Client proposals

Below are all the project proposals along with the client's (proposer) contact information.

There are more proposals than we need so, some of them will not get done.

Please read them carefully. I will post a form here for you to fill out and tell me which ones you prefer to work on.

1. Chemistry Lab Accidents

I would like a system that records chemistry teaching and research lab accidents and near misses. In my mind I see teaching assistants and faculty using the internet or a smartphone app to upload accident information. We would like to be able to sort the data and write reports. If the data were exported to an application like Excel that would be a plus. As an aside, our faculty discusses accidents in every monthly faculty meeting based on the paper reports that were filed during the previous month.

I believe that many schools would download such software and use it and I see a second phase in which different school records are anonymized and stripped of identification and placed on a national database as soon as some critical number of users have started to use the system. Each school would somehow be able to figure where they stood in a ranking or list and could compare them to others on the list without anyone’s identity being known.

Scott Goode, Professor Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

2. Advisement Scheduler

Jose, I currently have a program that I wrote call ME-ADVISOR. It is what every student in our department uses for advising. I wrote it using Visual Basic It currently will only run on computer on our network using Microsoft Explorer. It does work mostly with other browsers. The program has over 6,000 lines of code. I would love for this to be able to work on mobile devices. This may be more than what you were looking for.

If you are interested in seeing the code run. Go to the web page Select Mechanical Engineer Push start Enter any last name, first name, and 4 digits (it is NOT tied to any university database BUT will remember you if you come back with same last name and 4 digits) The students moves the courses in the “Remaining Courses for Degree” into either the “Current Classes” or “Courses Completed” boxes using the arrows. When that is completed push “Get Advised” The program will then figure out the best schedule and the students remaining academic career. Each semester has two boxes, the left box contain the suggested courses the ones on the right are courses they are eligible to take (based on prereqs and upper/lower division status. The student then can change around their schedule to suit their needs. When complete the students press the print button and that is what we sign and turn in to student services.

Stephen R. McNeill, Ph.D., P.E. Undergraduate Director Dept. of Mechanical Engineering

3. Graffiti Machine

I always thought some big graffiti machine on the side of Swearingen would be cool. One with 2 motors and and an actuate spray can. Draw on a big tarp? Check Potentially some interesting software to convert image into a trajectory and then make it actually work. We have a couple of good sized motors already. Maybe make it RGB or multi color instead of mono?

GraffitiBot - Using two motors tethered to a print head, automatically draw graffiti on a wall. Initially, use a target image and process it to generate trajectories for the motors. A control interface must be used to drive the motor and actuators. Some hardware may be needed to handle the print head tethers and the print head. The print head could be made multi-color. This work is inspired by but at larger scale and multiple colors.

Ed Gatzke - Chemical Engineering

4. Structural Engineering Data Collection

Data collection from experimental tests is all type of structural engineering laboratories. Other small to medium structure labs do not have the resources to have the personnel or equipment required to have a database of experimental data. Therefore, data is often stored in external hard drives by graduate students working in their thesis and often the data is lost when the graduate student graduates. In addition, data is not curated and it is difficult to understand after a few years. The goal of this project would be to develop a Drupal module that will help a small/medium size lab manage experimental data.

“Must” Requirements:

  • Add metadata describing experimental data
  • Data should be password protected by default – however, some data might be marked as “public” to be shared with anyone.
  • Data should be able to be downloaded and uploaded easily from Matlab (perhaps, using web services to enable use from other applications).
  • Metadata should be searchable.

Juan M. Caicedo - Civil Engineering

5. Race Tires

The app that I am looking for is to manage race tires. The race engineer (or crew chief in NASCAR) must stay in constant contact with the tire technician during a race weekend. There are many parameters that must be coordinated between the two, and can be frequently updated during a race. This information includes tire compound, cold inflation pressure, tire set to be readied for installation on the car, and when a tire set is no longer going to be used and can be discarded. The engineer needs a way to rapidly communicate this information in a secure maner to his tire tech. Additionally, detail tire information is needed to be communicated from the tire tech to the engineer. This includes which tire sets are available to be installed on the car, tire hot pressures and temperatures, tire wear, and any concerns regarding a tire such as abnormal wear. This information should be logged to allow review after the race weekend. There is also a need to do some calculations. The tire cold pressure is specified by the engineer based on a reference air temperature. As the air temperature changes through the weekend, the cold pressure setting must change. Currently, the technician must consult with the engineer as to the changes. Often the technician and engineer work in areas quite a ways apart, resulting in a lot of lost time as the technician runs between the work areas. I would like the app to incorporate the ability to let the technician enter an air temperature and have the app calculate the change in cold pressure.

I will need to be able to have this app loaded on an engineer and tire technician's phone. Because technicians often change teams, I need to be able to enable and disable his access to the data. The access should be able to be controlled by race and car, so if I enable a new technician half way through the season, he will not have access to previous races or other cars on the team.

I will use this app in Grand Am road racing, where I work as a race engineer.

In summary: 1. Data communication between the engineer and the technician 2. Logging of data for future review 3. Data security

I do have a question regarding ownership of the app and how much detail of the app will be published. I feel that my tire management gives me a competitive edge in motorsports and would not want this app to be freely available.

Please contact me with any questions.


John Bobbitt To get his contact information, ask me.

