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 2013-2014 MDP. Select a link for an overview of the project, associated faculty co-mentors, project prerequisites, and related publications.

MDP Design Projects

    1) An Innovative Dynamic Systems Approach to Exploring Emotion Coregulation in Children with Autism in the Context of the Strange Situation 

    2) Applying an Innovative Technology to the Design of a Toy to Promote Social Interaction in Children with Autism 

    3) Automated Biological Image Analysis using Computer Vision and Machine Learning 

    4) DanceChemistry 

    5) Design-Based Research for Educational Games 

    6) Designing Generalizable Crowdsourcing Methods for Large-Scale Database Transcription and Digitalization: The Mesoamerican Color Survey Data Archive 

    7) Designs for Evolving Self-Organizing Information Systems: Pragmatic Algorithms for Communicating Information 

    8) Development and Deterrence: A Cross-Cultural Examination of Offending 

    9) Development of Assessment Tools to Measure Sleep and Evaluate Motor Performance 

    10) Health360 – Comprehensive, Intuitive and Interactive View of Health Aspects to Drive Self-Healthcare and Social Well-Being 

    11) Placemaking - Recreating Social and Sustainable Place at UCI 

    12) Radiofrequency Ablation in the Application of Treating Overactive Bladders 

    13) User-Friendly Intelligence Gathering for Public Health 

    14) Vestibular Rehabilitation using Wide-Angled Head Mounted Displays with Stereoscopic 3D 

 Project #1:  An Innovative Dynamic Systems Approach to Exploring Emotion Coregulation in Children with Autism in the Context of the Strange Situation
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Yuqing GuoProgram in Nursing Science

Professor Wendy GoldbergPsychology & Social Behavior

Professor Kimberley D. LakesPediatrics

Description:  Background:
Children with autism typically have difficulties in social interaction, communication skills, and cognitive function. Despite the crucial role of emotion on social interaction, relatively few studies have focused on emotion regulation in children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Attachment security within the parent‐child relationship is proposed to influence the development of emotion regulation. The Strange Situation is a widely used assessment of toddler‐parent and preschooler‐parent attachment relationships. The Strange Situation consists of one pre‐separation play episode, two separation episodes, and two reunion episodes. Since these separation episodes create stressful contexts in which to observe how dyads adjust after distress, they could give researchers a good opportunity to study emotion co‐regulation. However, little is known about how parents and children with ASD co‐regulate in the context of the Strange Situation. The present project addresses these gaps.

The creativity of this project is the novel approach to studying coregualtion in which the coding system will be developed to capture the emotion in mothers and children with ASD in the stressful context. Another innovative aspect of the project lies in its novel application of a state‐of‐the‐science technology called State Space Grid (SSG). SSG is a computer‐based dynamic systems approach that can provide new insights into parent‐child dynamics. For decades, measuring dyadic parent‐child interactions has presented a methodological and analytic challenge for developmental psychologists. To address this challenge, SSG was created to allow researchers to quantify dyadic observation data as one unit. Using SSG software, researchers can now describe mother and child emotional states simultaneously and can track movement between emotional states in real time. To our knowledge, the proposed study will be the first to use SSG to explore dynamic emotional processes in toddlers or preschoolers with ASD as they interact with their parents in the Strange Situation.

Objectives and Significance:
The ultimate goal of this project is the novel expansion of the State Space Grid approach to emotion regulation research in children with ASD. The specific objectives are to: (a) develop a valid and reliable emotion regulation coding system; and (b) examine associations between emotion coregulation and developmental outcome in children with ASD. The findings will provide a better understanding of the minute‐to‐minute maladaptive emotion regulation processes found in social interactions of children with ASD. The knowledge generated from the current novel project may in turn lead to advances in family therapy and new interventions for children with ASD and their parents.

Multidisciplinary Team:
This research project engages three disciplines. Dr. Kimberly Lakes is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics in the School of Medicine, and her research has focused on children with neurodevelopmental disorders and child assessments. Dr. Yuqing Guo, an Assistant Professor from the Program in Nursing Science, has applied the State Space Grid to a study co‐regulation in secure child‐mother vs. insecure child‐mother dyads using a dataset of the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development. Dr. Wendy Goldberg is a Professor in the Department of Psychology and Social Behavior in the School of Social Ecology and an expert on autism and family relationships.

Students’ Involvement and Expected Outcomes:
Students will be responsible for searching the literature, attending training on how to:
(1) create an emotion regulation coding system
(2) obtain satisfactory observation reliability
(3) conduct observation coding,
(4) export observation data to the State Space Grid software, and
(5) create the final dataset for statistical analysis.

An opportunity for a collaborative presentation of findings at professional meetings will be made available to highly motivated and active students.

Prerequisites: 1. Students who are interested in one or more following topics: parent‐child interaction, attachment, emotion regulation, autism, observation research, and dynamic systems.

