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UW student Supasorn Suwajanakorn shares Total Moving Face Reconstruction, a software program that uses a single video of a person’s face to reconstruct a 3D shape for each frame. Photos by Ashley Stewart.

Computer science students at the University of Washington shared research projects — science fair-style — during an annual meeting of industry representatives on Wednesday.

A UW CSE discusses his project with Madrona Venture Partners managing director Tim Porter, part of the group who decides the Madrona prize winner. Photo by Ashley Stewart.
A UW CSE discusses his project with Madrona Venture Partners managing director Tim Porter, part of the group who decides the Madrona prize winner.

Nearly 100 research projects were on display as part of the Computer Science and Engineering Industry Affiliates Meeting. The event offered an opportunity for computer science students to find internships and for recruiters from startups and larger companies — in what is becoming an increasingly tough assignment — find talented developers and engineers.

Students shared presentations on a wide variety of programs, from helping astronomers catalog the universe to a smartphone app that detects jaundice in newborns.

Each year, Madrona Venture Group awards prizes to presentations with commercial viability. “CSE has been this unbelievable source of innovation for the whole region,” said Tim Porter, managing director of Madrona. “It’s so important for the overall ecosystem and we want to help support and recognize the great research here, specifically things we think have commercial applicability.”

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Researcher Simon Peter tells Madrona Venture Partners managing director Tim Porter about Arrakis, the operating system that took home the Madrona prize.

This year’s Madrona prize went to Arrakis, an operating system that improves server application performance. Named for a planet in Frank Herbert’s Dune, the operating system splits into a control plane and a data component plane without need for kernel mediation.

“The idea is that the kernel will only by very infrequently invoked,” explained Simon Peter, one of Arrakis’ eight researchers. “Basically, every time a new application would come up on the data plane, the kernel would only configure the connection to the (input/output) device. From that point forward, the applications have their own (input/output) device. It would be very, very fast because it’s directly attached and would give us great performance.”

WiBreathe, a program that uses wireless signals to estimate respiratory rate, was first runner up.

Ruth V. Ravichandran, one of WiBreathe’s six researchers, explained that the system operates with two transmitters in corners of a home.

“When a user is performing activities like reading, typing or sleeping, you can detect their respiratory rate, which is especially useful in detecting the psychological state of an individual and pointing to sleep apnea or sleep-related disorders,” Ravichandran said.

Software program Total Moving Face Reconstruction uses a single video of a person’s face to reconstruct a 3D shape for each frame. Using YouTube videos and Google image search, researchers constructed 3D models of public figures, including George Bush, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tom Hanks.

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BiliCam uses a color calibration card to adjust for different lighting and skin tones.

“One of the motivations is to do facial performance capture for movies like Avatar,” researcher Supasorn Suwajanakorn said. “We can imagine doing that with a 2D camera. Once you have the geometry of a person, you can do also appearance modification and do puppeteering.”
Suwajanakorn and two other researchers won Madrona’s third place for the software.

A smartphone app that detects jaundice in infants won the people’s choice award.

Using a smartphone camera and color calibration card, BiliCam allows parents and health workers to take a photo with the card in view and tell whether a baby’s blood has a high level of bilirubin.

“At home, they may be worrying ‘oh gosh, is this yellow, or is this me just having new parent syndrome?'” student Lilian de Greef said.

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