6. 2-SMART

Self-Monitoring Assessment in Real Time (2-SMART): A behavioral weight loss program using mobile technology for overweight girls and their mothers Obesity among both children1 and adults2 is a major public health problem in the United States and effective strategies to combat this growing epidemic are desperately needed. Expert Committee recommendations for obesity interventions among children promote family-centered treatment targeting healthy eating.3 Parent weight loss is an important predictor of improvement in a child’s BMI z-score.4 Targeting children at an age (9-11 years old) when they are gaining independence, while still relying on parents may be promising for family-based treatment. Critically needed at this time are effective, accessible interventions simultaneously targeting weight loss in girls and their mothers.

Mobile health interventions can effectively change dietary intake in adults;5,6as well as improve disease management in pediatric populations.7 More than half of US consumers now use smartphones.8 Therefore, we propose to develop and pilot test a dietary intervention for weight loss through mobile technology for overweight mother/daughter dyads. The proposed intervention will utilize crowdsourcing (using the input of several users to provide feedback and information)9 as a way to enhance dietary self-monitoring and provide real-time feedback on eating behaviors. The 2-SMART program will use the traffic light categorization system to self-monitor food, which has been used successfully for both adolescent and adult weight loss.10,11Participants will take a photo of their meals and tag the food and beverage items as red, yellow, or green foods. In addition, this approach will allow mothers and daughters to interact with one another, rating each other’s food choices and rewarding each other for healthy eating behaviors. Specific Aims: Aim 1:Develop “2-SMART” (Self-Monitoring Assessment in Real Time), a behavior modification program for diet using mobile technology for overweight/obese girls aged 9-11 and their mothers. Aim 2:Conduct a 12-week pilot trial of the 2-SMART intervention among 20 overweight/obese mother-daughter dyads to test intervention feasibility, usability and engagement, refine recruitment, and ensure retention. Possible changes in energy intake and expenditure and adiposity will be explored. Mobile technologies provide new and promising venues to engage families in behavior change interventions. However, this technology has not yet been tapped to engage mother-daughter pairs to support self-monitoring behaviors for weight loss. This proof of concept and feasibility study will inform a future randomized controlled trial that will test the hypothesis: parent-child dyads who participate in an obesity intervention with 2-SMART for self-monitoring will demonstrate greater improvements in dietary intake and adiposity compared to controls. If significant weight loss can be achieved by a completely mobile intervention, 2-SMART may dramatically shift how behavioral weight loss programs are delivered, and has the potential to decrease cost and increase dissemination rates.

Brie Turner-McGrievy, Ph.D., M.S., R.D. Assistant Professor Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior Arnold School of Public Health

7. Game Theory

I do experimental research in the context of game theory/social dilemmas. If you're not familiar with the paradigm, it involves 2 or more players making independent decisions and their individual outcomes are determined by the pattern of decision made by all players (e.g., That means we need real-time computation of outcomes. For this reason a lot of these games are run live with one set of players at a time and it takes time to for the experimenter to acquire and compute outcomes. There is one application out there called Ztree that allows this to be done on networked pcs. It also allows for the experimenter to administer questions in between trials and to use some rudimentary graphics. Most importantly it allows us to run multiple games at the same time and to run multiple trials per game in a short period of time. The problem is that Ztree is very difficult to understand and modify for non-programmers. My RA took about 3 months to set up his first experiment. Then it crashed. There is a big demand for this sort of app at USC -- I have colleagues in Econ, International Business and Sociology all conduct game theory experiments and we have a mutual disdain for ZTree. In the scholarly community internationally, Ztree is the only game in town, so the broader market is huge. In the interests of science, I think a user friendly open-source app would be heroic. Citations would be nice, too ; ). We have Ztree and documentation so I can provide very specific requirements and parameters of the app.

M. Audrey Korsgaard, PhD Professor and Chair, Management Department Darla Moore School of Business

8. Screener

My application is called "Screener": An application for educators, film festivals, and anyone who needs to present a seamless, professional motion picture show. As you know, I do media and design, so I already have a significant mockup. I'm attaching the (confidential) powerpoint deck that I use to explain it.

Hope it's something students might be interested in!

Simon Tarr, Associate Professor of Art and Media Arts Program Coordinator

9. Room Scheduling

The UofSC College of Education is seeking a web-based scheduling application to centralize the management of our available meeting spaces and portable technology/equipment – tracking our reservations and room availability. Our current process has become an unwieldy task, where some rooms are under- or over- utilized. Thus, we are looking for additional automation to manage the high volume of requests, simplify the day-to-day facility management and provide an exceptional level of customer service in an efficient manner.

The ideal software application would provide ease of use to both internal and external users. The application would run on the College or UTS servers, integrate with our SQL databases, and should be compatible across the popular web browsers. The new scheduling application should provide for easy recovery of errors, prevent double bookings and have a high satisfaction rating for the external user.

Our internal users, or those managing the resources, should be able to review and approve equipment requests or room reservations. Managers or admin users should also have the capacity to update the list of available rooms, descriptions, equipment and the location of equipment. This side of the application should have some security parameters (e.g. username and password).

Our external users, or the public interface, should have a reservation form for rooms and equipment. Public users should be able to review a list of meeting spaces, their available layouts and equipment. Most importantly, this interface should have a real-time inventory of available rooms or equipment viewable in calendar format. Ideally, users would also be able to search for available rooms/equipment or by date.

