Re: HFOSS awarded National Science Foundation Grant

Hi All:

I attended the kick off and wrap up meetings for this and also helped them come to a decision about what to work on. They are a great bunch of folks.

The things that came out of this were pretty positive:

* They created a different tracking technique for MouseTrap, which is based on following a colored shape versus needing to do facial recognition. This speeds up the computation and also makes things a bit more precise.

* They created a plugin for canberra to provide visual effects for sounds. They kind of poo-pooed the work because canberra only allows one plugin to work at a time (i.e., you can't use an audio plugin and a visual plugin at the same time), but I thought it was actually pretty good.

* All the students were satisfied with their experiences, and at least one said he wanted to continue his work.

One of the "to be improved" spaces would be better integration with the open source culture. Part of the HFOSS program is to introduce students to the open source culture in general. GNOME is more accommodating than many open source projects, but we could do more to help engage the students. One thing I fear is that their work above might be lost and never checked in. I need to follow up on this to see where things are and at least make sure they made it as a patch to a bug report somewhere.

In any case, I have a decent relationship with them now and I look forward to next year's participation.


Stormy Peters wrote:
The HFOSS project has received another round of funding from the National Science Foundation that will support their activities through August 2011.

The HFOSS project stimulates interest in the computer science major by getting students involved in humanitarian free software projects. Last year three of the students worked on GNOME projects along with mentors from the GNOME accessibility team. From

    The GNOME accessibility team (Foster Nichols, Ryan Gee, Rachel
    Foecking) worked on two projects: MouseTrap, a program that moves
    the mouse cursor using webcam tracking, and VizAudio, an alert
    system that replaces sound effects with visual effects. The team
    worked with developers from GNOME accessibility project, Flavio
    Percoco Premoli Rohan Anil and Bryen Yunashko, located in Italy,
    India and California respectively. VizAudio is written in C as a
    backend for the libcanberra sound library. MouseTrap is written in
    Python and uses OpenCV (the open source computer vision library) for
    image processing. “Accessibility projects are important, especially
    for a program like HFOSS. We hope that future HFOSS interns will
    continue to work with GNOME on accessibility, and that HFOSS will
    look to start accessibility projects on other platforms, and keep
    accessibility in mind for all of their projects.”

The NSF awarded approximately $800,000 (the maximum for this type of CPATH II grant) to the three sponsoring schools, Trinity College, Wesleyan University, and Connecticut College. This will enable HFOSS to pursue its three main goals over the next two years:

    * Expanding the HFOSS Chapter model to include new colleges and
      universities for the project, initially through the summer
      internship program.
    * Developing an HFOSS Certificate program to recognize and certify
      the educational achievements of students that participate in a
      significant way in the program.
    * Establishing a sustainable organizational and financial model that
      will allow the project to function at a national level in
subsequent years. For more information see,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=25&cntnt01returnid=15 <,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=25&cntnt01returnid=15>.



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