2. Students who have experience with behavioral coding are preferred, but it is not a requirement.

3. Students who are self‐motivated, responsible team players.

 Project #2:  Applying an Innovative Technology to the Design of a Toy to Promote Social Interaction in Children with Autism
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Mark BachmanElectrical Engineering & Computer Science

Professor Yuqing GuoProgram in Nursing Science

Professor Wendy GoldbergPsychology & Social Behavior

Professor Robin Steinberg-EpsteinPediatrics

Description:  Background:
Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are the fastest growing group of developmental disabilities and are considered a major public health concern. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the prevalence of autism in the United States has risen from 1 to 150 births in 2002 to 1 in 88 births in 2012. Social interaction is one of major challenges in children with ASDs. For example, most children with ASDs have difficulty initiating or maintaining eye contact or reciprocal interaction with parents. Currently, applied behavior analysis (ABA) is widely used to foster social skills between a behavioral analyst and the child with ASDs. However, a parent is usually not trained to practice ABA at home and ABA sessions are limited to a child with autism during weekly behavioral intervention. Because children’s social and emotional development is proposed to arise out of repeated socio-emotional experiences in their relationships with their caregiver, parent involvement may increase the impact of an intervention. The proposed project is to apply an innovative technology to create a toy to increase social interaction through empowering parents as effective therapeutic agents.

Creative Design and Significance:
There are two creative components of this proposed project: 1) an innovative sensor technology will be applied to the development of a toy; and 2) enhanced musical understanding or visual preference, which are characteristics of children with autism, will be incorporated as positive reinforcement into the toy design. Dr. Bachman has developed laboratory prototypes (e.g., tangible devices with electronic sensors can be converted to music or image when touched by a human). Given that the laboratory prototype involves textile-based sensors, they can be made any shape and incorporated into almost any tangible form making it possible to design a toy from the clinical prototype. The musical elements or visual image will be carefully tailored for child with ASDs to promote social interaction particularly having eye contact and reciprocal interaction with parent. The therapeutic toy will create many opportunities for families of children with autism to have enjoyable social interactions. Most importantly, with this novel technology, a parent will not need to go through extensive training in order to be an agent of behavioral therapy, and parent engagement in the home setting is expected to enhance the child’s skill learning, generation and maintenance. Therefore, the significance of this proposed study lies in expanding a technology based toy as a cost-effective autism intervention modality to improve social interaction in children with ASDs.

Specific Aims:
The primary goal of the study is to apply innovative technologies to create a therapeutic toy that will enable the parents of children with ASDs to function as a behavioral therapeutic agent. The second goal is to pilot test the feasibility and acceptability of this novel therapeutic toy in improving social interaction in the child with autism in the home setting.

Multidisciplinary Team:
Four disciplines are represented in this study. Dr. Yuqing Guo, an Assistant Professor Program in Nursing Science, has expertise in the study of social and emotional normal children and those with autism; Dr. Mark Bachman, an Assistant Professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, is an expert in human-computer-human; technology Dr. Robin Steinberg-Epstein, a developmental-behavioral pediatrician and Clinical Professor in the Department of Pediatrics in the School of Medicine, serves as the expert on clinical adaption and application; Dr. Wendy Goldberg, a Professor in the Department of Psychology and Social Behavior in the School of Social Ecology, is an expert on autism and family relationships.

Students’ Involvement and Expected Outcomes:
This project is expected to appeal to students from various majors, including engineering, computer science, nursing science, biological sciences, and psychology. Students’ experience in designing therapeutic agents will be gained through facilitating the translation of the laboratory prototype to a clinical one and being involved in evaluating the effect of this innovative therapy on social interaction in the child with autism. Specific responsibilities include: attending group meetings on time, communicating with mentors and teammates professionally, being able to work creatively and collaboratively, adapting the laboratory prototype to the clinical characteristics of a child with autism, building the clinical prototype into a toy, and developing a clinical protocol of therapeutic toy.

Prerequisites: 1. Students who are interested in one or more following topics: human-computer-human, parent-child interaction, social and emotional development, autism, behavioral therapy

2. Students who are self-motivated, responsible team players.

 Project #3:  Automated Biological Image Analysis using Computer Vision and Machine Learning
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Charless FowlkesComputer Science

Professor Olivier CinquinDevelopmental & Cell Biology

Description:  Additional Mentors:
Shu (Aimery) Kong, Graduate Student, Computer Science

Project Description:
This project aims to develop a robust system for automatically analyzing images collected with a microscope in order to detect, classify and catalog the biological specimens visible in the image. Building such a system will be very useful for enabling quantitative biological research on a variety of problems. We are interested in two particular scenarios:

1. Pollen detection and classification: Detecting and classifying pollen grains in a collected sample allows one to estimate the diversity of plant species in a particular area. This is interesting for ecological monitoring (by placing pollen traps in different areas of the world) as well as in examining fossilized pollen to determine what plant species were present at a particular time in the past. We can easily collect and image many pollen samples but identifying and counting by eye the number of grains of each species is painstaking work which we would like to automate.

2. Counting worms and eggs: C. elegans is a microscopic nematode that is used in a wide variety of biological studies, and that provides one of the single best model systems to study aging. The small size of worms makes it possible to grow them in large numbers; to fully realize the potential for high-throughput studies with strong statistical power, it would be very advantageous to automate the acquisition of important information about worm lifespan and the timing of reproduction under conditions of high population density. One can readily take images or videos periodically in order to conduct a census. Given an image or video we would like to automatically detect worms and eggs and distinguish them from other debris in the image.