Simone Gause, Assistant Dean for Administration

10. Geologic Samples

I am in the market for an iOS + Mac OSX application to inventory and track the location of the geologic samples in our growing Antarctic (and other) rock collection(s). If easily customizable, I think such an App could be useful for a range of scientists (not just geologists) who strive to keep track of analyses (i.e., samples) that take a variety of forms, and move from field localities to archives to preparation facilities to laboratory to laboratory to laboratory and back to archives, etc. over their life cycle. I suspect if sufficiently customizable, any of a number of people outside of science who are concerned with inventories, etc. might also be interested. I've taken rudimentary ganders at the various App stores and not found anything that exactly suits my group's needs.

Ideally, I'm interested in the following features of such an app. Required components are starred:

  • * easy collection of standard sample metadata using mobile device (iPhone/iPad for sure, but ideally other smartphones and mobile devices) -- field site lat/long, lithology, sample photographs, micrographs, preparation steps, analysis steps, aliquot type, etc.
  • * collection of said data using a hierarchy of mobile device 'buttons' to avoid the repeated typing, or scrolling through lists, but with minimal 'key'strokes. Maybe something along the lines of Actions, but for metadata as opposed to a remote control (which seems to be Actions' m.o.)
  • * 'barcode' scanning capabilities using mobile device cameras: in a nutshell, I want to put a QR or other code symbol on a bulk rock sample (say in a five gallon bucket), and another one on a 2 mL glass vial containing the zircon grains we extracted from the aforementioned bulk sample, and be able to snap a photo of said code with a mobile device and for that to bring up the app upon which we can log from where and to where the aliquot is going. For examples: collection in the field --> sample bucket for short-term storage; sample bucket --> rock crushing laboratory for disaggregation; rock crushing laboratory --> mineral separation laboratory, etc. etc.
  • * the capability for said app to work with (e.g.,, on campus) and without (e.g., in Antarctica) internet access, and for metadata collected in the latter situation to be seamlessly updated when an internet connection can be had.
  • the capability for multiple users to be adding/modifying information on separate samples in separate locations more or less simultaneously, with and without internet access, but without data loss. In other words, a bombproof Cloud/sync system.
  • the capability to search, sort, etc. by a certain characteristic, history, analysis procedure in mobile (iOS) and desktop (OS X) formats
  • spreadsheet editing (not just exporting) support -- it is helpful to be able to batch edit certain fields as opposed to repeatedly mashing the same button for different samples.
  • an uber-clean, simple, but aesthetically pleasing UI. Something akin to Clear, Agenda, Day One, Solar, and the aforementioned Actions, etc.
  • I've found that simple, easy, quick, foolproof and bombproof is essential for an inventory system such as this to work and be embraced (by my group, let alone others).

Random-ish thoughts:

At present I use iOS and OS X versions of Bento to achieve these goals with mixed results, and could share with the team what I like and dislike about my current system in the hope that would expedite the process, and perhaps put my thoughts into a more sensible format.

I use Google Drive and the various Google Docs, and would be delighted with easy Google integration, but this is not necessarily required.

A web app could be acceptable, provided that (1) it could collect data without an internet connection, and (2) the mobile version of said app was easy to use and not simply a desktop version with minuscule buttons, tabs, etc.

David L Barbeau, tectonics & sedimentation laboratory, department of earth & ocean sciences

11. Building Smarter Social Media for Academic Announcements

This project will be to build a website and service for students, professors and other scholars. A significant problem in some parts of academia is that important announcements are made via a variety of electronic media platforms and are rarely machine-sortable by keyword or announcement type. One announcement might come out over a list serve and be a job announcement (here’s an example), while another is a Call For Papers over an RSS feed (here’s a HASTAC announcement – they use RSS), while a third could be the table of contents of a new book, sent to the emails of particular people. In this project, students will build a website which will aggregate announcements from across the disciplines of History and English from numerous social media platforms. Users should be able to select specific criteria of announcements they want to receive, for instance job announcements, Calls For Papers, etc., or announcements with certain key words in them. The website should process the language in the pool of all announcements it has collected for keywords specified by users. Ideally, the website would itself offer users multiple possibilities for receiving this information – over Twitter, Facebook, an RSS feed, email, in digest form, etc. I envision that the user basis for this would begin small – say about 10-20 users in the first month, but could grow quite rapidly to many thousands or more within 6 months. There is a golden opportunity here to provide a far better means of information-distribution than currently exist.

Student on the project would work in collaboration with Dr. Colin Wilder and staff at the Center for Digital Humanities at USC. If the project turns out well, students might be able to continue working at CDH in the summer or fall 2013 as well on other projects.

Dr. Colin F. Wilder Associate Director Center for Digital Humanities

12. Video Tagging

I have worked with struggling readers and their teachers for the past 20 years. My dissertation puts forward a theory about why readers struggle at any age, and what can be done to help them. To validate my theory, I developed a coding system (NOTE: the word 'coding' in the Social Sciences means, roughly, what we mean by 'tagging') that allows teachers and literacy coaches to analyze their teaching to determine the extent to which they guide and prompt readers to use multiple sources of information to read text (versus single sources)and the extent to which they teach for flexibility (doing whatever the situation demands to make meaning on text).

