Image of Research – UR Edition, 2014 Winners

The Image of Research – UR Edition is a multidisciplinary competition celebrating the diversity and breadth of undergraduate student research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. All undergraduate students are invited to submit entries consisting of an image and brief text that articulates how the image relates to the research. Entries will be judged by a multidisciplinary panel for:

  • Connection between image narrative and research
  • Originality
  • Visual Impact

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First place ($300 award): JunYoung Gwak, “Vision based construction site surveillance for efficient utilization of resources and safety monitoring,” Computer Science

JunYoung Gwak                                                           (Click photo to enlarge)

Narrative: My passion lies in computer vision, a field of study which makes computer see and understand what people can. Since humans heavily rely on visual information, building a computer system which has the same visual sense has a significant meaning. With computer vision, computers can smartly interact with the environment and perform various tasks that could only be done by humans before. The goal of my project is to automatically detect and track workers and equipments from video cameras and localize their position in 3D purely based on computer vision techniques. In this image, 3D position of the workers are displayed on the point cloud model of the construction site. Based on this information, computer can automatically alarm workers walking into a dangerous area. Also, managers can make better decisions about utilization of workers and equipments. I hope small gains in efficiency through my research could lead to an enormous cost savings on the $900 billion construction industry.

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Second place ($200 award): Aimee Gottlieb, “Inclusivity through Sport,” Recreation, Sport, and Tourism

Aimee Gottlieb                                                           (Click photo to enlarge)

Narrative: I took this picture at a wheelchair track practice last fall. It tied in perfectly with the research I had been doing on sport and inclusion. Previously, people with disabilities have been excluded from mainstream society and sports, with a mindset where sports were a tool primarily for rehabilitation. Recently, there has been a global push to be more inclusive through sport in order to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals laid out by the United Nations. To be more inclusive through sport, a greater effort needs to be made to not only include people with disabilities in adaptive sports, but also through mainstream sports. Sport has this unique power of uniting people and making differences in ability seem nonexistent. Being inclusive through sport can create awareness of different disabilities, make participation have meaning for everyone, and encourage opportunities to play together. This picture encompasses the power of inclusivity through sport. The disability appears nonexistent and the competitive drive and love for the sport is central to the image.

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Honorable mention ($50 award): Le Wang, “Reading Physiological Signals from Faces,” Electrical and Computer Engineering
Le Wang                                                           (Click photo to enlarge)

Narrative:My research is on non-contact heart rate detection using temporal analysis of face video captured by ubiquitous RGB webcams. The cyclical movement of blood causes the color variations on the face, and the pulse via abdominal aorta and the carotid arteries. Heart rate is a critical vital sign of physical condition in medical diagnosis. There are also emerging needs for non-contact, low-term and accessible cardiac pulse estimation with wide applications in health monitoring, emotion assessment, and human computer interaction. To investigate the relationship between temporal color signals on the face regions, I use cross-correlation to measure the similarity between color variations on different face regions. The image on the left is the cross-correlation coefficient map with respect to the signal extracted at the forehead. The image on the right is the overlaid result of a single face video frame and the correlation coefficient map. We temporally band-pass filter each signal to reduce noises. From the resultant map, we could see high similarity between color signals on skin regions and the spatial pattern emerged as caused by the underlying blood flow. Our main research goal is to develop robust heart rate detection in unconstrained environments

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Honorable mention ($50 award): Tayana Panova, “Phone Attention Social Psychology,” Psychology

Tayana Panova                                                           (Click photo to enlarge)

Narrative: This image is a combination of drawings I have done that reflect what I see on campus every day. I have observed that students on campus are constantly looking down at their phones and engaging with them, and my hypothesis is that this behavior can have negative social and psychological consequences. I am currently doing research on this topic as part of the psychology honors program, and my results have shown high correlations between maladaptive phone and Internet use with anxiety and depression. Previous research has shown that cell phone and Internet use is also associated with lower GPAs, unsatisfactory interpersonal interactions, sleep issues, and general psychological distress. This image attempts to convey some of the problems related with technology usage and propose a solution to set the phone down a little more often and look up, thereby engaging more with the world around us.

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We’d like to thank our judges:

  • Karen Rodriguez’G, Office of Undergraduate Research
  • Sarah Christensen, Visual Resources Curator, University Library
  • Elizabeth Brown, Graduate Assistant, GSLIS

Competition coordinated by Merinda Kaye Hensley, Scholarly Commons Co-Coordinator, University Library with special thanks to the University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics. For more information, please visit: http://www.library.illinois.edu/sc/ugresearch/index.html

We will be creating an online exhibit for all of this years entries. Watch this blog, “Undergraduate Research at Illinois” for an announcement.

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