographic information system (GIS) and processing is required to produce inputs to flood inundation modeling software, including unstructured terrain meshes and input parameter files. The conversion process is traditionally manually intensive, often exceeding model run times, and generally constituting a majority of a project's duration.

This multidisciplinary project, falling within the "Environment" section of the design program, seeks to combine expertise from the fields of Information Technology, Geographic Information Science and Hydrodynamic Modeling to create software tools capable of automating high-resolution flood inundation model parameterization. Examples of automation may be extraction of geospatial data from data warehouses and portals, generation of geometric instruction for meshing programs and subsequent mesh generation, interpolation of terrain elevations to generated meshes, creation of parameter files for surface resistance and block effects due to buildings and storm drain networks. A successful implementation of these software tools will streamline flood model generation conducive to complex, high-resolution models being generated in much reduced time frames, benefiting both researchers and engineering practitioners. Flood model output consists of detailed information about flood depths and velocities, which in turn can be used for planning, insurance, and emergency response purposes.

Students’ Involvement and Expected Outcomes:

Students will be expected to gather background knowledge into geospatial data formats, techniques for unstructured Delaunay triangle mesh generation, input requirements for hydrodynamic models as well as best programming practices and languages.

Through this research project students will gain experience in dealing with practical problems at the interface of civil engineering, hydrologic science and software engineering, and will gain valuable knowledge in geospatial application development as well as parameterization of hydrodynamic models.

Outcomes will be in form of online applets or software tools aiding unstructured meshing, parameterization of hydrodynamic models, and visualization of model results in tools such as Google Earth.

Prerequisites: This research project is open to students with upper division standing and an entrepreneurial spirit. For timely completion of the project, students are preferred to have skills in at least one of the following fields:

- Computer programming using Ruby, Javascript, Java, C or Python
- GIS (ArcMap, Spatial Analyst, ArcObjects)
- Database knowledge (SQL)
- Linux/Unix knowledge. Must be able to navigate and work within a command line interface and its tools (make, gcc, etc).
- Programming of Web applications. Ruby on Rails/Sinatra or similar Web framework knowledge a plus.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   National Academy of Sciences, 2009, Mapping the Zone: Improving Flood Map Accuracy: Summary:
   National Academy of Sciences, 2009, Mapping the Zone: Improving Flood Map Accuracy: Full Text:
   Schubert, J.E., Sanders, B.F., Smith, M.J. and Wright, N.G. Unstructured mesh generation and landcover-based resistance for hydrodynamic modeling of urban flooding, Advances in Water Resources, 31, 1603-1621, 2008.:
   Gallegos, H.A. Schubert, J.E. and Sanders, B.F. Two-dimensional, high-resolution modeling of urban dam-break flooding: a case study of Baldwin Hills, California, Advances in Water Resources, 32, 1323-1335, 2009.:
   Sanders, B. F., Begnudelli, L., BREZO: A hydrodynamic flood simulation algorithm, Online introduction to BREZO available at:
   ESRI Software 9.3 Library - What is ArcGIS?:

  Project #4:  Bootstrapping a Hackerspace
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Donald J. PattersonInformatics

Professor Peter O. KrappFilm & Media Studies

Description:  The “nixipi” hackerspace lab aims to be a facility that provides the tools and support necessary for extracurricular student-initiated electronics-based creative projects. The structure of the facility will be based on “hackerspaces” and the organization itself will be a continuation of the technical DIY cultural movement as seen in popular culture institutions such as Make magazine and the Burning Man festival. This funding for this project will be used to bootstrap the development of the facility. An executive council will be established to schedule programs, set up policies and procedures, and procure initial materials and equipment. Any additional students who express interest will be recruited as members to use the capabilities of the facility. The main programming of the nixipi lab includes a monthly workshop run by an expert followed by open lab sessions to complete workshop or personal projects initiated by members. Initial workshops and projects will be based on the Arduino micro-processor platform to leverage an existing open source community and local knowledge.

Students’ Involvement and Expected Outcomes: Students will be given the responsibility of maintaining the organization specified. As a result, students will offer other students a chance to participate and be involved in creative technical projects. Students will develop project/lab management and hobby electronics skills.

