uSmell:A Gas Sensor System to Classify Odors in Natural, Uncontrolled Environments

Smell can be used to infer quite a bit of context about environments. Previous research primarily has shown that gas sensors can be used to discriminate accurately between odors when used in testing chambers. However, potential real-world applications require these sensors to perform an analysis in, which can be challenging. In this project, we use our system called uSmell, to explore how to account for these challenges to when creating context-aware applications, such as lifelogging and assisted living.

Hirano, S., Hayes, G., and Truong, K. uSmell: exploring the potential for gas sensors to classify odors in ubicomp applications relative to airflow and distance. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, (2014), 1-14.

Sen H. Hirano, Jed R. Brubaker, Donald J. Patterson, and Gillian R. Hayes. 2013. Detecting cooking state with gas sensors during dry cooking. In Proceedings of the 2013 ACM international joint conference on Pervasive and ubiquitous computing (UbiComp '13). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 411-414.

Hirano, S. H., Truong, K. N., Hayes, G. R. (2012). uSmell: A Gas Sensor System to Classify Odors in Natural, Uncontrolled Environments. Poster presented at Ubicomp 12. Pittsburgh, PA. Sept 5-8, 2012.

Food Assistance Outreach with e-Government Applications

Food assistance outreach workers assist clients in applying for governmental nutrition assistance programs utilizing both offline and online application systems. These outreach workers make e-Government applications and services accessible to their client populations, by engaging in extensive human effort on behalf of their clients by negotiating information exchanges between governmental organizations and individual clients, fostering client and government relationships, and non-directly supporting and explaining underlying governmental processes to clients.

Lynn Dombrowski, Jed R. Brubaker, Sen H. Hirano, Melissa Mazmanian, and Gillian R. Hayes. 2013. It takes a network to get dinner: designing location-based systems to address local food needs. InProceedings of the 2013 ACM international joint conference on Pervasive and ubiquitous computing (UbiComp '13). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 519-528. (Best Paper)

WalkMinder: Encouraging an Active Lifestyle Using Mobile Phone Interruptions

The pervasive nature of mobile phones increasingly allows individuals to track and measure their own physical activity thus creating opportunities for them to reflect on their behavior and make informed changes. In this work, we investigated mechanisms for encouraging a more active lifestyle including: a glanceable display of an individual's level of physical activity and mobile phone vibrations to interrupt extended periods of inactivity.

Sen H. Hirano, Robert G. Farrell, Catalina M. Danis, and Wendy A. Kellogg. 2013. WalkMinder: encouraging an active lifestyle using mobile phone interruptions. In CHI '13 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA '13). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 1431-1436.

Estrellita: Mobile Technologies for Assisted Exercise with Newborn Premature Infants

This project examines the role that novel mobile and ubiquitous computing technologies can play in record-keeping in support of at home exercise interventions to help premature infants gain weight in the months after leaving the NICU. We are addressing three major challenges. First, technological interventions must be developed that support better record keeping and associated visualization and hypothesis testing to allow caregivers to understand the impacts of their pharmaceutical and behavioral interventions. Second, these interventions must be understood in the short-term to support testing of clinical efficacy and also over the lifetime of these patients whose chronic conditions can span several decades. Third, the focus of these technologies must be not only on capturing and allowing access to appropriate data but also in accomplishing these goals while easing the extensive burden on families. This software is available in both English and Spanish to support the growing and diverse population in Southern California.

Hayes, G. R., Cheng, K. G., Hirano, S. H., Tang, K. P., Nagel, M. S., & Baker, D. E. (2014). Estrellita: A Mobile Capture and Access Tool for the Support of Preterm Infants and Their Caregivers. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI), 21(3), 19.

Cheng, K.G., Hayes, G.R., Hirano, S.H., Nagel, M.S. & Baker, D. (In Press). Challenges of Integrating Patient-Centered Data in Clinical Workflow for Care of High-Risk Infants. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing.

Tang, K.P., Hirano, S., Cheng, K., and Hayes, G. (2012). Balancing Caregiver and Clinician Needs in a Mobile Health Informatics Tool for Preterm Infants. Proc Pervasive Health 2012, IEEE, 1-8.

Hirano, S.H., Tang, K.P., Cheng, K.G., Hayes, G.R. (2012). The Estrellita System: A Health Informatics Tool to Support Caregivers of Preterm Infants. Demo presented at Pervasive Health 2012.

Tang, K.P., Cheng, K.G, Hirano, S., Nagel, M., Baker, D., and Hayes, G.R. (2011). Addressing the Design Challenges for a Clinically-Informed Data Capture Tool Targeted for Caregivers of Premature Infants. In Proceedings of Workshop on Interactive Systems in Healthcare (WISH 2011), 14-18.

Liu, L.S., Hirano, S.H., Tentori, M., Cheng, K.G, Park, S., and Hayes, G.R. (2011). Improving communication and social support for caregivers of high-risk infants through mobile technologies. In Proceedings of the ACM 2011 Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW '11), 475-484.

Technologies for Children with Autism

Visual schedules and choice boards are tools used in current best practices for helping children with autism and other special needs. These non-verbal kids need help communicating their choices, understanding time and activities, and so on. We are working with smart phones, small touch screens, and large touch screens as platforms to develop solutions that ease these burdens, provide logging and visualizations of data, and help automate some of the features of using these communication techniques.

Escobedo, L., Nguyen, D.H., Boyd, L., Hirano, S.H., Rangel, A., Garcia, D., Tentori, M., & Hayes, G.R. (2012).MOSOCO: A Mobile Assistive Tool to Support Children with Autism Practicing Social Skills in Real-Life Situations.Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2012). Austin, Texas (May 5-10, 2012). New York: ACM Press.

Cramer, M., Hirano, S.H., Tentori, M., Yeganyan, M.T., & Hayes, G.R.Classroom-Based Assistive Technology: Collective Use of Interactive Visual Schedules by Students with Autism. In Proceedings of the 2011 Annual Conference on Human factors in Computing Systems (CHI '11). Vancouver, BC, Canada. May 7-12, 2011. 1-10.

Hayes, G.R., Hirano, S., Marcu, G., Monibi, M., Nguyen, D.H., and Yeganyan, M. Interactive Visual Supports for Children with Autism. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing. 14(7): 663-680. 2010.

Yeganyan, M., Hirano, S., Nguyen, D.H., & Hayes, G.R. (2009).Interactive and Collaborative Classroom Visual Schedules. Presented at the 8th Annual International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR 2009).

Hirano, S.H., Yeganyan, M., Marcu, G., Nguyen, D.H., Boyd, L.A., Hayes, G.R. vSked: Evaluation of a System to Support Classroom Activities for Children with Autism. CHI 2010.


GroupMind is a multi-user, large display application that connects participants' laptops (local and remote) to foster brainstorming and collaboration. As a collaborative activity, GroupMind strives to give groups seamless and real-time communication. Our current exploration uses mindmaps (also called concept maps) as the underlying mechanism for brainstorming. The participants have synchronous access to a shared, large display workspace, as well as access to their personal workspace and laptops. Collaboration can be done at both the large display level and the personal laptop level. We conducted multiple in-lab experiments to understand GroupMind's impacts on brainstorming activities and are continuing to explore how this and other technologies can support group collaborative creativity activities.

Shih, P. C., Nguyen, D. H., Hirano, S., Redmiles, D. F., & Hayes, G. R. (2009).GroupMind: Supporting Brainstorming through a Collaborative Mind-mapping Tool. Paper presented at the International ACM Conference on Supporting Group Work (GROUP 2009). [doi]