Some 50 projects from nearly 200 Cornell students filled Duffield Hall atrium on Monday, December 4, for the Department of Information Science’s customary end-of-semester poster session. Each project leveraged human-computer interaction (HCI) concepts to build prototypes – mostly mobile apps – that solve common student problems, like improving one’s cooking skills, finding a carpool to the grocery store, or connecting with fellow musicians on campus.

Most projects originated in Human-Computer Interaction Design (INFO/COMM 3450, INFO 5355), with a few others coming from Human-Computer Interaction Studio (INFO 4420), another Department of Information Science course.

“What makes a good project is when students narrow down on a very specific situation that people find in their daily lives, and then design a solution for that situation,” said Gilly Leshed, senior lecturer in information science in the Cornell Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science and course instructor for HCI Design. “Then, you need to remember that experiences go beyond what’s happening on the screen.”

To her last point, Leshed motioned to a nearby team that built an app prototype called Beauty AI, which pairs HCI with artificial intelligence to demystify cosmetics, help users find the right makeup styles and techniques, and boost their confidence in the process.

“It’s really hard to try something without buying the product first, so how do you know what style works for you?” said Itamar Shir Mandelzis ’23, a master of professional studies in information science student and Beauty AI designer.

The platform prototype incorporates an “AI mirror” that allows users to see how a particular makeup style would look on them, among other features. The platform took home the Most Creative Design award, given by course TAs who served as judges.

“What was really cool about the course was both learning design thinking, while also practicing developing not just any solution, but a solution for a user,” said Mandelzis, who will earn his master’s degree this month and has secured a job as an innovation strategy analyst at Morgan Stanley. “It was a cool balance of theory and actual practice.”

Along with Mandelzis, the Beauty AI team included Sonia Sunil, Leah Chen and Yuhan Tan.

Another app prototype, Cornell Cultural Passport, won the Social Impact award. The app is meant to improve the campus experience for international exchange students, who – as the team learned – often don’t feel integrated within the Cornell community and are unaccustomed to American social norms. The app fosters connections among students by challenging them to complete “quests” together, like visiting a local park or venturing to the top of the McGraw clocktower. Participants then earn points that are redeemable for gift cards at local businesses and campus facilities. Students Alicia Chu, Miquel Amengual Verdera, Lara Kammen and Thiago Hammes designed the app.

Winner of Best Design honors, IntoxiBlock is a system that pairs an app prototype with wearables to track and monitor blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or transdermal alcohol concentration (TAC) to prevent drunk driving. Designers are Aishwarya Gupta, Fiona Gao, Jamie Paradis, and Senhuang Cai.

Three teams from Human-Computer Interaction Studio, taught by François Guimbretière, professor of information science in Cornell Bowers CIS, were also featured in the poster session.

Roam From Home is a website prototype for the environmentally conscious traveler. The idea, according to one teammate, is to localize international travel: instead of jet-setting to Japan, say, a New York City dweller would use Roam From Home to curate a package of local events to give the user a taste of Japanese culture, all without the carbon footprint of international travel.

“This program encourages people to travel locally, but still get the full experience of traveling internationally,” said Jenny Chen ’24, an information science major. “Depending on what kind of traveler you are, how much time you have, and your priorities, you can really pick an experience bundle suited for your preferences.”

Along with Chen, the Roam From Home team included Olivia Huang, Alexandra Jin, and Aleena Li.

By Louis DiPietro, a writer for the Cornell Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science.