The goal of this project is to design and implement a simple image based detection and classification system which will be applicable to these two problems. This will involve image processing, detection and segmentation. The goal is to make the system trainable using techniques from machine learning so that a user can easily adapt the system to other types of images. In addition to the image analysis system, the project will also involve developing user interfaces so that experts can label examples in images in order to train the system.

Students’ Involvement and Expected Outcomes:
Students will actively meet together and discuss problems and progress on their tasks. Students will compare their methods and work in developing a framework for detection and classification system. They will also develop knowledge of the biology involved (pollen and nematode), basic image processing, computer vision and machine learning, team-work research skills and technical writing skills. Finally, students will understand how to carry out a system for some specific problems.

Prerequisites: Preference for students who have experience programming and are passionate about applications of computing to the natural sciences. Students having taken computer vision and AI courses are preferred. Students should be committed and responsible for the team, and have good communication skills.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   L. Mander, M. Li, W. Mio, C. Fowlkes, S. Punyasena, "Classification of grass pollen through the quantitative analysis of surface ornamentation and texture", Proc. R. Soc. B. 2013 280 (1770)

[2] Stroustrup N., Ulmschneider B.E., Nash Z.M., López-Moyado I.F., Apfeld J., Fontana W. "The Caenorhabditis elegans Lifespan Machine". Nat Methods 2013

[3] Yu C.C., Raizen D.M., Fang-Yen C. "Multi-well imaging of development and behavior in Caenorhabditis elegans". J Neurosci Meth 2014:

 Project #4:  DanceChemistry
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Sheron WrayDance

Professor Kimberly EdwardsChemistry

Ms. Gidget TayChemistry

Description:  Additional Mentors:
Gidget Tay, Doctoral Student, Organic Chemistry

Project Description:
DanceChemistry is a combination of chemistry and dance used to make educational chemistry videos. The visual teaching aid presents chemical interactions at the molecular level using dancers to represent molecules. The videos are more memorable than the more common graphical or animation based representation because of the unusual depiction of molecules with dancers.

To date, six of these videos have been created. Undergraduate and graduate students in both the chemistry and dance department have participated in making DanceChemistry videos. We hope that by making this project more widely known on campus, we can recruit more participants to help create future videos.

Students' Involvement and Expected Outcomes:
We would like students who are interested in dance and chemistry to perform in these videos. Students from the dance department will get a chance to choreograph to an atypical theme and teach movement to students less trained in dancing. These videos will also provide dancers with a platform to publicize their talents in choreography and performance. The skills obtained from this project will help dancers who want to pursue a career in teaching or choreography. Students from the chemistry department will play an active role in their own education by associating certain chemistry concepts with memorable movement while providing a visual teaching aid for their peers to use. The project will challenge chemistry students to think about how they could explain difficult scientific concepts on the molecular level using dancers. The skills obtained from this project will give science students with the ability to communicate difficult concepts on a level that non-experts can understand.

Because dance is often considered a universal language, the DanceChemistry videos have already been viewed in all fifty states and more than a hundred different countries such as Switzerland, India, and South Africa. These videos will continue to be broadly disseminated for free on YouTube; many chemistry instructors at other universities have already informed us that they are using the DanceChemistry videos in their classroom.

1,200 UC Irvine undergraduate chemistry students who watched the videos in class were surveyed; students who watched the videos scored an average of 30% higher on a short quiz than their classmates who did not watch the five-minute video. About 80% of students said they wanted to use these videos to learn additional chemistry topics in the future. Many of the students surveyed commented on the engaging nature of the videos, saying: “It was entertaining and got me more excited for the topic,” and “It was a very random way to teach a lesson but because it is so absurd and unusual. I won’t forget it.”

Prerequisites: Students who are interested in chemistry must be willing to dance. Students interested in dance must be willing to choreograph.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   Examples of DanceChemistry videos:

 Project #5:  Design-Based Research for Educational Games
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor William M. TomlinsonInformatics

Professor AnneMarie ConleyEducation

Ms. Cathy TranEducation

Description:  Our iPad app, "Down with Food," teaches elementary school children about the digestive system by presenting them with a story embedded with a series of mini‐games corresponding to the functions of the different organs. Several of the mini‐games are in the storyboarding process while others have been developed and undergone several iterations of revision based on results from user testing sessions. This project has been part of the Multidisciplinary Design Program for the past three years and is currently supported by the Misters Rogers Memorial Award through the Emmys Foundation. More details about the design and research behind this project are in the recommended
links below.

James Gamboa of the MIND Research Institute ( will act as an additional, off-campus, co‐mentor for this project.

Students’ Involvement and Expected Outcomes: Students will be involved in playing and analyzing related products, programming, discussing related research, and testing our prototypes with children to guide the design and redesign of the games. Expected outcomes are design knowledge, research experience, and programming skills through the process of creating our game. Five former MDP team members who recently graduated presented at the Games, Learning, and Society conference and published their work.

