Entries with tag university of washington.

Researchers Use Crowdsourcing to Teach Robot

University of Washington computer scientists say crowdsourcing can help quickly teach a robot various tasks. They are working on a method that enables a robot to ask for assistance when it is stumped on a task. Typically, researchers model human behavior to enable robots to learn to perform functions, but this a long, repetitive process. The University of Washington scientists hold that, with machine-learning techniques, a robot could learn the fundamentals of a task, then ask for more information from humans online about how to best complete it. To demonstrate the possibilities, they assigned a robot to build objects—–such as a car, tree, turtle and snake—with Lego blocks, which it couldn’t complete. They then asked groups of people to create models of each shape. The robot studied the models and figured out the best way to build the objects. The researchers are also working on using crowdsourcing to teach robots how to navigate and find items within a multifloor building. They presented their work at the 2014 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation and are scheduled to do so at the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence’s Conference on Human Computation & Crowdsourcing in November. (EurekAlert)(The University of Washington)

Study Determines User Biometric Authentication Preferences

University of Washington researchers conducted a survey of user authentication preferences to determine why the adoption of biometric systems is lagging. They found passwords remain the most commonly used identification method despite the advent of various biometric-based authentication systems that promise to be more secure. For biometric authentication to be accepted by users, it needs to be “efficient and accurate, but also something that people trust, accept and don’t get frustrated with,” stated Cecilia Aragon, associate professor of human centered design at the university. To gather this information, they developed a system that looks like an ATM, but which uses eye-tracking technology as well as a PIN for security. The system was tested by individuals who were asked to make a simulated ATM withdrawal. They found speed, accuracy and choice of error messages were all important in the success of an eye-tracking system. They say most existing biometric systems do not incorporate user experience in their design. The Washington researchers collaborated with Oleg Komogortsev at Texas State University on the system and plan to develop a version that could work in a desktop computer system. The work was presented at the International Association for Pattern Recognition’s International Conference on Biometrics in June. (redOrbit)(University of Washington)(“Perceptions of Interfaces for Eye Movement Biometrics,” Brooks et al. at University of Washington website) 

System Detects Gestures via Wi-Fi

University of Washington researchers have developed a system able to recognize gestures based on how the motions affect Wi-Fi signals. Their WiSee system lets a user control home appliances with a hand gesture from any room in a house. The technology is based on the Doppler effect, which entails a change in the observed frequency of a sound, light, or other wave when the source and observer are in motion relative to each other. WiSee consists of a receiver that detects frequency changes in Wi-Fi signals of devices in the room reflected off a body part moving while making a gesture. Their software can detect nine motions and was 94 percent accurate during testing conducted in an office and a two-bedroom dwelling. They claim their gesture-recognition technology is simpler and more affordable than existing approaches such as Microsoft’s camera-based Kinect. The University of Washington researchers are working on enabling the system to control multiple devices simultaneously. They are scheduled to present their research at the MobiCom 2013 conference in Miami in late September and early October. They have published a working draft of the findings on their website <http://wisee.cs.washington.edu>. (BBC)(University of Washington -- 1)(University of Washington -- 2)

Game Lets Players Test Computer-Security Skills

University of Washington computer scientists have developed a card game that lets young players find out what it’s like to be a security professional. Control-Alt-Hack—designed for 15- to 30-year-olds with some computer-science knowledge—presents participants with scenarios and ethical situations that security professionals might encounter. In the game, players work for Hackers Inc., a small company that performs security audits and consultations. In their turn, one of the three to six players selects a card that presents them with a hacking challenge including threats to cars or implanted medical devices. The designers say the game could supplement a high school or introductory college-level computer science course or help IT professionals who work in fields other than security. Intel, the US National Science Foundation, and the Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education helped fund the project. The researchers will provide a limited number of games for free to educators in the continental US and in the fall, will sell them for about $30. They are presented their work this week at the Black Hat 2012 information-security meeting. (Science Daily)(University of Washington)(Control-Alt-Hack)

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