Colloquium: Tom Yeh (University of Colorado Boulder)


LOCATION: UTA building, 5th floor, 5.522

TITLE: Build a Better Book

ABSTRACT: “Something that’s accessible isn’t just for blind people,” said Atzin, “but for everyone, race, gender, … to enjoy [what] we’re making” Atzin, a 13-year-old girl, is one of more than 2,000 teens who has participated in a Build a Better Book workshop to learn about Maker technologies by designing accessible books for children with visual impairments. In this talk, I give my account of how a human computer interaction (HCI) research project started in 2013 with my two first-year graduate students has grown into a nationwide phenomenon with partner organizations (e.g., libraries, schools, museums) in more than 13 states. I describe three approaches we take to bringing in more people to build “better” books for blind children: (1) capacity---by developing better tools, we can lower the technical barriers for people to participate, (2) motivation---by better understanding the various stakeholder groups (e.g., librarians, teachers, volunteers, engineers) using HCI research methods, we can more effectively motivate and leverage the unique knowledge and skills of each group, and (3) empathy---by engaging people early (i.e., teens) in empathy-driven Maker experiences, we can help them develop sensitivity toward others as they become future STEM professionals.

BIO: Tom Yeh received his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for studying vision-based user interfaces. In 2012, he joined the University of Colorado Boulder (CU) as an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science. Prior to joining CU, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS). Yeh's research interests include 3D printing, assistive technology, computer vision, big data, citizen science, and AI ethics. He has published more than 50 articles across these interest areas. He has received best paper awards and honorable mentions from CHI, UIST, SIGCSE, and MobileHCI. Yeh's research projects are funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institute of Health (NIH), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Knight Foundation, and the Piton Foundation.


1:15pm to 2:30pm


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