Prerequisites: Those with interest and experience in the UNITY programming platform, game design, art and animations, sound composition, research with children, and science education are especially encouraged to apply.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   "Down with Food" website:
   Interface magazine feature article::

 Project #6:  Designing Generalizable Crowdsourcing Methods for Large-Scale Database Transcription and Digitalization: The Mesoamerican Color Survey Data Archive
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Ian G. HarrisComputer Science

Professor Natalia KomarovaMathematics

Dr. Kimberly A. JamesonSocial Science

Description:  In this multidisciplinary project, students will acquire important, highly applicable skills and learning on how to use crowdsourced internet-based research and computer procedures to convert hand-written archives into valuable data-addressable computer files. The project contributes to the important goal of creating a research archive of highly valuable categorization data from more than 120 indigenous languages. This archive will live on well after the project is completed and be a valuable resource for researchers world-wide who study cognition and categorization across ethnolinguisitic groups. Students mentored in this research will have the opportunity to both learn and develop valuable Internet-based research computing skills, as well to learn about diverse aspects of languages as they vary across societies and cultures, and how they represent concept formation and cognitive representation across groups.

Students' Involvement and Expected Outcomes:
Students participating in this project will, guided by faculty, work together in collaborative research teams to harness the power of the Internet using cutting-edge crowdsourcing procedures to complete important tasks for the preservation of archival data on indigenous languages from Mesoamerica.
Specifically, students will work with faculty to:
• Learn how to design and work with crowd-sourced, Internet-based, survey methods.
• Design and develop procedures for collecting large-scale transcription data and aggregating transcribing data for creation of a valuable research database.
• Use computer algorithms to help preserve knowledge about the world’s vanishing languages.
• Develop skills and invent new ways to collect, handle and aggregate data for large corpora which will be extendable and valuable for a wide-range of Internet-based computing needs in the future.
• Using novel approaches in the latest Optical Character Recognition methods to automate the handling of large-scale data transcription demands for endangered languages in the MesoAmerican survey and for other language transcription demands in the future.

Computer science students will gain important experience using algorithms and optical character recognition (OCR) methods to transcribe language-data corpora. Linguistics and Psychology students will acquire skills in data-handling and data transcription skills for large cross-cultural language databases. Students additionally interested in pursuing Internet-based survey research and data-acquisition ideas will learn research approaches and computing procedures that will prove useful across a wide range of other internet information domains.

Prerequisites: We’re looking for a diverse team with interests and skills in computing who care about practical applications concerning Internet approaches to large-scale database development, and in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), culture and language, psychology. Those interested in math and science, research design, and the practical use of Internet computing that influences important cultural outcomes are encouraged to apply. Innovative thinkers with real-world experiences or relevant experience are encouraged to apply.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   The MesoAmerican Color Survey project:
   The World Color Survey (WCS) was initiated in the late 1970's to test the hypotheses advanced by Berlin and Kay (1969) regarding: (1) the existence of universal constraints on cross-language color naming, and (2) the existence of a partially fixed evolutionary progression according to which languages gain color terms over time.:
   Berlin, Brent and Paul Kay. Basic Color Terms: Their Universality and Evolution. Berkeley and Los Angeles. University of California Press, 1969.:
   Excerpts from Funded NSF Research Plan: IBSS: New methods for investigating the formation of individual and shared concepts and their dynamic dispersion across related societies.:
   J. J. Chen, N. J. Menezes, and A. D. Bradley. (2011).“Opportunities for Crowdsourcing Research on Amazon Mechanical Turk.” Amazon Mechanical Turk. 410 Terry Ave North. Seattle, WA 98109. Apr 08, 2011.: crowdsourcing-research-on-amazon-mechanical-turk/3471

 Project #7:  Designs for Evolving Self-Organizing Information Systems: Pragmatic Algorithms for Communicating Information
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Dominik Franz Xave. WodarzEcology & Evolutionary Biology

Dr. Kimberly A. JamesonSocial Science

Professor Louis E. NarensCognitive Sciences

Description:  This design project uses agent­‐based information processing approaches to create systems that form, evolve, transmit and disperse information across societies of individuals. While the approaches create systems in silico they will provide an information processing framework needed for extending to real-world communication scenarios among humans. The basic research involves developing computer procedures for societies of artificial agents that will transmit information across communication networks. Such procedures will be extendable to applications involving the creation and dispersion of language among individuals in societies, and ultimately can be used to understand individual and group processing of most kinds of semantic information, for example, information involving classification of conceptions such as disease categories, kinship relations, and the classification of animals.

Students' Involvement and Expected Outcomes:
Students participating in this project will, guided by faculty, work on implementing computational models for evolving knowledge in artificial agent populations. Valuable training in Dynamic Game Theory and Diffusion Modeling will be acquired. Likely outcomes for the research involve developing simulated demonstrations of how pragmatic effects of geospatial neighborhoods, communication networks and language relatedness impact the evolution and dispersion of concepts among societies of agents. Students will be encouraged to be involved in the development, design and implementation of algorithms to simulate and model language learning and evolution under a variety of cultural and pragmatic scenarios. These activities will be useful for extending beyond this project, to dynamical systems problems that require evolutionary game theory approaches to fully understand complexity of communication and information systems.

Specifically, students will work with faculty to:
* Learn  how  to  design  and  work  with  Dynamic  Game  Theory  approaches  and Diffusion Models in silico.
* Design  and  develop  algorithms for understanding  the  dynamics  involved in language learning, transmission and dissemination.
* Use  dynamical  system  algorithms  to  help  preserve  knowledge  about  the  world’s linguistic cultures and their communication systems.
* Develop computing  skills  and novel procedures  to  model  linguistic  data  from large corpora; these skills will be extendable and valuable for a wide-­range language evolution concerns in the future.