Right now, I am using Transana (developed by David Woods at the University of Wisconsin) to analyze, code, and sort video clips. This is fine for research, but not terribly practical for teachers and literacy coaches in the real world. What I would like to do is to develop an app in which video would be captured (probably using an iPad) and then the video could be marked off into clips, coded according to my coding system, sorted, and called up according to categories.

I envision a literacy coach being able to sit with a teacher, mark off sections of video, and code it by choosing among buttons (categories) that take them to sub-menus (sub categories). After the coding is completed, the teacher could not only watch categories of clips back to back, but would a summary showing patterns of how she prompts, teaches, and responds in various situations.

I hope you will consider my project for app development. I am very excited about turning this into something practical, teacher-friendly, and useful.

Jennifer Young, PhD. student in Language and Literacy in the College of Education

13. Grubbly

I have a couple of ideas related to Grubbly that I think would be great projects. These projects could be components of already functioning and released applications (iphone, android, and web app). I think this is a unique opportunity for the students. I’m not sure if that is OK. Some could be stand-alone.

  1. A food special/restaurant recommendation engine. Could be built from the ground up or using Greenville, sc startup API. This will need to be built into all 3 platforms.
  2. A mobile application (iphone) for finding food trucks that food truck owners can use to update their location.
  3. A mobile application for restaurant owners to update their food specials on the fly using the Grubbly API.
  4. A mobile application for browsing vendors from various farmer’s markets. Could use the USDA API for pulling in available markets. I think the API is so incomplete it’s hardly worth using.

Hopefully one of these ideas will be of interest to a team!

Jonathan Mayhak

14. University 101

My name is Mary Elizabeth and I serve as the Associate Director for University 101 Programs at the University of South Carolina. As the leader in first-year seminars, University 101 Programs strives to always stay ahead of the curve and relevant to first-year students. As a program, we currently write, edit, and print our own textbook that is required of all 3800 students that take our course. We would love to move to an interactive version of the text through an app. There are a lot of digital books out there but is not what we are looking for. We really want students to engage with the book through videos, through fillable inventories, through social media. I think having a app built by students for students would be a great opportunity for a partnership. We would like to launch this app in May of 2014 for use in Fall 2014.

Mary Elizabeth Sewell, M.Ed. Associate Director, University 101

15. Childcare Centers

I am writing to submit a project proposal for your Capstone Project Class. I am the Interim Research Director of the USC Child Development Research Center as well as the Executive director of the South Carolina Child Care Resource and Referral Network (CCR&R). The work of the CCRR&R network includes many things, among them is to provide support for families throughout the state as they attempt to find child care. On behalf of the CCR&R and Families throughout SC I would like to submit a proposal to build an app that would help families find child care. During the past few years in my role with the CCR&R I have found that many families lack access to many of the resources that are currently available through the internet, the most recent report in computer access and connectivity validates this concern that many people in SC don't have the basic resources needed to access information through a computer and the internet. While access to a computer terminal is limited many people do have smartphone technology that is underutilized with regard to supporting the search for child care.

The Proposal:

We would like to propose that a group of your students build an app built that will assist parents looking for quality child care near them. The app should be similar to Yelp in that it lets parents rate and describe their experiences with child care, but also should link to publicly available information regarding a child care provider's compliance with licensing standards and their quality rating level (essential features that are not included in Yelp). Finally the app should provide basic information about the child care facility such as hours of operation, ages of children they serve, and the rates that they charge families. Our team of folks have a good relationship with the SC Department of Social Services, Division of Early Care and Education and could assist in populating any back-end database that might be necessary to make the app function effectively.

I look forward to the opportunity to collaborate with you and your students.

Herman T. Knopf, Ph.D. Interim Research Director Yvonne & Schuyler Moore Child Development Research Center

16. Android Children Games

These games will be used to teach children from various backgrounds and become assets for underprivileged children in Asia and Africa. There are several games to choose from:

Basic Description for History Game: This is a simple 2D matching game with a twist. Here, you don’t match words to words – instead, you match video clips to words. And as you match the right options, new options drop down from the top.

The aim of this game is to fill a timeline. As you match the correct options, you can drag them to the timeline and hang the video clips. The challenge is to complete the timeline while playing a smart matching game.

Specification (same for all games): Build for an 8 inch Android 4.1 tablet using the latest Android API at the time of development. More details will follow once application has been accepted as a project.

Basic Description for Letters Game: Help a child learn his letters through a basic Android game that allows them to shoot bubbles. The game involves shooting bubbles with objects trapped in them and the more bubbles they shoot, the better they perform. Your job is to ensure the development of a smooth functioning game that allows them to shoot a crossbow to free animals and objects.

Basic Description for Pet-care App: This will be a 2D game for children allowing them to not only take care of their pets, but also increasing the pet’s happiness quotient by finding correct answers to their daily questions. This particular game would mainly have multiple buttons for the various functions such as feeding the pet, playing with the pet, etc. with functionality for multiple choice questions included in one such button.

Basic Description for ‘The Smart Brick Breaker’: Remember playing brick breaker? It took some strategizing. Now, be part of a team that builds this app but for smarter people. The idea is to merge the playability of brick breaker while ensuring mad math skills.