Prerequisites: UCI students in good standing who are interested in participating in workshops and have some knowledge of open source programming. Project management skills helpful.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   The nixipi Constitution:
   The nixipi Lab Manifesto:
   KQED report of the Maker Culture and Rocketboom’s report of the NYC Resistors hackerspace:
   Hackspace Design Patterns:
   Research studies conducted by Jarkko Moilanen on hackerspaces:

  Project #5:  Circuit Bending: Technology and Community Outreach for Children in Latino Communities
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Gillian R. HayesInformatics

Professor Joseph L. MahoneyEducation

Dr. Garnet D. HertzInformatics

Description:  Do-It-Yourself (D.I.Y.) culture uses available, inexpensive materials to shape personal cultural identity by allowing the individual to create what is seen to be missing in the mainstream. For under-represented groups, the ability to use technologies in novel and innovative ways to build and present these cultural identities can be a significant motivator for learning STEM concepts and a means for increasing feelings of empowerment, self-esteem, and love of learning. This research will examine the role that novel informal learning experiences can play in encouraging participation for underrepresented groups in STEM.

There are three specific goals of this work. First, we will develop educational curricula and materials that engage broader participation at every level of computing and other STEM related disciplines. Second, we will use this curriculum to prepare the next generation of leaders to approach human challenges through creative technical solutions. Finally, we will tie STEM educational activities into research activities. We believe this close connection will encourage middle school and undergraduate students to pursue advanced education in STEM disciplines and will prepare Dr. Hertz to create innovative curricula when he moves on to a faculty position.

We will accomplish these goals through the design, implementation, and evaluation of two activities:

● A series of hands-on workshops introducing STEM through D.I.Y to middle-school aged children in underrepresented and low income Latino communities.

● Involvement of undergraduate students with similar cultural backgrounds as mentors and workshop assistants as part of research and outreach activities.

Prerequisites: Students should be interested in education, after school programs, community-based research and/or computing. Although not required, Spanish speaking is a plus, and involvement in the Civic and Community Engagement Minor is also a plus.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   Marcu, G., Kaufman, S.J., Lee J.K., Black, R.W., Dourish, P., Hayes, G.R., & Richardson, D.J. (2010). Design and Evaluation of a Computer Science and Engineering Course for Middle School Girls. In Proceedings of SIGCSE 2010, Milwuakee, WI. 234-238.:
   Mahoney, J.L., & Eccles, J.S. (2008). Organized activities for children from low- and middle-income families. In A. Booth & A.C. Crouter (Eds.), Disparities in School Readiness: How do Families Contribute to Successful and Unsuccessful Transitions into School? (207-222). New York, NY: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.:
   Margolis, J. & Fisher, A. (2002). Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.:
   Link for Pictures and More Information:

  Project #6:  Design Thinking and Creativity
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Sanjoy MazumdarPlanning, Policy, & Design

Professor André van der HoekInformatics

Description:  How do designers think when they create? How do designers learn to create? How do design studios teach design? What are alternative ways to teach/learn design? Can IT and/or computer programs help study the process of design and, if so, what IT tools would enable better analysis? Can design ethnography yield more? This is the general direction of this project. We will decide on a small set of questions depending on interest.

Students’ Involvement and Expected Outcomes: Students will be expected to attend weekly meetings, conduct archival and field research, develop ideas and and possibly technologies for recording the various approaches. Involvement can be in selected components or in all aspects of the research. Individual and group projects may be assigned. Possible outcomes include paper, projects involving design, physical and/or electronic modeling and media.

Prerequisites: High academic standing and interest in design, culture, and technology.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   Schön, Donald A. (1983). The Reflective Practitioner, NY, Basic Books.:
   Schön, Donald A. (1988). Toward a marriage of artistry & applied science in the architectural design studio. Journal of Architectural Education, 41, 4-10.:
   Ledewitz, S. (1985). Models of design in studio teaching, Journal of Architectural Education, 38(2), 2-8.:
   Lackney, J. (1999). A history of the studio-based learning model. Retrieved April 20, 2010, from:
   Schön, Donald - other works.:

  Project #7:  Design, Culture and Sustainability
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Sanjoy MazumdarPlanning, Policy, & Design

Professor Alladi VenkateshPaul Merage School of Business

Description:  How have cultures dealt with the nexus of design and sustainability? How have particular design approaches fared with respect to energy consciousness, passive and active design features, use of local materials and recycling? This project will have several components: examination of cultural and vernacular approaches to energy efficient design, mapping of energy conscious strategies and how they fit the lifestyle, modeling of the effectiveness of designs from energy and cultural viewpoints.

Students’ Involvement and Expected Outcomes: Students will be expected to attend weekly meetings, conduct archival and field research, develop ideas and and possibly technologies for recording the various approaches. Involvement can be in selected components or in all aspects of the research. Individual and group projects may be assigned. Possible outcomes include paper, projects involving design, physical and/or electronic modeling and media.