Prerequisites: Individuals with strong computing skills, preferably with training in Computer Science, and interests in STEM careers (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), dynamical game theory and modeling, culture and language. Innovative thinkers with real‐world experiences or relevant experience are encouraged to apply. Knowledge of Mathematica, Python, or other computing languages is a plus.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   Narens, L., et al. (2012). Language, Categorization, and Convention. Advances in Complex Systems, 15. Invited contribution to special issue of the journal devoted to Language Dynamics. :
   Excerpts from Funded NSF Research Plan: IBSS: New methods for investigating the formation of individual and shared concepts and their dynamic dispersion across related societies. :

 Project #8:  Development and Deterrence: A Cross-Cultural Examination of Offending
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Elizabeth CauffmanPsychology & Social Behavior

Professor Benjamin van RooijSchool of Law

Mr. Adam FinePsychology & Social Behavior

Description:  Additional Mentors:
Adam Fine, Doctoral Student, Psychology & Social Behavior

Project Description:
According to deterrence theory, a rational person will not commit a crime if the potential costs of being punished outweigh the potential benefits of the crime. Based on this research, juvenile justice system policies such as “juvenile transfer to adult court,” “three strikes,” and “zero tolerance” maximize the costs of offending. The issue is that because this research has only been conducted with adults, we do not know whether deterrence affects adolescent offending. Understanding how deterrence affects adolescent behavior has important implications for increasing rule compliance from classrooms to courtrooms.

The goals of this study are to answer four interdisciplinary, policy-relevant, empirical research questions: (1) Do adolescents respond differently than adults to deterrence? (2) Are specific deterrence components particularly effective for reducing adolescent offending? (3) Does psychosocial maturity moderate the relationship between deterrence and adolescent offending? (4) Are there nationality/culture differences that affect compliance behavior? This study will use a combination of hypothetical offending vignettes and experimental cheating tasks. Further, it will apply deterrence messages to participants to identify not only whether deterrence affects adolescent behavior, but which core deterrence dimensions are particularly effective at increasing compliance. Finally, our collaborators at Jilin University in China will replicate our study using a sample of adolescents. This will enable us to examine deterrence and development from a cross-cultural/transnational research perspective. In sum, this study uses a multi-method, experimental design that enables us to be the first to examine how officials can creatively nudge adolescents into complying with legal rules.

Students’ Involvement and Expected Outcomes:
Undergraduate research assistants on our previous UROP projects have presented at multiple regional and national conferences, including the Western Psychological Association Conference and the Association for Psychological Science Conference. Similarly, students on this project will be actively engaged in the research process from start to finish. Students are expected to gain a variety of useful skills in conducting experimental research. At the start, they will learn how to conduct empirical literature reviews. Once research assistants are familiar with the developmental and deterrence literatures, we will work together to design a novel experimental paradigm. Few research assistantships offer in-depth training on designing experimental paradigms. We will train students on how to create the project materials and how to design and carry out participant recruitment efficiently. These skills are essential for being able to conduct one’s own study. Finally, students will be taught to analyze data. Data analysis is a highly marketable skill and is necessary for any academic research career. We aim to teach students the foundational skills that will enable them to design and develop their own empirical studies. As a whole, the skills acquired by this project will make students more competitive for careers conducting empirical research, working to improve the implementability of law, or working to improve the lives of youth in the justice system.

Prerequisites: All undergraduate and graduate students at UC Irvine are eligible to apply for this project, provided they have an interest in at least one of the following topics: law, adolescent development, juvenile delinquency, legal policy, experimental methods, cross-cultural research, and comparative legal systems.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   Nagin, D. S. (2013). Deterrence in the twenty-first century. Crime and Justice, 42(1), 199-263:

 Project #9:  Development of Assessment Tools to Measure Sleep and Evaluate Motor Performance
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Mark BachmanElectrical Engineering & Computer Science

Professor Kelli SharpDance

Description:  We are interested creating assessment tools to help performing artists prevent injuries, increase overall wellness, and lengthen their careers as dancers. In order to accomplish this task there are two main goals of this design project. The first is to develop a wearable sensor based device and software interface for collecting the amount of sleep an individual gets on a daily basis. The second goal is to develop a low cost system for evaluating motor performance based on expert algorithms on a set performance. The development of these two assessment tools will aid in the further development of wellness and injury prevention programs for performing artists.

Students’ Involvement and Expected Outcomes:
Students will be involved in all aspects of the project. In order to accomplish the first goal, they will design, create, and test feasibility of the wearable sensor device to measure respiration rate. In addition, they will develop a software interface for data collection from the device. The second goal will be accomplished by designing a low cost system for evaluation of motor performance, and a complementary analysis method. The expected outcomes would be the following: 1) wearable device to measure respiration rate; 2) compatible software interface for the device; 3) low cost motion analysis system; and 4) analysis method for motor performances.

