Wednesday, September 25, 2013
12:00 PM
UR, CSB Room 601
Sri Kurniawan
University of California Santa Cruz
Playful Assistive Technology (HCI Seminar Kickoff)

We would like to announce the "HCI Seminar," which is a new, joint colloquium between UR and RIT. The seminar will be held one Wednesday per month from 12PM-1:30PM, and the location will alternate between universities. This seminar is organized by Dr. Erin Carroll (UR) and Dr. Vicki Hanson (RIT). The HCI Seminar schedule can be found at The second seminar will be held on 10/23 at RIT.

Our first seminar speaker will be Dr. Sri Kurniawan from the University of California Santa Cruz, who conducts research in assistive technology. To kickoff the HCI seminar, pizza and drinks will also be provided. Since we are serving food, we do ask that you RSVP:

You may direct any questions to Erin Carroll at

Traditionally, research and work on assistive technology focuses on productivity or basic daily living supporting systems. Consequently, assistive systems are often designed with the least attention paid to the end users of the systems. Few assistive systems can claim to have considered usability, enjoyment and aesthetics aspects. Studies had shown that abandonment of the system as well as rehabilitation program can be linked back to the mismatch between user expectation and the provision of such aspects.

In this talk I will discuss human-centered assistive technology. I will show that it is possible to design assistive systems that are playful, usable and aesthetically pleasing. I will present examples, success stories and less successful stories of a brain game for stroke survivors, a creativity software for children with autism and a mobile photography application that allows users to input additional voice information to help them remember the context of the pictures they take.

Sri Kurniawan is an associate professor in Human-Computer Interaction and Assistive Technology at Baskin School of Engineering, UC Santa Cruz. Her technical work focuses designing technology for populations with special needs, including older persons, people with disabilities, those from low socioeconomic and educational backgrounds and those from third world countries. Her scientific pursuit is in how assistive, educational and therapy technology can be enjoyable, usable, and useful for those with special needs. This led to her most recent works on games on health and games for change, including interactive story games to motivate Hispanic teenagers to perform physical activities, games to educate first time parents about childbirth and labor (in collaboration with the Homeless Prenatal Project), and games to motivate children with repaired cleft lip/palate to practice speech at home.