Prerequisites: High academic standing and interest in design, culture, and technology.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   National Renewable Energy Laboratory: Our Home: Buildings of the land: Energy efficient design guidelines for Indian housing.:
   Energy Efficient Design in the Middle East: Approaches and Challenges:
   Emmanuel, M. Rohinton (2004) An urban approach to climate-sensitive design : strategies for the tropics. New York : Spon Press.:
   Rapoport, Amos (1969) House form and culture. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: PrenticeHall.:

  Project #8:  Development of Platforms Using Dielectrophoresis and Microfluidics to Isolate Stem Cells
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Abraham P. LeeBiomedical Engineering

Professor Lisa FlanaganPathology

Description:  The goal of this project is to develop of a label-free method for purifying stem cells prior to transplantation to improve the use of stem cells as therapies for human disease and injury. Generation of purified homogeneous populations of cells for transplantation will help define the precise contributions of specific cell types to repair and remove unwanted tumorigenic cells prior to transplantation.

We have found that dielectrophoresis (DEP) distinguishes neural stem cell types without the use of markers, which are necessary for most conventional cell separation techniques. We are currently developing microfluidic DEP devices to efficiently separate neural stem cell subpopulations based on their frequency responses to DEP. The aims of this project are to: (1) design and fabricate devices to generate cells sorted by DEP parameters, and (2) explore the biological differences among stem cells tied to specific lineages. This project combines the fields of engineering (DEP, microfluidics, fabrication, design principles), biology (neural stem cells, developmental biology) and health care (cell transplantation to treat disease and injury).

Students' Involvement and Expected Outcomes:

(1) Device design: Students will design high throughput, continuous microfluidic sorting devices. The design considerations include the inlets and the collection outlets while maintaining the flow/shear parameters of the single channel devices developed in our labs.

(2) Device fabrication and testing: Students will develop novel microfabrication processes to realize the high throughput devices. This includes mask layout and developing the bonding and surface treatment of the devices. It also includes the packaging and testing of the devices with cells in cell media and DEP electrolyte.

(3) Characterization of isolated cells: Students will test the phenotype of isolated cells by differentiation assays, analysis of cell membranes, and exploration of biological pathways that may contribute to the dielectric properties of specific neural stem cell populations.

Prerequisites: Students should be majoring in biomedical engineering or biology. Experience with cell culture is beneficial. Students majoring in computer science or a related discipline would also be considered to help automate various tasks of the project.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   Flanagan, L.A., J. Lu, L. Wang, S.A. Marchenko, N. Jeon, A.P. Lee, E.S. Monuki. Unique dielectric properties distinguish stem cells and their differentiated progeny. Stem Cells 26(3): 656-665, 2008.:
   Wang, L., L.A. Flanagan, A.P. Lee. Side-wall vertical electrodes for lateral field microfluidic applications. J. Microelectromechanical Systems 16(2): 454-461, 2007.:
   Wang, L., L.A. Flanagan, N. Jeon, E.S. Monuki, A.P. Lee. Dielectrophoresis switching with vertical sidewall electrodes for microfluidic flow cytometry. Lab on a Chip 7(9): 1114-1120, 2007.:
   Wang, L., J. Lu, S.A. Marchenko, E.S. Monuki, L.A. Flanagan, A.P. Lee. Dual frequency dielectrophoresis with interdigitated sidewall electrodes for microfluidic flow-through separation of beads and cells. Electrophoresis 30(5): 782-791, 2009.:

  Project #9:  Earthquakes, Government, and Public Attitudes
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Lisa Grant LudwigProgram in Public Health

Professor Katherine TatePolitical Science

Description:  Students will take two 199 classes as part of an investigation of government programs and public attitudes on earthquake safety. The central research questions are how prepared are levels of government for an earthquake in southern California, and how prepared is the American public more broadly? Students will obtain IRB approval to interview public officials, analyze available public opinion data sets, and review reports and existing websites designed to promote safety in the event of an earthquake. Public Health Professor Lisa Grant Ludwig and Political Science Professor Katherine Tate, both at UC Irvine, will supervise this project. In the spring, the student(s) will have completed an 18–20-page report on the politics of earthquake planning. Students will apply for UROP funding and participate in UROP programs. As a Multidisciplinary Design Program (MDP) Fellow, he or she will also participate in workshops organized by Calit2 and UROP. This project is limited to two undergraduates.