Prerequisites: Undergraduates and graduate students with an interest in engineering, computer science, informatics, and dance are encouraged to apply.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   Genzel, L, Quack A, Jager, Eugen, J, Konrad B, Steiger A, and Dresler M. Complex Motor Sequence Skills Profit from Sleep. Neuropsychobiology 2012;66:237-243.:

 Project #10:  Health360 – Comprehensive, Intuitive and Interactive View of Health Aspects to Drive Self-Healthcare and Social Well-Being
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Sharad MehrotraComputer Science

Professor Rajesh GulatiMedicine

Professor Sonali IyerMedicine

Professor John BillimekMedicine

Description:  Additional Mentors:
Anmol Rajpurohit, Graduate Student, Computer Science

Project Description:
The United States has the highest health care cost inflation among leading developed nations.[1] Between 2006 and 2010, the healthcare costs in the U.S. increased by a staggering 19%.[2] Even more importantly, the overspending in healthcare in the U.S. due to overutilization is estimated to be $750 billion.[3] It is deeply perplexing to see such statistics for a nation whose talented providers and healthcare technology are among the world’s best. One of the most promising solutions is patient-centered healthcare; but for that to succeed, patients have to take ownership of their health, including educating themselves about one’s medical conditions, proactively following prescribed medication, continuously monitoring health metrics, regular wellness activities, and more. Patients are eager to play that role; however, the biggest impediment is the lack of data and the technology to make that data highly intuitive and actionable.

Today, the health information of an individual is scattered across various providers, payers, pharmacies, laboratories, biometric sensors and healthcare applications. Although a user can obtain their data from these sources, they have no tools to manage this data in an integrated fashion and derive value from it on an ongoing basis. Health360 solves this problem by leveraging human-computer interaction and information technology to deliver a simple, customizable dashboard providing a comprehensive view of a user’s health aspects. Health360 not only informs its users, but also educates them and helps them in carefully following their medication and pursuing wellness goals. A simple, yet powerful design will enable users to manage their health through Health360 without getting lost in the details or complexity of the medical terminology. Besides individual health, social well-being is also promoted by Health360 through features such as Wellness Challenger and Voice of Patient, which enable social interaction, while maintaining privacy when required. We have attached an image (see the Recommended Web sites and publications, below) that shows a preliminary design that we plan to refine through the MDP process.

Note: Health360 will be developed entirely based on Open Source software and utilities, in order to encourage collaboration from other universities as well as to offer this service to end users for free (by avoiding any licensing or subscription costs).

Students’ Involvement and Expected Outcomes:

Student Activities:
-Design a multi-platform seamless experience through which users can access Health360 seamlessly via computers, tablets and smartphones
-Perform a comprehensive usability assessment of the interface's features through focus groups and rigorous A/B testing
-Design creative elements for the interface to enable the delivery of healthcare information in an intuitive and engaging way

Expected Outcomes:
-A novel design for a patients' healthcare portal
-Innovative features that will engage users towards improving their health in a fun way
-Effective and sustainable wellness challenges that do not lose
participation after first few days
-A one-portal solution to all of a user's healthcare needs (it would have hyperlinks to the websites of providers, payers, etc.)

Specific Skills that Students will Develop:
-Creative Web design
-Usability testing
-Personalization to meet the diverse needs of end users
-Understanding of the U.S. Healthcare ecosystem
-Applying technological innovation to meet patients' needs

Prerequisites: We are ideally looking for students with a good understanding of and experience with interactive Web design as well as the U.S. healthcare system. Since that combination may be a bit rare, we are looking for 3-5 experienced Web designers and/or developers, along with 1-2 students with a strong understanding of the U.S. Healthcare system. Innovative thinkers with real-world experiences or relevant coursework are encouraged to apply.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   Pae, YoungWoo, et al. "Using Mashup Technology to Integrate Medical Data for Patient Centric Healthcare." Future Information Technology. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 2014. 71-76.:
   Viswanathan, Hariharasudhan, Baozhi Chen, and Dario Pompili. "Research challenges in computation, communication, and context awareness for ubiquitous healthcare." Communications Magazine, IEEE 50.5 (2012): 92-99.:
   Murphy, Judy. "Patient as center of the health care universe: A closer look at patient centered care." Nursing Economics 29.1 (2011): 35-37.:
   Buchanan, William J., et al. "Patient centric health care: an integrated and secure, cloud-based, e-Health platform." (2012).:
   Maizes, Victoria, David Rakel, and Catherine Niemiec. "Integrative medicine and patient-centered care." (2009): 277-289. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing 5.5:
   Demiris, George, et al. "Patient-centered applications: use of information technology to promote disease management and wellness. A white paper by the AMIA knowledge in motion working group." Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association 15.1 (2008): 8-13.:
   Chawla, Nitesh V., and Darcy A. Davis. "Bringing big data to personalized healthcare: a patient-centered framework." Journal of general internal:
   Kotzé, P and Foster, R. 2014. A conceptual data model for a primary health care patient-centric electronic medical record system. In: Proceedings of the IASTED International Conference Health Informatics (AfricaHI 2014), Gaborone, Botswana, 1-3 September 2014.:
   Carter, Ernest L., Gail Nunlee-Bland, and Clive Callender. "A patient-centric, provider assisted diabetes tele-health self-management intervention for urban minorities." Perspectives in Health Information Management/AHIMA, American Health Information Management Association 8. Winter (2011).:
   Preliminary Health360 design image:

 Project #11:  Placemaking - Recreating Social and Sustainable Place at UCI
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Sanjoy MazumdarPlanning, Policy, & Design

