ASU students put humanity, individuality into videos

April 13, 2010

What does it mean to be human? ASU students at Barrett, the Honors College, drew on their creativity to answer that head-scratcher in a video contest. Five students have won recognition by creating short videos for an “Eyes on Barrett” contest.

First place went to Josh Lambert, who submitted a two-and-a-half minute video of evocative campus scenes and piano music, interspersed with clips from his own family life. Lambert, an electrical engineering freshman, won a flip camcorder for his piece, “Humanity: an Autobiography.” Download Full Image

Second-place winner was Garret Walliman, for his four-minute entry featuring student voice-overs and images from around the world. He won a 16 GB flash drive for his entry, “Thus Humanity.” Walliman is a computer systems engineering freshman.

Honorable mentions went to three students: Grishma Singh, philosophy freshman, for her humorous entry, “Rousseau Explains Social Networking”; David Berger, global studies senior, for his musical road journey through Scotland, “To Be Human”; and Gregory Begenyi, marketing sophomore, for his photographic interpretation of the Pearl Jam song, “Sleight of Hand.”

Videos were judged by a panel of Barrett students at ASU Polytechnic. Each entry was scored on its originality, interpretation of the theme and its overall effect.

“This was our first year to hold the contest, so we didn’t know what to expect,” said Jennifer Brady, Barrett program coordinator at the Polytechnic campus. “Barrett students are quite creative and have a lot to express, and we’re pleased with the results.”

The videos will be shown with other student work as part of the Barrett Film Festival from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., April 22, at the Cronkite Theatre, at the ASU Downtown Campus. To view the contest videos online, visit

Other">"> films to be shown at the festival include four short documentaries by ASU journalism students: “Mixed Rice: Japanese Americans and Interracial Marriage,” by Maxine Park; “Silent Voices: The Underrepresentation of Native Americans in Local News,” by Colton Shone; “Lodestar: A Holistic Haven for Help and Humanity,” by Jessica Andrews and Denica Moodey; and “Living Homeless: Kids on the Street,” by Tara Prindiville.

Building a better relationship: humans and machines

April 13, 2010

The Human Machine Symbiosis Lab (HMS) at ASU's Department of Biomedical Informatics (BMI) is working to make interactions between humans and machines easier and more effective.

“The goal of my research is to design, develop and evaluate a socially relevant, knowledge-driven collaborative training network for medical education. With this system, students as well as physicians can interact with each other for problem-solving and decision-making,” said Prabal Khanal, a BMI doctoral student and researcher for HMS. Download Full Image

“They can also utilize their expertise to interact with patients in the virtual system.”  This technology can be very useful as a practical application for simulating surgery for practicing medical students.

Using collaborations between researchers from diverse fields, the HMS lab is able to implement information gathered from pattern recognition, signal processing, multimedia, information systems, visualizations, psychology, computer graphics and other resources. This allows for a unique approach to solving problems and developing designs. These collaborations are vital in designing technology such as “touch screens” which require the knowledge of biomechanics as well as engineering.

“Working in an interdisciplinary collaboration helps mainly during the validation phase," said Khanal. "We are developing these kinds of simulators to provide virtual collaborative sessions to medical students and physicians. So, the system must closely resemble the real world scenario. Our technical team is capable of developing the system, however we, initially, might not know how physicians or surgeons interact with patients and with each other in a team. This information is provided to us by experts in the medical field. With their feedback, we are able to design more realistic simulators.”

The philosophy at the HMS lab is to see humans and machines in a relationship which reflects each others’ positive traits as represented by their logo, a variation of the Yin-Yang.

Visit the HMS">">HMS Lab Web site for more information.