This collaborative research project will help produce independent-minded UCI undergraduates interested in graduate education in environmental science, public health, political science, or public policy, or those interested in pursuing careers in government or private agencies, working in policy and public safety.

Prerequisites: This independent study program is open to both public health and political science majors in their junior or senior year. Public health majors are expected to have a 3.5 GPA within their concentration. Political Science majors must meet the Department’s qualifications for the Honors Program, i.e., a 3.5 GPA in Political Science and 3.2 GPA overall. Students, however, can petition the project supervisors for waivers to these requirements. Participating students will be required to take either PH 90 on natural disasters, taught by Ludwig, or PH 161 on environmental science, also taught by Ludwig. Students will also be required to take during the year PS 120W, a writing course on the study of public opinion, taught by Tate. Shared office space may be available in the School of Social Sciences for the student researchers.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   Yeats, Robert S. 2001. Living with Earthquakes in California, A Survivor's Guide. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University Press.:
   Various U.S. Geological Survey reports on the “Great Shake Out” earthquake scenario.:
   Selections from Norrander, Barbara and Clyde Wilcox. 2010. Understanding Public Opinion, 3d. Washington, DC: CQ Press.:

  Project #10:  eDance: An Interactive Media Kiosk for Physical Rehabilitation, Fitness and Dance Education
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor John L. CrawfordDance

Professor David J. ReinkensmeyerMechanical & Aerospace Engineering

Professor Deva K. RamananComputer Science

Professor Lisa M. NaugleDance

Description:  This project will design and implement a portable eDance kiosk to support applications of interactive digital media for physical rehabilitation, fitness and education. The primary goal of the project is to create a computer-aided physical environment that provides an engaging and appropriately challenging user experience for whole body interaction. Building on current research in computer vision, motion tracking, rehabilitation medicine, media arts and dance education, a multidisciplinary student design team will employ a user-centered iterative prototyping methodology to research the topic areas, determine the feature set, produce the media content, and implement and test the eDance kiosk prototype.

The main software platform for this project will be the Active Space media performance system, which provides video-based motion tracking, real-time video and audio synthesis, high bandwidth networking, and multi-channel visuals and sound. As a key enabling technology in the Calit2 Culture and Healthcare application areas, Active Space is being used to create physical rehabilitation environments, interactive media installations and interdisciplinary dance and theatre performances. The system continually senses, measures and responds to the movement of participants, providing an array of tools with which to engage and "play the space" as an instrument.

Students’ Involvement and Expected Outcomes: Activities will include:
- Reviewing essential background literature regarding current research in computer vision, motion tracking, rehabilitation medicine, media arts and dance education
- Researching features and limitations of existing game platforms and related products, including Wii Fit, Xbox Kinect, Eye Toy Kinetic, etc.
- Familiarization with Active Space interactive media system
- Producing an initial conceptual design document based on user-centered design principles
- Implementing the eDance kiosk using iterative prototyping methodology
- Designing and developing media content for the kiosk based on dance education principles
- Conducting user testing and demonstrating the prototype
- Producing an as-built design document

Expected outcomes and skills developed by the students will include:
- Background knowledge on computer vision, motion tracking, rehabilitation medicine, media arts and dance education
- Experience with the Active Space interactive media system
- Experience with user-centered conceptual design and testing
- Experience with iterative prototyping methodology and related documentation
- Experience with developing media content

Prerequisites: Students who have successfully completed coursework in one or more of the following areas will be given preference:

- Computer graphics
- Biomedical engineering
- Machine learning
- Software design and prototyping
- Visual arts
- Choreography
- Dance education

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   J. Crawford. “Active Space: Embodied Media in Performance.” ACM SIGGRAPH 2005 Sketches. Los Angeles, CA: ACM, 2005.:
   D. Ramanan, D. A. Forsyth, A. Zisserman. "Tracking People by Learning their Appearance" IEEE Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence (PAMI). Jan 2007.:
   D. Rowe. Reviewing Detections and Tracking Approaches, from "Towards Robust Multiple-Target Tracking in Unconstrained Human-Populated Environments." Ph.D. Thesis, Chapter 2, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain, 2008.:
   L. Zhao. Synthesis and acquisition of Laban Movement Analysis qualitative parameters for communicative gestures. PhD thesis, Computer and Information Science, Univ. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 2001.:
   Video feature on John Crawford's Dance-IT interactive dance media kiosk.:

  Project #11:  Health and Healing among Women in the African Diaspora: Exploring the Connections between Ghana and the United States
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Jessica MillwardHistory

Dr. Zahra G. AhmedPolitical Science

Description:  This project grows out of our work as founding members of the “Collaborative Conversations on the Continent,” partnership between the University of Ghana, Legon and UC Irvine. During summer 2010, twenty-four UCI faculty, staff, and students embarked on a three-week cultural and educational exchange with students and faculty at the University of Ghana, Legon.