Professor Alladi VenkateshPaul Merage School of Business

Description:  Many spaces on campus could be made more lively, interesting, attractive, soiopetal. There are many places on campus that could gain from design intervention. Our objective is to find a space that is presently sociofugal (repelling), uncomfortable and perhaps unsustainable, use concepts from design, technology, and management to understand its characteristics and nature. We hope to use placemaking ideas and concepts to then design proposals, prototype and test. We also want to be able to create scale physical and virtual models and eventually (if appropriate permissions can be obtained) transform the space (minimal and small changes might be easier to implement). The work will involve learning about design, technology, and management concepts, research into passive and minimal techniques, social analysis and survey, design and design implementation. Not all ideas can be mentioned in detail here, but sustainability, energy conscious design, minimalist intervention, understanding and designing for user wishes could be incorporated. Consciousness of the design process will also be an important component (i.e. when and how we are bing creative). The project will require registering for a Directed Study course, attending regular meetings, taking initiative and doing the work. A team leader may be appointed.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   Schneekloth, Lynda H. and Shibley, Robert G. (1995) Placemaking: The Art and Practice of Building Communities, New York, Wiley.:

 Project #12:  Radiofrequency Ablation in the Application of Treating Overactive Bladders
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor G.P. LiElectrical Engineering & Computer Science

Professor Jaime LandmanUrology

Description:  Project Description:
The primary goal of this project is to develop an RFA device to treat an overactive bladder. Medical methods, such as blood pressure waveform and urinary pressure evaluation, will be developed and utilized to evaluate the effect of the RFA on the treatment of the overactive bladder. The engineering parameters, such as power level, duty cycle and treatment duration, will be optimized with the medical testing results. The applicants will have a better understanding of the interaction between Engineering and medical treatment.

Students’ Involvement and Expected Outcomes:
Understand the treatment of overactive bladder. Understand the role of Engineering in medical treatment. Student role in the project: (1) participate in radiofrequency ablation (RFA) testing of rats and pigs; (2) record the data and do data analysis; and (3) assist in the development of RFA devices.

Prerequisites: Applicants are required to be enrolled in or have taken introductory biology. Basic surgical skills are required. Applicants must be willing to work with animals such as rats (handling, injections, etc.) and pigs. Applicants must be willing to learn engineering knowledge and learn basic engineering fabrication skills. Experience in data analysis is a plus. Minimum time commitment is 8 hr/wk.

 Project #13:  User-Friendly Intelligence Gathering for Public Health
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Brandon BrownProgram in Public Health

Dr. Terry L. SchmidtProgram in Public Health

Description:  Additional Mentor:
Carrie Zhao, MBA Student, The Paul Merage School of Business

Project Description:
There are exciting opportunities to turn big data into awareness and collaboration efforts for professionals, researchers, and students. The project entails building a Web-based, real-time data collection application that allows users to discover funding, conference/workshop, and collaboration opportunities nationally and globally. The problem is that, even if the users know the current keywords, keeping up with the data generated from a user base of 2+ billion people is nearly impossible. This solution will be able to connect many data sources, such as websites, news sources, and social media feeds, to deliver the latest funding and collaboration opportunities.

One area that would greatly benefit from this application is public health. With rising global health concerns and initiatives, we will leverage the talents of our mentors and their initiatives across a wide range of public health programs to design a pilot program to test and refine the application.

Students’ Involvement and Expected Outcomes:
Students are expected to contribute to multiple phases of this project:
1. Research current trending topics, available funding opportunities, and collaboration activities in public health.
2. Develop a search engine that collects data from news feeds, Web content, social media sites, and other search content.
3. Build a user-friendly user interface that allows users to filter results by data source and other criteria.

Students should develop knowledge of trending and existing public health topics and opportunities, big data, and analytics. In addition, students will work with professional and industry leaders to strengthen their project management, collaboration, communication, and technical skills.

Prerequisites: The project is open to undergraduate and graduate students who have interests in: (1) public health, (2) big data analytics, and/or (3) computer science. Students with software experience are highly encouraged to apply. Students must be willing to learn new (technical) applications and be comfortable with a fast-paced project timeline.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   World Health Organization:
   Research Funding Database:
   Data Mining Application:

 Project #14:  Vestibular Rehabilitation using Wide-Angled Head Mounted Displays with Stereoscopic 3D
Faculty Mentors:  
Dr. Hamid DjalilianOtolaryngology

Dr. Norman HarrisOtolaryngology

Professor Crista LopesInformatics

Description:  Additional Mentors:
Dr. Yaser Ghavami, M.D., Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
Marlon M. Maducdoc, Graduate Student, School of Medicine

