cixd creative interaction design lab.

Microsoft Design Expo 2015: ITC201 Students Designed for People with a Context-dependent Disabilities

The students of the IT Convergence User-Centered Service Design (ITC201) class, led by Prof. Youn-kyung Lim (Department of Industrial Design) and Prof. Alice Oh (School of Computing), participated in the Microsoft Design Expo 2015 ( The expo has been held annually since 2010, with numerous top design schools from around the world, and this marks the first time that a Korean university has participated in the event. For KAIST, there were two liaison partners from Microsoft, March Rogers and Jane Park, who are Microsoft designers. They helped KAIST students to succeed in the design expo along with the teaching staff (two faculty members and two teaching assistants, Dajung Kim of the Department of Industrial Design and JinYeong Bak of the School of Computing.
This year’s challenge was to design a product or service for accessibility. Services and products should accommodate people with disability, which according to World Health Organization’s revised definition in 2014, should also include people with context-dependent disabilities, such as near-loss of hearing due to being in a very noisy environment.
Throughout the spring semester, five interdisciplinary teams of three to five students designed IT-based services for accommodating users with attribute-based, as well as context-dependent, disabilities. Below are the descriptions of each team’s solution. (The students’ names are in alphabetical order by last name.)

Sparkle!: A color and pattern description service for the visually impaired to enhance their shopping experience. Sparkle includes a smart watch to enable visually-impaired people to sense the colors and patterns of clothes through voice and tactile brails. By crowdsourcing the descriptions of various colors in clothing, Sparkle! provides rich color expressions that enable visually-impaired people to vividly experience the visual aspects of the clothes they want to purchase.
Members: Sungwon Cho, Jonghyuk Jung, Cheolho Jeon, and Sungbae Kim

Avocado: A family meal-planning service for people suffering from diabetes. By enabling family members to plan a healthy meal together, it encourages family members to take care of each other’s dietary restrictions, especially when someone in the family has health problems. Families who share healthy recipes with the Avocado community will get various incentives such as running the menu at the local restaurant for a week or receiving healthy snacks.
Members: Minsun Hong, Youngjae Chang, Ji In Kim, and Keunwoo Kim

CrowdCare: A way-finding service for people who are in a crowded area during a fire. When a fire is detected, CrowdCare lights up the escape path people should follow. Based on the demographic profiles, it also connects people who need help and people who can help those who are injured or weak. By supporting crowds in danger and requesting external help immediately, CrowdCare can help to prevent an accident from becoming a severe catastrophe.       
Members: Joonhee Min, Juhyung Park, Seongho Park, Seonyoung Park, and Punyotai Thamjamrassri

SOAP: A communication aid service for people who hesitate to use medical services due to language barriers. It enables a patient and a doctor to exchange virtual cards on an interactive tabletop that visually describes symptoms and prescriptions. By doing so, it aids people with language barriers in having a more comfortable conversation throughout the medical examination.
Members: Yoohyun Eum, Kyuhyoung Hong, and Dongyoon Koh

Pino: A crowd-sourced drawing service for hearing-impaired people who have difficulties in reading and understanding books. If a user drags a difficult word on an e-book, Pino shows hand-drawn illustrations created by crowd volunteers to visually explain the meaning of the word. By providing various incentives for the crowd volunteers, it continually motivates them to enhance the reading experience of the hearing-impaired.
Members: Hyung-gi Ham, Sunyoung Im, Minseok Kim, Chansoo Park

Among these well-designed projects, team Sparkle! was selected as the representative of KAIST and presented their work at Microsoft Design Expo 2015, which was held at Microsoft in Redmond, WA, US in the last week of July. Team Sparkle! successfully finished their presentation in the expo and received ‘Most Colorful’ award.