One of the most persistent threads emerging during “Collaborative Conversations,” was a research cluster consisting of UCI African American faculty and students interested in the role of health and healing among women in the African Diaspora. Participants have continued this conversation upon returning to the United States. The disciplinary focus of this team spans the fields of African American Studies, Biology, Business, Dance, History, Political Science, and Public Health Policy. The collective endeavors of this group are yielding research on: (1) women and health during the Atlantic slave trade, (2) cultural continuums between Africa and America, (3) dance as healing, (4) black women’s liberation theory, (5) digital mediums and expressive culture as a method for health dissemination, and (6) transnational AIDS/HIV prevention programs.

This particular project will draw on the six above mentioned themes and produce several outputs including a photography compilation and an on-line social networking site. Photographic documentation produced by the team will illuminate those aspects of culture and context that speak strongly and directly to the research goals as well as the team’s overarching vision. The social networking site will focus on building relationships among women and other parties who share an interest in holistic approaches to African women’s health and healing.

Ultimately, the strengths of this project lie in its ability to put theory into practice. The added emphasis on the mentoring of African descended women as they develop and deploy a research agenda that includes women from the continent of Africa furthers the notion of community healing. Moreover, by focusing on cultural retentions and health survival strategies that employ the energy produced by the human body, i.e. such as through dance and the dissemination of healing practices, this project has the potential to challenge how we understand the evolution health and healing among women from both individual and community perspectives.

Prerequisites: Students need to be in their senior year of study, in good academic standing, and willing to work hard.

  Project #12:  Investigating Obstacles to Water Recycling and Re-use
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Stanley B. GrantChemical Engineering & Materials Science

Professor Jean-Daniel M. SaphoresCivil & Environmental Engineering

Description:  We will first rely on engineering cost estimates and standard engineering economics tools to explore at what price levels it would make economic sense to invest in piping for recycling/re-using wastewater for Irvine or another local city (based on data availability). One key to the success of water recycling and re-use is public acceptance. Our second step will therefore be to organize a survey (either at UCI or working in cooperation with a local water utility) to understand public perception of water recycling/reuse. To model public perception, we will rely on discrete choice models, such as simple logits or rank ordered models similar to those in Nixon et al. (2009) and Saphores et al. (2006, 2007).

Student Involvement: Students will gain an appreciation of multiple design constraints and opportunities—including technical, political, social and financial—that must be integrated in designs for next-generation water systems. Students may engage in outreach activities, including contacts with local government policy makers, regional water managers, public consumers, and K-12 students.

Prerequisites: The program requires that students be seniors or motivated juniors in a relevant major, and encourages first-generation college students and students from non-English speaking households.

  Project #13:  Microbial Desalination Fuel Cell Research
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Sunny JiangCivil & Environmental Engineering

Professor Yun WangMechanical & Aerospace Engineering

Description:  Desalination of seawater and brackish water is considered to be an important supplement to the dwindling drinking water supply. Seven seawater desalination plants will be constructed in California in the next couple years to meet Californian’s drinking water demand. However, the current desalination technology is highly energy intensive. The recent development of microbial fuel cells has offered an interesting idea of converting wastewater into electricity by using the electron-transfer ability of bacteria. Bacteria produce electrons when they degrade organic matters in wastewater to grow. The electron-transfer from bacterial biofilm attached to anode through wire to cathode will produce electric current in the wire. Separation of the anode and cathode by anion and cation membranes and placing salt water between the two membranes will allow desalination of the salt water. A proof-of-concept desalination fuel cell was constructed and reported in China last year. This project will construct a microbial desalination fuel cell as the first step. For the second phase of the project, we will explore scale-up possibility of the fuel cells.

The project requires a multidisciplinary team. Environmental engineering background is needed to design and construct the fuel cell. Microbiology background is needed to establish the biofilm and monitor the physiology and growth rate. Electrical background is needed to construct the electrical circuit and measure current. Chemical engineering expertise is needed to understand electrodialysis for desalination. This project addresses the energy and environmental nexus.