Basic Description for World Leaders App: The idea is to build a simple 2D puzzle game for children. It should allow them to play with puzzle pieces to create the face of a world leader. Once the puzzle is completed, the children would be given information on the world leader and his/ her life. This game is intended to teach them about famous personalities from different eras and countries while ensuring that they enjoy the process of learning.

This client requires an exclusive agreement with them. You can contact them for more information on the legal agreement.

Ekshita Kumar

17. Security Habits

University Technology Services is in the process of increasing our security profile which is better known as the Secure Carolina project. More information can be found at

With this multi initiative project, we have a need for developing an automated system that would query key metrics and report status information in the form of a web based dashboard system with the possibility of expanding to a mobile platform. The broad requirements include:

Capture and score on key Security habits and practices.

Primary objective: Keep track of (monitor) end-user behavior and provide a security “score” based on their actions. Easy examples of score could be: clicking on links in email, using weak passwords, installing certain software, etc. Feedback should be available real-time, but perhaps more data and suggestions can be available through an online portal, such as what is currently available for fitness/health monitoring tools (e.g., fitbit, basis, nike fuel band, etc.). Same idea, just applied to security.

Secondary objectives: Develop similar and/or complimentary iOS and Android apps.

The UTS point of contact is the Chief Information Security Officer Marcos Vieyra. Please let us know what the next steps will be and how we can be of assistance to your program. Thank you.

Jeff Farnham Deputy CIO and Associate VP for Information Technology, USC

18. Interviews App

Social science research often relies on collecting data in the field. These data come in many forms – some may be visual inventories, face-to-face interviews, or oral narratives. Data fidelity is a concern with any field-based research. Several opportunities exist within the process to contaminate the data – most notably in the actual collection of the data and in digitizing the data for analysis. This project is designed to minimize the risk for data contamination by removing steps from the data collection and digitation process, and by minimizing interviewer decision-making.

Students involved in this project will design an app to collect and store interview data while in the field, and then transmit it securely to a server for download and analysis. The data to be gathered include responses to questions with multiple response options, open ended questions that may require the user to type, questions that require the audio recording of respondent’s voices, and visual data (i.e., digital photographs or video). Each interview must be maintained in one data file for transfer and analysis. Trained interviewers will be using the app primarily; however, it may be that respondents will also be shown the app to select a response to sensitive questions. Data must be transferred to the University securely to adhere to federal human research protection guidelines.

This app will be used by researchers at the University of South Carolina, and perhaps outside the University. Most notably, it will be included as part of a grant proposal to the National Science Foundation to study urban neighborhoods and neighborhood change efforts.

Kirk A. Foster, PhD, MSW, MDiv 803.777.2377

19. Capstone Project Tracker

I need a program that will do several things to make my life easier in my ME senior design class. This program will be for student team member bi-weekly evaluations. I have the students on each team do this evaluation about their team members to prevent slacking.

The things it needs to do are:

1) Allow the students to log in from anywhere on or off campus

2) Numerically answer several questions (8 to 10) about each of their team members

3) Write comments about each of their team members performance over each two week period

4) Provide me an easy interface to view the information about any student i.e. Their numerical values from all of their team members (average), the numerical values from an individual team member, view the comments about a student knowing which student on the team made them.

5) I must be able to put in and or delete students each semester

6) I must be able to assign unique passwords to the students so only they can log into their account to fill out the evaluation.

There may be something else but those are the big things.

Dale McCants, Ph.D. University of South Carolina Dept. of Mechanical Engineering


The Problem:

In 2011, 26,286 youth "aged out" or were "emancipated" from the United States foster care system.. These youth were unable to find permanency with an adoptive family or their biological families before exiting the foster care system at the age of eighteen. It is well known among child welfare specialists that youth in and formerly in foster care face many hardships as they transition out of foster care. For instance, results from the Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth study illustrate that youth in and formerly in foster care are less likely to have a high school diploma or G.E.D. and are less likely to be employed compared to their counterparts. These youth are more likely to suffer from mental health and behavioral problems, incarceration, poverty, homelessness, and early pregnancy compared to youth who have never been in the foster care system.

The Need

The South Carolina National Youth in Transition Database (SC NYTD) team believes it would be beneficial to older youth in and formerly in foster care to have an application that connects them with the resources available to assist them during their transition into adulthood and minimize the challenges they may experience during this critical time. The SC NYTD Team has developed a nationally recognized website for youth to access resources; however, this population of youth often does not have consistent internet access and, as a result, has limited access to the resources that are available to them. Because 37% of youth ages 14 – 17 own a smartphone, and 25% of youth are “cell-mostly” internet users, a mobile application will make SC NYTD resources more accessible to these youth. The resources that will be provided by this mobile application are not a matter of convenience; rather, they are a matter of necessity to this vulnerable but highly competent youth population. For a population who often experiences frequent environment changes, this app would be one less important item they would have to remember to pack.

The Population

The application would be one of the first smartphone apps in the country that specifically targets youth in and formerly in foster care. The application would be geared towards those youth in need of accessing important independent living information during their transition out of foster care and into adulthood.

Partnering for a Solution

The potential successes of youth in and formerly in foster care depend on strong partnerships among community organizations, government agencies, and society as a whole. With social media, especially for youth, on the rise, it is clear that a partnership with students at the School of Computer Science & Engineering will put us at the forefront of a cutting-edge initiative for youth in and formerly in foster care.