Project Description:
The vestibular system of the inner ear is responsible for sensing orientation and rotation of the head. Additionally, the system primarily drives reflexes to maintain stable vision and posture [1]. A normal vestibular system can adjust reflexes based on varying situations but adaptation to a loss of vestibular function may be slow and result in sensations of dizziness and vertigo [1]. Patients with vestibular dysfunction may also experience visual vertigo (VV) or visually induced dizziness due to the mismatch of perceived visual and vestibular stimuli [2]. The current standard of care for vestibular dysfunction is vestibular rehabilitation exercises to hasten adaptation [3, 4, 5]. VV symptoms are believed to be caused by an excessive reliance on visual cues for perception and postural stability in patients with vestibular dysfunction [2, 6]. Subsequently, studies have shown that VV symptoms can only be reduced if vestibular rehabilitation exercises are combined with immersive moving visuals or optokinetic stimuli [7]. Recent studies demonstrated that graded exposure to optokinetic stimuli causes adaptive changes and decreased reliance on visual cues, thus, improving VV symptom [7, 6]. Another preliminary study also showed that patients with chronic vertigo improved after repeated exposure to optokinetic stimuli [8]. Furthermore, experiments demonstrated that the combination of vestibular exercises and optokinetic stimuli showed greater improvement in VV symptoms and postural stability compared to vestibular rehabilitation exercises alone [9]. One of the main challenges of implementing optikinetic stimuli is the cumbersome requirement of large screens and equipment [10]. Additionally, the stimuli should present a realistic and interactive environment in which the patient is immersed and result in adaptation and desensitization [11]. Head mounted displays have been suggested to provide an immersive optokinetic stimulus that can be easily implemented in clinical settings in conjunction with vestibular rehabilitation exercise programs [12].

The purpose of our research project is to design and develop a realistic and immersive virtual environment and use Oculus Rift VR goggles to deliver graded, standardized optokinetic stimuli to our patients with vestibular dysfunction. The Oculus Rift goggles are a small wide-angled head mounted display (HMD) with stereoscopic 3D. The goggles are also capable of tracking orientation and head movement. The Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences will play a key role in the design and development of a customized virtual environment. To date, no other study has used HMDs with a customized virtual environment in conjunction with vestibular rehabilitation exercises. Additionally, other possible medical applications of HMDs in diagnostic and screening will be explored since the vestibular system is also involved in other common conditions such as motion sickness and migraines.

The project was part of MDP last year and has made significant progress towards completion. We have overcome technical challenges and have created a virtual environment ready for testing. Our next steps would be to test our environment with healthy subjects and determine the effectiveness of the stimuli.

Students’ Involvement and Expected Outcomes:
Students will be involved in the majority of the research process. They will be expected to conduct literature searches of relevant information. Students will be asked to investigate possible areas of interest and to generate solutions to potential challenges. Students will be challenged to create methods of recruiting possible subjects for the study. Additionally, they will be involved in the design of the VR environment. Students are expected to gain useful skills in organizing data and conducting clinical trials. Students are expected to be involved in the writing and reporting process. Students will be asked to analyze data and carry out statistical calculations.

We hope that the students will learn skills that will enable them to design and develop their own research and experiment. The multidisciplinary nature of the research creates opportunities for students to be exposed to different topics and industries. It also fosters a sense of teamwork between people of different backgrounds because completion of the task will not be possible without the cooperation of both parties. We hope to foster students’ interest in the applications of technology in healthcare.

Prerequisites: We prefer students with either an interest in medicine or computer science. Students are required to have at least have a health science or computer science background. Students with previous experience in clinical research or game development will be preferred. Finally, students who can commit to a steady amount of time will be included in the project.

Recommended Web sites and publications: - Product website

1. Flint, P.W., & Cummings, C. W. 1, Cummings otolaryngology head & neck surgery. 2010, Philadelphia, PA: Mosby/Elsevier.
2. Bronstein, A.M., Visual vertigo syndrome: clinical and posturography findings. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry, 1995. 59(5): p. 472-6.
3. Brown, K.E., et al., Physical therapy outcomes for persons with bilateral vestibular loss. Laryngoscope, 2001. 111(10): p. 1812-7.
4. Horak, F.B., et al., Effects of vestibular rehabilitation on dizziness and imbalance. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg, 1992. 106(2): p. 175-80.
5. Whitney, S.L., et al., The effect of age on vestibular rehabilitation outcomes. Laryngoscope, 2002. 112(10): p. 1785-90.
6. Guerraz, M., et al., Visual vertigo: symptom assessment, spatial orientation and postural control. Brain, 2001. 124(Pt 8): p. 1646-56.
7. Pavlou, M., et al., The effect of repeated visual motion stimuli on visual dependence and postural control in normal subjects. Gait Posture, 2011. 33(1): p. 113-8.
8. Viirre, E. and R. Sitarz, Vestibular rehabilitation using visual displays: preliminary study. Laryngoscope, 2002. 112(3): p. 500-3.
9. Pavlou, M., et al., Simulator based rehabilitation in refractory dizziness. J Neurol, 2004. 251(8): p. 983-95.
10. Pavlou, M., et al., The effect of virtual reality on visual vertigo symptoms in patients with peripheral vestibular dysfunction: a pilot study. J Vestib Res, 2012. 22(5-6): p. 273-81.
11. P.J.S. S.L. Whitney, K.B., J.M. Furman, J.L Jacobson and M.S. Redfern, The Potential Use of Virtual Reality in Vestibular Rehabilitation. Preliminary Findings with the BNAVE Neurology Report, 2002. 26: p. 72–78.
12. P.J. Sparto, J.M.F., S.L. Whitney, L.F. Hodges and M.S. and Redfern, Vestibular rehabilitation using a wide field of view virtual environment,. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc, 2004. 7: p. 4836–4839.: