WORKSHOP: ThinkTank (Doctoral Consortium) at ICAD 2017

  • Ballora, Mark Edward (PI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


This is funding to support a 'Think Tank' (workshop) of about 13 promising graduate student scholars along with distinguished research faculty mentors, in conjunction with the 23rd Annual International Conference on Auditory Display (ICAD 2017), which will be held June 20-23 on the University Park campus of Pennsylvania State University. ICAD is the premier international forum for presenting research on the use of sound to display data, monitor systems, and provide enhanced user interfaces for computers and virtual reality systems. It is unique in its singular focus on auditory displays and the array of perception, technology, and application areas that this encompasses, which include for example data sonification, auditory wayfinding, auditory graphs, speech interfaces, virtual environments, and associated perceptual, cognitive, technical, and technological research and development. Many of the interdisciplinary research and development efforts are of direct relevance to persons with perceptual disabilities, especially visual impairments; for example, developing wayfinding systems for the blind requires research into effective distance cues and object identifiers used in auditory displays. Research into the efficacy of auditory graphs may be used to help visually impaired students and scientists participate more fully in science. Even household devices can have more effective auditory displays that provide richer information than the basic 'beeps' they presently tend to generate. A common approach in this field is universal design, wherein a display strategy is developed once, to be used by all kinds of users, including those with and without specific access issues. This year's conference theme is Sound in Learning; more details about the conference are available online at The ICAD Think Tank is a doctoral consortium that promotes scholarship and networking among new researchers in this important emerging interdisciplinary area. It will help shape ongoing and future research projects that have clear and important implications for development of assistive technologies and universal access. The doctoral consortium will afford participants exposure to a larger community, allowing them to bond among themselves and with senior researchers at a critical stage in their professional development. Because the students and faculty constitute a diverse group across a variety of dimensions, including nationality and culture, scientific discipline, and institution, the students' horizons are broadened to the future benefit of the field. This year, the organizers expect that up to 10 U.S.-based Think Tank Scholars will have their travel and attendance heavily subsidized. Additionally, up to 3 U.S.-based Think Tank Scholars local to the central Pennsylvania area will have their attendance at ICAD 2017 (but not travel and accommodation) subsidized, for a total of 13 Student Scholars. Some NSF funds will also be used to support travel by research faculty panelists (both U.S. and foreign-based), since they provide great value to the US students, but NSF funds will not be used to support travel and participation of non-U.S. students. The organizers will be proactive in promoting diversity among the attendees. Stage in their academic program, research topic, gender and disability status are examples of dimensions on which participant diversity will be pursued; geographic and institutional diversity will also be strongly considered.

The ICAD Think Tank, a full-day event which will take place on June 19 immediately preceding the conference, is open to graduate students at all stages of their educational program, including both Masters and PhD students. Exceptional undergraduates who have demonstrated interest in pursuing this field in their graduate careers may also be considered. The Think Tank will bring together students from diverse backgrounds (e.g., engineering, computing, music, and psychology), so that they can experience the broad spectrum of approaches to auditory displays, assistive technologies and universal design. The Think Tank will develop a supportive community of scholars and a spirit of collaborative research, by providing participants with a friendly and open, yet rigorous, scientific forum in which to present their research ideas, to listen to ongoing work from peer students, and to receive constructive feedback from a panel of distinguished experts. Panel feedback is designed to help students understand and articulate how their work is positioned relative to related research, whether their topics are adequately focused for thesis research projects, whether their methods are correctly chosen and applied, and whether their results are appropriately analyzed and presented. The Think Tank will also offer invited speakers and discussion groups (e.g., to provide students with relevant information about important issues for doctoral candidates, whether they are considering academic or industrial career paths). Each student participant will furthermore present his/her work in a special poster session during the conference proper. And the Think Tank Chair will provide a summary/review/debrief at the conference banquet that includes an overview of the event's success and in which all Think Tank participants (students and panelists) are introduced to the community.

Effective start/end date1/1/177/31/17


  • National Science Foundation: $22,600.00


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