The app: SC NYTD

The application will have four main sections:

Section One: "Resources" would include information already developed by the SC NYTD Team about jobs, checklists for applying for independent living services through SC Department of Social Services (DSS), and scholarships. Specifically with scholarships, we would like the application to allow users to click options that would then narrow the scholarship list down to the ones for which the users are eligible.

Section Two: "Staying Connected" provides users with "News and Events" as well as a list of youth groups in South Carolina. This section of the app would also provide the opportunity for users to sign up for our Listserv, as well as contact the SC NYTD Team directly through the app.

Section Three: "Youth Compass" would utilize a GPS function to allow the users to use their current location to find local youth groups, Department of Health and Environmental Control offices, DSS offices, local soup kitchens and homeless shelters, local free medical clinics, and other useful community resources that will assist these youth in meeting their needs. This section of the app could be similar to the popular smartphone app, "Around Me."

Section Four: "Game": Some of the most popular smartphone apps that are downloaded are games. We believe that having a game on the SC NYTD app would appeal to our target users. We want this app to be enjoyable as well as informative. The type of game will be determined through the partnership between the SC NYTD team and the College of Computer Science & Engineering.

Louisa Vann, MPH, CHES SC NYTD Research Associate The Center for Child and Family Studies University of South Carolina School of Social Work 803-777-8379

21. Prostate Cancer

Project Title: I Decide: A Prostate Cancer Informed Decision Making Tool

Background and Description

In 2013, the American Cancer Society estimates that more than 241,070 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed and 28,170 men will succumb to the disease. However, the burden of premature deaths due to prostate cancer is not consistent across racial and ethnic groups. African-American males are at a 50% higher risk than their European-American counterparts of being diagnosed and suffer mortality from prostate cancer than any other racial or ethnic group and that differential is about 50% higher in South Carolina than the country as a whole. In order to reduce the burden of cancer men need plain language information that can help them make an informed decision with a doctor about whether or not to be screened for prostate cancer. This includes finding out more about prostate cancer and prostate cancer screening. Men also need to be comfortable speaking with their doctor about the subject matter and know what questions they should be asking to make the most informed decision possible. The proposed serious game (module) is an interactive quest for men 40-65 to gain knowledge about prostate cancer screening that can lead to an informed decision about whether or not to receive screening. The module will led by an avatar and contain basic information about prostate cancer and prostate cancer screening, questions and answer activities, and role play to prepare men for speaking with a doctor.

Module Play

In “I Decide” the user completes two levels which are comprised of (1) Knowledge for Prostate Cancer Screening Informed Decision Making and (2) Practice for Informed Decision Making. In the first phase, a user will be led through information about prostate cancer and prostate cancer screening by an avatar (Doctor 1) and the user will be required to answer a number of questions during the module in order to move forward. In the second phase, the user will be led into a doctor’s office where a list of questions will appear. The player will then be required to pick from this list of questions which will elicit a response from a second avatar (Doctor 2). Based on the users selection of a question that would not typically be recommended by the research and medical community, Doctor 1 will appear and recommend questions that would be better for the player to choose and why. The module will end when the doctor asks the user, based on their conversation with Doctor 2, whether he is ready to make an informed decision about prostate screening. The user can select yes and choose from a list of final prompts or choose no and be redirected to other resources (outside the game) where they can find more information. The entire module will last approximately 10 to 15 minutes for users who choose to browse through the entire module.

Shaun Owens, MPH Doctoral Candidate Health Promotion Education and Behavior Arnold School of Public Health University of South Carolina (901) 218 2952

22. MIRC

Moving Image Research Collections (MIRC) is interested in a module that enables user-contributed, time-based metadata for its Digital Video Repository (

We are an archive of moving images made outside the Hollywood mainstream. Our holdings include news film, home movies, and science and nature films ( Describing these kinds of materials can be extraordinarily challenging, and we believe that inviting experts and hobbyists with specialized subject knowledge to annotate our moving images could greatly enrich our metadata. This, in turn, would help new users discover our materials.

Ideally, metadata (whether added by a MIRC curator or by an authenticated annotator) would be linked to timecode. A user interested in seeing a particular building in a local film, for example, could link directly to that building, rather than having to watch (or scrub) through the entire runtime.

The DVR employs the Islandora open-source framework, which is built on a base of Drupal, Fedora and SOLR. We would like this app to be open-source, as well.

Heather Heckman Interim Director & Curator Moving Image Research Collections University of South Carolina 803.777.3277

23. Career Center App


The Career Center is interested in developing an app for our job fair events. We believe an app would be beneficial to our students in terms of navigating our events and preparing in advance.

What will it do?

Core features we envision in this app would include:

  • Opening options menu or navigation screen
  • Floor plan of the events with a clear map/layout of all employer booths
  • Each employer booth would be have a pop-up with employer information and a link to their company website, which would allow students to conduct employer research
  • A feature that would allow students to track interactions with employers and take notes regarding what type of follow-up they need to do, notes about the conversations they had, etc
  • A way to easily create new contacts in their mobile device so they can add new employer connections that they make at the fair
  • Resource tool which would include tip sheets or other resource options to help students prepare for the job fair
  • Link to shuttle/transportation information
  • Directions to job fair location or some type of mapping tool
  • A link to the log-in site for our job database program, called JobMate

Additional features which are not required but would be nice add-ons:

  • A function that would allow students to review employer profiles and their job opportunities and would then allow the students to select/flag/create favorite employers, so that they could more easily refer back
  • Provide a direct interface capability between our app and the JobMate tool

Who will use it? The primary users would be USC students.

Where will it run? We are open to this, but ideally we would like for it to be as widely accessible to all students as possible. We are open to your thoughts about what platform would be best.

At this time, we do not have any other requirements. But please note that we are excited about the possibility of students who are seniors (i.e. who need to find jobs) being a part of the development of this kind of app for our office. We love the idea of having students creating something that other students would use. We believe this app concept has very practical use and could really assist students with better navigating our job fairs. We are also open to suggestions or ideas you might have to make this app stronger or better, beyond what we envision.

Submitted by : Helen Fields, Assistant Director, Career Matt Joy, Assistant Director for Operations/IT Manager –

24. Voting Lines

This would be a mobile app, developed both for iPhone and for Android, to measure wait times at voting places. The app has some interest and "support" from Google's "civics" project in DC.

The user experience should be something like the following.

  • Voter arrives at precinct, calls up the app, and the app records the GPS coordinates and the arrival time.
  • There needs to be some verification (if possible) of GPS coordinates and precinct location. I think that data is available from some voter information source somewhere, right?
  • Voter leaves after casting a ballot and the app records GPS and exit time.
  • If legal, then the app might be able to record sign-in time. This won't work in all jurisdictions, but if it does work, then it's better information.

The biggest hassle of what's written above is the verification of GPS coordinates. We would not want someone to game the system by entering start time at home. But it would be exactly the times when lines were longest that the GPS radius would not work properly. The "we don't believe you're at a polling place" interaction would have to allow for some sort of "lines are horrible" response.

But I think all that could be worked out. The GPS data for voting locations would come from the Voter Information Project, and this would also help with advertising the existence of the app later.

Then on the back end, we would need some software to aggregate the data. This shouldn't be too hard once the data goes into the cloud at Google. Small issue of pulling down the data in the right format, and then some statistics. My guess is that the hard part here would be that we would have queue times at locations, and these would be different from "precinct" if the locations were voting centers. So there would be some small messiness in output and display; one would have to output using whatever "location name" was provided by the elections officials.

One issue will be getting this advertised. I certainly would think we could get Richland County to sign on for this. The long lines and the mess at the elections office are still major issues. This would be a big Digital Divide issue, perhaps, but we would still get a lot more information than we are getting now.

I have presented this to Google as something over which they would not be able to claim intellectual property. The basic idea of an app to measure wait times, banging against a backend database of locations (or something else) would be transferable to other applications. I do not envision any problem with ownership coming from Google.

Duncan Buell, CSE Professor

25. Columbia 1872 Interactive Map

Historic Columbia Foundation

Students will develop an interactive map in conjunction with HCF's renovation of the Woodrow Wilson Family Home. Students will use Camille N. Drie's “bird’s eye” depiction of Columbia in April 1872 as the base map ( When selecting certain places on the map, users can click to find more information such as historical photos. HCF will provide all needed content (images and text). HCF would like two products. The first is a computer controlled version of the map to be on display at the Woodrow Wilson Family Home. The second is a mobile app where users can access the information when they are physically located near the sites described on the map and can pull up the historical content on their phones/tablets.

Allison Marsh, Associate Professor, History

26. User-Generated Geo Tags

User-Generated Geographic Tags for Smithsonian Objects

The ultimate goal of this project is to develop an app where users can download information about objects in the Smithsonian Collections that have a connection to their current physical location. Unfortunately, the Smithsonian online collections database ( does not currently have precise local geographic data. And so the stepping stone project to get to that end is to develop an app that allows users to upload geographic coordinates as a tag to a specific object. I envision a game (like Memory meets 4 Square) where users search on a location, for example Columbia, SC (, and the app spits out 5 objects that do not yet have geographic coordinates. If the user knows where certain objects are, for example this sculpture of Christopher Columbus on the Riverwalk (!siartinventories&uri=full=3100001~!326492~!0#focus), they can go to the location and use the GPS feature in their phone to upload the location as a tag.

Allison Marsh, Associate Professor, History

27. The Practice Challenge

Tracking music student practice time and displaying the results graphically, while maintaining integrity with the system. (absolutely no room for doubt that a student was fudging the numbers in their practice times.)It has been proven that music students practice more when practicing becomes a game in and of itself. A few years ago this was tested by having the students record all of their practice sessions and then upload the files on a weekly basis. A simple perl script would analyze the files and post the results in a bar graph. By seeing where they stood visually on a weekly basis, the students were naturally motivated to practice more. It was so effective that parents would write in asking that the program rules be amended because their kids were practicing too much. That one small detail completely transformed a persistent complaint from "my kids never practice" to "my kids are practicing too much."

This system levels the playing field of music growth, grading, and competing. In this system they are being measured by work ethic and not by talent or skill. This is the kind of thing that could transform how we view music education and college By solving the known problems to make the software that handles this process simple and robust, you will impact the lives of parents, music teachers, and music students everywhere.

  • Is web based so every teacher and student can see the results in real time.
  • Provides a way for students to show proof of their practice time.
  • The proof must stand up against various methods of cheating.
  • Is accessible to every type of music student (think economic status.)
  • Is scalable and automated to keep teacher costs low.