Students’ Involvement and Expected Outcomes: Three students in the school of engineering have expressed interest in this project. All students will be responsible for design, construction and testing of the system. The skills they will develop during the project include critical thinking ability, troubleshooting through literature research and discussion, hands-on construction of a device, microbiological and environmental engineering techniques and methodology. Students will be required to work as a team to prepare a UROP proposal to demonstrate their understanding of the project and to make a final presentation at the UCI Undergraduate Research Symposium. Students will also be encouraged to enter other design competitions to broaden their involvement in innovative research.

Prerequisites: Environmental biology, environmental engineering, chemical engineering, civil engineering with GPA 3.0 or above, motivated towards the project.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   Cao X. et al. A New Method for Water Desalination Using Microbial Desalination Cells. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2009, 43, 7148–7152:

  Project #14:  Multimedia Feedback System for Stress and Pain Reduction
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Mark BachmanElectrical Engineering & Computer Science

Professor Zeev KainAnesthesiology

Description:  This project will explore the use of mobile Web-based technologies, coupled with portable physiological sensing, for the delivery of multimedia intended to assist a patient in reaching a relaxed or meditative state in an everyday setting. Ultimately, this kind of technology can be used to help patients reduce stress or pain, especially during perioperative care.

One or more physiological monitors (e.g., pulse monitoring, skin conductivity) will be developed that are portable and can easily be worn by the patient. These will communicate their data to a Web server that will analyze the data, then provide information to a Web-enabled multimedia pad (e.g., iPad, Galaxy pad) held by the patient, which in turn will provide feedback to the patient in the form of visual and aural (multimedia) response.

Students’ Involvement and Expected Outcomes:

1. Students will develop one or more portable physiological sensors and have them communicate with a computer; this will in turn serve data to a Web browser.

2. Students will develop Web-browser based multimedia applications that respond visually and with sound based on data received from a Web server.

3. Students will explore the effectiveness of physiological monitoring for quantifying pain or stress, and for multimedia feedback in reducing stress.

Prerequisites: Two to five students may participate in this project.

One or more students must have ability to develop multimedia (animations/video/sound) and do computer programming, preferably in Flash (Actionscript) or using Processing (similar to C language)

One or more students must have ability to build and debug basic electronics.

All students must have aptitude for building things.

Prefer students who have an aptitude for art, animation, and music.

Interested students should do appropriate Internet searches to understand how pain and stress can be monitored using physiological sensors, what sensors are already used for this purpose, and what technologies exist for providing assistive feedback in stress reduction or meditation. Students will be expected to start the project by reporting on these topics.

  Project #15:  Presenting Feedback: Designing the Packaging and Installation Process for uci@home
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Daniel S. StokolsPlanning, Policy, & Design

Professor David P. KirkbyPhysics & Astronomy

Description:  The student team will be responsible for designing the packaging and installation process and preparing reference documentation and instructions for the uci@home energy monitoring and feedback hardware system. The system is composed of 5–10 plug pass-through electricity monitoring devices, which measure energy use in 3-second increments as well as ambient temperature and lighting. Data from each monitoring device is sent via a wireless network to a central home hub that archives the data and makes it available to users via a Web browser. The team will design the packaging for the system as well as the self-installation process that users should follow. We envisage that some documentation and instructions will be printed and some available via a Web browser, and should include:

- An overview of the system’s purpose
- Instructions for unpacking and installing the system
- A description of the system’s operating modes
- Answers to frequently asked questions

This project supports the energy research focus of Calit2 through the monitoring of and provision of feedback on end-use energy consumption in residential buildings. The design questions being addressed in the project are how to package and describe the system in a way that meets the following goals:

- Minimizes excess packaging waste while protecting the devices in transit
- Presents the system in an attractive and intuitive manner to consumers
- Provides clear and sufficient documentation and instructions for users of all technical abilities to be able to set up without assistance
- Anticipates and addresses the most likely sources of confusion and malfunction
- Engages users and encourages them to be more aware of their energy use

The project is interdisciplinary in nature because it requires students to think about issues of sustainable design, appealing presentation/marketing, and usability.

Students’ Involvement and Expected Outcomes: The student team will be responsible for the planning and implementation of the project, with assistance and guidance from the research team. Activities include:

- Determining necessary packing requirements for the system
- Designing attractive packaging, including use of logo/artwork
- Creating printed and Web-based documentation
- Testing installation instructions for ease of use

The outcome will be the completed packaging and instruction manual as well as online and/or software instructions. Skills that the students will develop as a result of this involvement include usability (Web and product based), design, and marketing skills.

Prerequisites: Interested students should be Junior or higher standing with a 3.0 or higher GPA. The team should include at least one member with basic Web design skills, one member with graphic design skills, and one member with an interest or background in social science, education or informatics for usability and instructional design.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   Darby, S. (2006). The effectiveness of feedback on energy consumption: A review for DEFRA of the literature on metering, billing and direct displays. Oxford: Environmental Change Institute–104.:
   Dutta, P., Taneja, J., Jeong, J., X., and Culler, D. (2008). A Building Block Approach to Sensornet System. Proceedings of SenSys ’08.:
   Fischer, C. (2008). Feedback on household electricity consumption: a tool for saving energy? Energy Efficiency 1:79–104.:
   Kirkby, D. and Stokols, D. (2009). UCI@home project, Retrieved from::
   Munguia Tapia, E., Intille, S.S., Lopez, L., and Larson, K. (2006). The design of a portable kit of wireless sensors fro naturalistic data collection. Proceedings of PERVASIVE 2006. Berlin: Springer-Verlag.:
   US Energy Information Administration. (2010).:
   Wester, M. and Brown, J.S. (1996). Designing Calm Technology. PowerGrid Journal.:

  Project #16:  Surface Functionalization of the Carbon Nanoelectrodes for Micro Biofuel Cell
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Marc J. MadouMechanical & Aerospace Engineering

Professor Reginald M. PennerChemistry

Description:  The goal of this project is to create a half-cell of micro biofuel cell that will employ functionalization of carbon nanoelectrodes with the enzyme Glucose Oxidase and a redox mediator (such as hydroquinone). The student group will perform chemical functionalization, surface characterization and electrochemical characterization to analyze electron transfer of the resulting half-cell. Students will perform and compare several functionalization and immobilization techniques and will optimize performance of the half cell of the micro biofuel cell. The micro biofuel cell is designed to be used as a power supply for implantable biomedical microsystems such as biosensor platforms and drug delivery systems.

Students’ Involvement and Expected Outcomes: Students will perform chemical surface modification, functionalization, surface characterization, electrochemistry, and modeling of the electron transfer kinetics (using commercial PDE solvers).

Prerequisites: Students must have extensive chemical laboratory experience; biochemistry and surface characterization experience is preferred.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   Adam Heller "Miniature Biofuel Cell", Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2004, 6, 209-216.:

  Project #17:  Traditions and Transitions: An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Investigation of African American and Chicana/o-Latina/o Experiences
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Bridget R. CooksArt History

Professor Ana E. RosasChicano/Latino Studies

Description:  Our multidisciplinary project will expose students to a range of interdisciplinary research methods to interrogate the generational traditions and transitions of African Americans and Chicana/o-Latina/os in the United States. Using journalism, literature, oral history, visual images, and other forms of documentation and representations of the African American and Chicana/o-Latina/o experience this project will train students to investigate underestimated catalytic interactions, locations, moments, and relationships that paved the way for generational traditions and transitions that define the activist platforms, coming of age, and survival of African Americans and Chicana/o-Latina/os. Through bi-weekly group meetings, research methodology workshops, and close supervision of student research, our project will prepare students to recognize and pursue the generative potential of interdisciplinary approaches to underexplored cultural, political, and social questions that span generations of African Americans and Chicana/os-Latina/os. Our sustained consideration of the utility and rigors of varying forms of archival and oral history research will enrich students’ understanding of the diversity of approaches, actions, developments, issues, and sources framing the investigation of interests and relationships that divide and bind generations of African Americans and Chicana/o-Latina/os together, as well as their completion of their own interdisciplinary research projects.

The first part of our multidisciplinary project will be dedicated to discussing interdisciplinary research methodologies with students via bi-weekly meetings and/or research methodology workshops, as well as to determining which interdisciplinary research methods, questions, sources, and strategies will best advance their investigation of the generational traditions and transitions of African Americans and Chicana/o-Latina/os. The second part of our collaboration will allow us to advise students as they develop their research questions, identify their primary sources, conduct their own research, read secondary literature, and write and present their research. The third part of our collaboration will require students to prepare, present, and provide a multimedia presentation of the primary sources that inform their research to the University of California Irvine’s (UCI) History Project, a UCI campus organization dedicated to enriching the teaching of History in K-12 classrooms. This presentation will allow students to share with this organization’s K-12 teachers the utility of the primary sources that informs their research, so that teachers consider using these primary sources to craft and implement interdisciplinary approaches to their teaching of the traditions and transitions of generations of African American and Chicana/os in their classrooms. We anticipate that this organization’s goal of bringing K-12 teachers, faculty, and students together to develop cutting-edge and generative models of teaching and learning are consistent with our project’s expectations and goals. We are confident that by our project’s end, students will be prepared to write and present their research findings with UCI’s History Project, California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), and the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP).

