Rachael Miller Wins Best Undergrad Poster Award at MICWIC Conference

Rachael Miller Enlarge
Rachael Miller

Computer Science undergraduate Rachael Miller has won the Best Undergrad Poster Award at the Michigan Celebration of Women in Computing (MICWIC) Conference, which took place March 22-23, 2013 at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI.

The award is for the poster “A Natural User Interface for 3D Environments,” which outlines research that Ms Miller is conducting as part of an Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) project.

The project is looking into input systems for interacting with 3D environments. Because our input systems up until now have been largely two-dimensional or difficult to use, we haven’t had a natural way to interact with 3D simulated environments. Using the Microsoft Kinect, we can both represent the body in virtual space and use natural gestures to control the environment.

Analyzing the data received from two Kinect systems allows for creation of a real-time, digital model of the body. This body represents an avatar that corresponds to the user’s location in space, allowing them to interact with virtual objects. As a supplement to physical interaction, a gesture-based user interface provides the user greater control in simulations (e.g. navigation, selection). By using the hands rather than other, more restrictive input systems, the experience becomes more immersive and the user can focus on their data analysis, training, or whatever other goals they may have.