A formal non-disclosure agreement will need to be signed between Jarrod Haning, and the students before beginning work on the project. Rest assured, Jarrod Haning will work diligently to ensure that all students receive full credit for their role in the project with USC and any future employer.

Known Problems:

If we have them record the entire practice session, the recording device has to be available to all students. Some students don’t have a smart phone. (even if they did, a smart phone can’t record an entire 2 hour practice session) Some students only have one computer in the house and can’t practice in that room. Some students have very slow internet access, or outdated computers. In the pilot test, voice recorders were used. However they were only available in .WAV so the files were huge and problematic for many students to upload. They were bought at factory wholesale from Hong Kong. This could be done again, provided the cost of the recorders is kept low enough.

If we are using recordings as proof, then how do we verify them? How do we know a student didn’t open up Garageband and with some copy and paste turn 30 minutes into 3 hours? How do we know that a student didn’t set their recorder in front of YouTube for 2 hours every day? In the pilot study, the perl script looked for patterns in silence, to determine "signatures." But the script was weak, easily defeated, and required gobs of processing time. This may or may not be a good long term / scalable solution. An initial attempt to check for copy / paste appeared to be extremely difficult. And trying to solve the cheat of a "recording of a recording" was beyond the scope of the pilot study. It was precisely because of these problems that this project was seen as a worthy graduate student project.

If we have the "device" only listen for select cues. That would be helpful because then it would only be uploading small files measured in KB (not GB) but, what would those cues be and how would we determine that the practice session was authentic and not faked?

The database that houses the information must be scalable as well. A Music teacher needs to be able to open an account and give their students access to the program without any behind the scenes administrative support. Just like when I create an account at YouTube, a real person isn’t setting me up in their system, a piece of code is automating my "bucket" in their database.

Further Discussion:

Please call or email if you have any questions.

Jarrod Haning (803) 467-4739

28. Visual-motor Evaluation

The project involves an app that can evaluate visual-motor integration. The task is to draw on a touch screen computer using a stylus geometric designs that are shown on part of the screen. An example would be something as simple as a square or a circle or a circle and square that overlap or touch at a particular corner. The app would digitize the drawing and automatically provide a score on how accurate the design was drawn based the drawings resemblance to the shown design. For this, I have in mind using a computer like the MS surface pro or other tablet computer that comes with a highly sensitive pen.

Scott Decker, Assistant Professor Department of Psychology

29. HD Video Decoder

Mobile embedded processors are generally not capable of performing real-time, full resolution computer vision tasks--such as object detection and tracking, augmented reality, and photo stitching--due to power and processing constraints. One approach to this problem is to utilize increasingly heterogeneous embedded platforms, consisting of a diverse set of specialized processors for various tasks. In order to evaluate new processor architectures for various multimedia tasks, manufacturers will often release an evaluation module (EVM), which is a single board computer that hosts a processor and memory but lacks peripherals except for basic networking capability. The goal of this project is to develop a framework by which HD video can be recorded by a camera, compressed, transmitted through a network to an EVM, annotated with results from the EVM, and then displayed on a computer monitor or television. In other words, program an video interface platform that is capable of offloading its processing workload onto an EVM through a network.

This project will consider three possible approaches. The first is to use an FPGA-based single board computer, the Xilinx ZedBoard, as a camera/display interface. This board can interface with an HD webcam through USB and has an HDMI interface for display. The challenge for this platform is that the webcam data must be decoded in real-time, using a software or FPGA-based decoder, buffered, annotated, and then written to the HDMI frame buffer in real-time. The second approach is to use another FPGA-based based single board computer that uses a specialized mezzanine connector to sample uncompressed HD video from a specialized image sensor. In this case, the video must be compressed in real-time in order to transmit over the network. The third approach is to use the Raspberry Pi, which can decode the webcam video using its on board media accelerator, but requires that its video interface be manipulated in order to support multiple framebuffers. The student team will evaluate each of these approaches in terms of its ability to achieve requirements and its resulting power consumption.

Jason Bakos, Associate Professor, Computer Science and Engineering

30. STEM Notebook

Students and professionals in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields have long used science notebooks as they investigate, problem solve, inquire, and seek understanding about phenomenon’s in the classroom as well as in the real world. Science notebooks provide a means for individuals to write down their questions, create their plans, take down notes on their observations, and record their findings as they seek and gain new knowledge.For individuals who lack fluency in writing, such as young students or individuals with more moderate intellectual disabilities, the use of traditional journaling methods are a barrier. The efforts used to express what they know and the knowledge they have gained and can share is not fully demonstrated via the use of the long used traditional notebook. Today’s use of technology provides opportunities for students to access and express scientific literacy via new mediums such as electronic notebooks consisting of e-logs, videos, images, and dictationconnected to drawings.


The development of an electronic notebook application (or e-journaling ) that is kid friendly.

The interface would need to enable users to:

  • Make written notes, insert images and drawings, and add audio dictation to a given “page”.
  • Easily flip back and forth between pages
  • Store multiple users “notebooks” in one application
  • Let Users have different notebooks or folders for different projects
  • Share projects/ notebooks
  • Possible speech to text
  • User friendly design


Bridget Miller PhD.