Students Find Innovative Solutions To Real-World Problems

July 13, 2021

Students Find Innovative Solutions To Real-World Problems

During the initial stages of the global pandemic last fall, Mitchell Piazza ’21, a computer science major, along with three of his senior classmates, Jessica Ricksgers, Karan Tamang, and Aron Sunuwar, sat in their rooms recording countless hours of data on a quest to find an innovative way to reduce the spread of viruses like COVID-19. 

Sponsored by Procter & Gamble and supported by donors to the university, the team designed an Apple Watch program app called DecontaiminAide. This program uses a machine learning model to tell the user the number of times they touch their face, as well as if it is coupled with coughing or sneezing. For example, when a face touch is detected, the application turns the microphone on to start collecting audio. The objective is to detect if the user is forming habits such as coughing or sneezing into their hands, then touching their face, biting their nails, etc. 

“We have created apps in the past, but nothing like this. This was a huge learning experience. The amount of data we needed during the initial stages of the pandemic was challenging. We literally sat in our rooms spending hours recording ourselves coughing into our hands, trying to force a sneeze, or raising our hand to the face, putting it back down…over and over again,” says Mitchell. 

The students then used machine learning to take and analyze trends of movement of an individual. As the detection of coughs and the movement of the hands toward or touching the face were analyzed, this feature would give a daily summary of how many times that person has touched or coughed during that day. The research conducted brings awareness to the possible spreading of the virus. 

“This project is an excellent example of how a small group of computer science students can take an aspirational concept provided by one of our industry partners and very rapidly deliver an innovative solution to a real-world problem”, said Dr. Robert Adams, the course instructor.  “This was one of 10 projects sponsored by our industry partners this past fall semester.” 

Mitchell credits his professors in the School of Computing for giving him the confidence and real-world experience to set himself up in his career path. He hopes to stay in the West Michigan area and take his career into cyber security and digital forensics. 

“I want to say thank you to the industry sponsors and donors who support the computer science program because projects like this can make a difference in the world. I believe that circumstances like this will continue to appear and it’s because of their support that we are able to help change the world,” says Mitchell. 

To learn more about the computer information systems at GVSU, visit GVSU School of Computing| School of Computing

Read the original story on the GVSU giving page.

Share this news story

View More PCEC News

Page last modified July 13, 2021