Project, Honours, and Masters Topics
With Dr. Silver, I'm involved in a project to build a Web
interface for dogs. Check out the
story and video.
The video appeared on CNN! We need students
at various levels of study to work on this project. Possible
- Add a new dog toy to the system.
- Move the current Web interface to the iPad. The video could fill the screen.
Tapping on the screen could throw the ball. Tilting the screen dispenses a treat.
- The website sensr.net monitors web cams and movement
on them for free. Add many web cams to the HCDI interface and have them monitored
by sensr.net. When movememt is detected, the owner is nofitied via email that the
dog is ready to play.
- Build a neural network based system
that recognizes and categorizes dog barks.
When the system identifies why the dog is barking,
it can remotely notify the user to notify them of a
potential problem at home.
Here are some related links:
- The user and dog are geographically separated. There are also
useful applications where they are both in the same location.
Because of the weather (e.g., icy conditions) or physical frailty,
a senior may not be able to take their pet outside for exercise.
With our system, the senior can exercise their pet from the
comfort of their living room. Another application is a handicapped
person with an aid dog. The reason they have the dog is because
they are severely physically incapacitated and often cannot play
with the dog. We have added voice recognition to the interface
for activating the commands. We also have a modified version of
the interface which is easier for a visually impaired person to
use. We plan to extend the interface for blind people so that it
replies to the user. For example, the system would acknowledge
when it detected a voice prompt to throw a ball, then verbally
inform the user when the ball is thrown.
- Formal testing with different dogs is required to properly evaluate
- If the dog is left in a room (or has the run of the house) with
the system for an extended period of time, how does the dog or owner
let the other party know that they want to use the system. To get
the dog's attention, the owner can remotely launch a ball. Another
option is to play a pre-recorded sound or command over the speakers.
What if the dog wants to play and the owner is currently not using
the interface? The dog could be trained to step on a large pressure
sensitive pad. Upon detection, the system can send the owner a text,
email, or pre-recorded phone message. Another option is to build a
bark detection system similar to a speech recognition system. When
a bark is detected, the owner is notified. This option has the added
benefit of notifying the absent owner if the dog is barking for an
unrelated reason (e.g., burglar, fire, broken water pipe, etc.).
- The system could be modified so that it operates at pre-set times.
In this case the system would interact with the dog without human
intervention. This is useful if the owner is in meetings or a plane
for the day. A special interface would permit the user to enter a
date, start time, duration between ball throws, number of balls
thrown, when to play pre-recorded voice commands, and delay between
the ball being thrown and the treat being dispensed. The video feed
could be recorded for viewing at a later time.
- Add a smell component to the interface. For example, a hermetically
sealed container with an item of the owner's clothing inside can be
opened while interacting with the dog.
- Investigate the impact that professionally recorded commands and
high speakers have on the dog's ability to recognize commands from
a speaker. Very preliminary results are encouraging.
- The author of
presents an interesting humanitarian
application. They propose to set up their system in an animal shelter
and let Web users interact with the cats in the shelter. The hope is
for the user to form a bond with a cat and subsequently adopt it.
Before we can install our system in a dog shelter, we need to
"dog-proof" it. For example, all wires need to be hidden or covered.
- The interface has treat and feed buttons. These buttons dispense food
for a pre-set period of time. The length of time is hard coded. It
would be preferable to have sliders on the interface so that the user
can control the times. For example, the amount of food dispensed also
depends on the amount of food left in the feeder. As the food level
lowers, the user can adjust the time so that the amount of food is
constant. A separate video camera aimed at the feeder would aid the user.
- The ball thrower can be dangerous if the dog walks in front of it at
the same time a ball is thrown. A small barrier needs to be set up
around the thrower to keep the dog at a safe distance.
With Dr. Benoit, I'm involved in the WORLD'S first Web
census. We are counting the exact number of Web servers
on the internet. We need students to help with the
client-server grid computing programming. We also need
help with analysing the data from the census:
- How many IPV4 servers are IPV6 ready? We have a database of all the IPV4 servers found.
Each one must be tested for IPV6 readyness.
- In the past, we performed very accurate Web estimates using
probability distributions (e.g., Poisson). Now that we have the
census results, we can run the old estimation software on the database
to compare and fine tune the different methods.
The goal is to build a good estimation technique that can then
be used when we move to IPV6.
- How accurate is our census? Try to find URLs whose IP address is not
in the census database.
- How accurate is Google? Take Web pages found by our census, and see
if Google knows about them.
- How many system administrators have blacklisted the census? Use VPN and Steganos
to query IP addresses for web servers via Steganos. Try to find one that is not contained
in our survey.
- We have software to determine whether the author of written text is male or female.
Run this software on the census database to see if the Web is primarily male or
- We are working on visualizing all the IP addresses that host a Web server.
Add the feature to our graphs that when you click on a pixel representing
a Web server, a new window pops up and the Web site for that pixel is displayed.
Alternatively, enter a URL and the pixel for its server is illuminated in the graph.
Design an entry for the 2D or 3D
World of Warcraft
How can this be used as a recruiting tool for new comp sci students? Can anything special be
done within the game? Offer free playing time to students?
Last updated Feb 2009