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Interactive device research, media effects lab effort receive NSF funding

The National Science Foundation has presented a $300,000 grant to NDSU to develop new interfaces for interactive devices such as smart phones and tablets and start building a media effects lab to benefit social scientific work at the university.

The project, titled “MRI: Development of a Cross-Platform Infrastructure for Natural Interaction Research,” is led by principal investigator Jun Kong, assistant professor of computer science. Co-principal investigators are Nan Yu, assistant professor of communication; Jing Shi, associate professor of industrial and manufacturing engineering; and John Cook, interim chair/head of industrial and manufacturing engineering.

“The primary objective of this proposal is to develop a cross-platform infrastructure that supports the research of natural interaction,” said Kong. “This infrastructure, when applying to different computing and communication devices, will provide a new way of human-computer interaction by automatically choosing the optimal modalities under various interaction scenarios. It provides the necessary instruments for developing novel interfaces, especially on newly released mobile devices.”

According to Yu, the research group will build a media effects lab that allows NDSU scholars and students to investigate a variety of new technologies and media, and observe how users may interact with them.

“This grant will be used to carry out research on designing new interfaces for devices like smart phones or tablet PCs which may improve the interaction between users and electronic devices,” Yu said. “Additionally, the grant allows us to examine the usability and effectiveness of these new designs and to understand how they could be modified to adjust to various needs in different interaction contexts. It is our hope that this grant can support the enhancement of creativities and innovations related to research on new interaction devices.

In a notification communication dated Sept. 9, John C. Robey, NSF grants and agreements officer, said the grant is effective Sept. 15 and expires on Aug. 31, 2014.

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