Students' Involvement and Expected Outcomes: Each student is expected to attend our bi weekly project meetings and/or research methodology workshops; identify a research topic and develop research question(s) that encompasses the generational traditions and transitions of the African American and Chicana/o-Latina/o experience; identify, read, and reflect on the secondary literature on their research topic; conduct primary research; prepare and present a multi-media presentation of the primary sources that informs their research to share with UCI’s History Project; and write and submit an eight-page paper of their research findings with careful attention to the revealing qualities of undertaking interdisciplinary research.

Prerequisites: Each student is expected to be at least a junior and interested in undertaking and presenting interdisciplinary research that investigates the generational traditions and transitions of African American and Chicana/o-Latina/o women and men across the United States. Students majoring and/or minoring in African American Studies and/or Chicana/o-Latina/o Studies are ideal candidates for this project.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   Berger, John. Ways of Seeing (London: BBC, 1990).:
   Foley, Neil. Quest for Equality (Harvard University Press, 2010).:
   Lipsitz, George. Footsteps in the Dark (University of Minnesota Press, 2007).:
   Perales, Monica. Smeltertown: Remembering and Making of a Border Community (University of North Carolina Press, 2010).:
   Schmidt Camacho, Alicia. Migrant Imaginaries: Latina/o Cultural Politics across the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands (New York University Press, 2008).:

  Project #18:  UCI Energy Invitational
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Michael McCarthyMechanical & Aerospace Engineering

Professor Derek Dunn-RankinMechanical & Aerospace Engineering

Professor Sanjoy MazumdarPlanning, Policy, & Design

Description:  Design of a hybrid electric racecar for competition at Willow Springs Raceway and the organization of the UCI Energy Invitational. This endurance race staged by UCI is designed for all classes of alternative energy vehicles to determine the distance they can achieve within one hour for 1 dollar of energy. The inaugural 2010 event brought three university teams, one inventor, and two OEM vehicles to compete on campus at UCI. A video of the event can be seen at

Students’ Involvement and Expected Outcomes: The students will design and build a hybrid electric racecar and manage the UCI Energy Invitational at Willow Springs on March 22, 2011.

Prerequisites: Students should have 3rd- or 4th-year standing.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   See the video and contact Prof. McCarthy for more information.:

  Project #19:  Using Multimedia and Visualization to Help English Language Learners Understand Environmental Systems
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Liane R. BrouilletteEducation

Professor Bradley S. HughesEcology & Evolutionary Biology

Description:  Approximately 25% of kindergartners in California speak a language other than English at home. As a result, these children must undertake two separate tasks when they enter the typical public school: (1) learning the language of instruction, and (2) using that language to access the concepts they are expected to learn in core subject areas. In disciplines like science and mathematics, where specialized academic language is used to express key concepts, this puts these students at a special disadvantage. This project will create visual and multimedia learning aids to help English learners and other students better understand environmental systems.

The target population is English language learners (ELLs) in grades 3 to 5. Members of the five-member design team will carry out a Web search for instructional tools that have the promise of helping ELLs to better understand the concepts covered in the California Life Science Content Standards at these grades levels. Where no suitable existing materials can be found, the team will create appropriate multimedia applications and visual aids. A series of Web pages will be created for use by teachers in the upper elementary grades. The instructional tools accessed through the Web pages will be tested with local elementary school students.

Students’ Involvement and Expected Outcomes: The five-member design team will carry out an extensive Web search for effective visual and Web-based instructional tools to help ELLs in grades 3 to 5 understand environmental systems. Where no suitable existing materials can be found, the team will create appropriate multimedia applications and visual aids. The team will design Web pages for use by upper elementary teachers in the San Diego Unified School District. These Web pages will be accessed through the website of the UCI Center for Learning through the Arts and Technology . Participating students will develop skills in website design, multimedia, and science education.

Prerequisites: We are looking for students who have knowledge and skills in the areas of environmental systems, website design, science education, GIS, multimedia and the visual arts.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   Elementary Students’ Retention of Environmental Science Knowledge:
   Helping English Learners Increase Achievement Through Inquiry-Based Science Instruction:
   Climate Change is a Geographic Problem by Jack Dangermond and Matt Artz:
   Science Content Standards for California Public Schools:
   English-Language Development Standards for California Public Schools: