Saturday, April 14, 2012

Make a video game or board game that includes voroni diagrams.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

TVs are really stressful. Most everyone has been up there giving a powerpoint presentation. And the screen won't come on. Seriously, why haven't we fixed this problem yet? This is the classical user experience for me. I want my screen to be smart enough to automatically switch to the computer that I just plugged in. Same with TVs when I plug in an xbox or a presentation.

Here's two ways I'd do this.

1. Have an autoscan feature that looks for input signals and only skips to plugs that actually have a signal coming out.

2. When you are selecting your "mode" show each tv screen as a small picture and allow the person to select which screen he wants visually. They don't even have to be updated often in real time.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My problem with statistics

I've read 100's of studies this week on psychophys. And I'm sick of our reliance on stupid statistics.

Here's a situation. You have a light switch that works about 1/3 the time. The other times there's bad wiring and it just doesn't happen.

In a traditional study, you would flip on the switch and record whether the light comes on. And do this 100 times. You would probably get r=.3  a moderate correlation. Suggesting there is likely a relationship.

If this was a real scenario, would you really do this as a human being? NO. You would flip the switch on, and see the light immediately came on. You would do this a few more times. See that sometimes it doesn't. And you would be able to say, this lightbulb is tied to this light.

The reason we can do this is because of time. As soon as you flip the switch, the light turns on (sometimes). What are the chances of the light randomly coming on at the exact same moment. Very unlikely. But there is still a chance. Ok do it 7 more times. Problem solved.

In a recent paper I read (Myrtek, 2004) they found heart rate and reported emotions don't correlate. But I think they do, SOMETIMES. When a person get's excited I see his heart rate increase right at the moment. That is all the evidence I need to prove his statistics wrong.

I think I will have to leave academia on their incistence to do all their research with their obvious eyes closed.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Random Ringtone Generator

Last night I was playing with my phone realizing I can easily connect it to my laptop. This enabled near instantaneous file transfers. Then I noticed I could put ringtones on my phone this way.

I'd like to make a python program that connects to my cellphone whenever I'm home and uploads different ringtones every day. Today I could have Moby tomorrow Brittney Spears. This would make me so excited to receive a new phone call!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

My anxiety about my anxiety

I'm discouraged by the way we measure EDA as a single point response to a stimuli. So many factors can play into our current anxiety and to assume people are in "baseline" is very strange for me. What does it mean to be at baseline on a continuous spectrum. This would be like measuring our happiness but waiting for us to be "neutral", neither happy or sad. Is that possible? How does one detect that state?

I would like to measure the arousal of children who are taking an EDA test. Starting in the morning all the way to them taking the test and then afterwards. I'd expect to see the children get quite excited just by the novel environment and the requirements placed on them by scientists. This is especially true for children with SPD and Autism.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Snoring Adherence

There is a gas mask that helps people get a better nights sleep (and not store). The biggest medical challenge to its effectiveness is the low adherence rates. Go figure! How would I know I'm not snoring??? How do I know I get a good nights sleep?

A fun solution to this problem could be to record a persons snoring for the night. :You could have fun with what you do with that information. You could play it back to them during the day on their ipod. You could present the data to them in the morning. You could even make a video game that gives you bonuses for snoring.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Chipmunk Voice Stress Reliever

When Rob Morris and I interviewed people individually at a Bank of America call center, employees informed us that they take off their head sets or mute customers when the customers get angry.

This makes sense in that not hearing people yell at me is a real plus.  That said, not listening to angry people, might make them more angry.  In addition, the fact that you want to mute angry customers will create stress in your life, regardless of your coping method.

Instead of the employees associates muting the angry customers, we propose that the voice's pitch would increase.  In this way the angry customer would sound quite funny. This would take away the threatening and stressful call.

Thinking of You, Musically

I have recently been dating someone which has added a bit of jump into my life.  Sometimes when I'm listening to the raido, or itunes, or pandora, I will hear a song that I would like her to hear.  Wouldn't it be great if I could instantly send that song to her with a click of a button.

This would not be sent to her via email or a download.  The music would just begin playing in whatever playlist she is on, a nice little surprise.  I would love for my playlist to be sprinkled with thoughts from others.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Money equals Truth

In psychology this appears to be an unavoidable fact.  The more research you put into a specific topic the higher the power, the more positive results you get, and your experiments are of a higher quality.  Surprisingly, the more money you put into research, the more research you get.  So with this little logic:

1.  Additional money put into research will increase the quantity and quality of research experiments.
2.  With higher quality and higher quantity of research, results will appear more valid as more evidence will point in that direction.

If you put money into research you will get better results!

This by itself is fine except that there is a nasty feeback loop: we invest in research of programs that we think are going to do the best.  And which ones are those?  The ones with the most money!

I'd really like to create a Motion Graph where the two axis are amount of money invested and "effect size" on the other side.  I imagine we can see many of the major treatment's effectiveness sky rocket up with more investment.

This graph would help show that arguing "It isn't a randomized control trial" is not proof the intervention doesn't work.  And I don't think scientists claim this, but I feel that argument is used often for why more time and effort should not be invested in that model (which would keep it from ever getting a RCT).

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Anger Rating System

How many times have you been on a customer service phone call and you just want to scream into the phone but your civilized nature holds you back?  A key way of reducing people's anger is to be genuinely interested in how they feel and asking them how frustrated they are.  I believe customer service centers, especially ones that make me wait a long period of time, should asks callers how they feel before a phone call and after a phone call using the "touch tone pad".  This will significantly decrease frustatration.

Furthermore, this information could then be relayed to the Customer Service Representative.  If there is someone who is REALLY frustrated they can be informed about the caller before they pick up.  Being aware of a negative stimulus before it happens is a great way to reduce anxiety.

My Objective Anxiety

A key method in CBT for helping people with anxiety disorders, be it Specific, Seperation, or General, is to have the child watch themselves become scared.  This involves having the child think or exposing the child to the feared item.  The therapist then asks the child to rate how scared they are periodically and take note of physical symptoms.  Eventually the symptoms subside and the child learns to recognize that anxiety is just a physical reaction.

By using iCalm (which measures Electrodermal Activity that correlates with you becoming anxious), we can have the child watch themselves become anxious and see the physiological effects.  The child can also see that anxiousness come down either naturally or through trained relaxation techniques.  I believe this visual option will help the child better understand what is going on inside of them.

Furthermore, a real challenging form of anxiety disorder is eating disorders.  I believe showing people their anxiety when they become scared may help them better confront the issue and remove the "blaming" aspect from the evaluation.  This is what your body does when you think of food. . ..

Monday, November 9, 2009

The End of Paper and Plastic

I just recently realized that other people besides me forget their "eco-friendly" bags when they go grocery shopping. There is no way I'm going to buy new bags because I already have enough so I'm forced to use paper or plastic.

What if there was a loaning program on the honor system? Say I buy 300 bags and leave them on a shelf in the grocery store. If you forget your bags you can use my bags to take home.

Well they will forget those bags next time too? Well maybe, but eventually they will build up so many bags that they take home because they borrowed them, that they will feel obliged to return them.

Additionally, when you don't own the bags, but borrowed them, you will feel more obliged to return the bags, especially since they are for a good cause - protecting the environment.

I was advised to only give to locals so you can insure responsibility.

Engineers Without Borders -> Engineering Consultants Across Borders

Visiting India recently, I realized that some of the best people to solve India's problems are people from India. They have friends and family living in these villages that are starving, have no income, little education, etc. One of the biggest issues they had was finding people in the United States to help/collaborate with them on projects.

By transforming Engineers Without Borders or similar groups into a more consultant structure. We help solve problems that other engineers around the world are experiencing, I believe these groups can massively cut down on their costs, be much more effective, and inspire engineers around the world.

In addition, I believe firmly, that the best way to solve a problem is to live in the problem space, understanding what the people need and being a part of that community.

I recently talked to the director of Habbitat for Humanity India addition. I asked him if Americans coming over and building houses was really a good use of funds being a plane ticket could hire 10 people to do their job. He said, yes, because it shows Americans care. Frankly, I think 10 more houses being built is much more important than someone in the slums thinking I care. Maybe that is because I care :)

Christmas Tree Card

I want to make a Christmas Card for my family this year with a pop up Christmas tree with LED lights. The LED lights only turn on when it becomes dark (the lights are turned off). I think this card would be a great memory for life.

Programmable Paint

There is currently paint that changes colors when it is heated. We can program circuits to heat up wires by running electricity through it. In sense we can program the visibility of paint. With this technology we can make paintings that change colors based off of observer's interactions- say when they touch a specific part of the paint.

I can imagine a frosted window but when you wipe your hand across the window, the ice melts and you see some children playing outside or a giant crab, depends on what your message is.

The "I care what you think" politician

The representative system of government made a lot of sense when the US was starting out. Not everyone could ride on horseback to the town hall meetings. Today technology has allowed us to make virtual democracy a possibility. We can watch senate meetings, see how people vote, and get up to date information from our favorite lobbyist all from our couch.

Why hasn't any politician (that I know of) taken full advantage of this and put a small poll on their front webpage? Ask your constituents to vote on key issues so you know what they are thinking before you go and make your vote (that represents them)? EVEN IF you don't think their ideas are very good, asking people for their opinion is a great way to make sure they feel represented.

Politicians should have daily polls on their webpages that are largely distributed to their populace for daily feedback.

Right now the media is the one taking the polls and that is just scary.

Randomized Stranger Generator

Every day people get a random on their cellphone. When this buzz happens, the next moment when it is appropriate (aka not in the middle of a meeting but right afterwards), the person has to go up and meet someone they have never talked to before.

Skills can be taught to the participant on how to introduce yourself to someone you have never met.

I read somewhere that 1 out of 4 people you meet knows something that would be useful for you - a connection for a job, information on a sale, etc. If we increase our exposure to people, we will increase the chances that we make awesome new connections.

Additionally, I believe removing our "I only talk with people I know" culture is vital for community to flourish.

If people do form new connections and are less afraid to talk to people based off of this theory I can suggest this strategy be used in CBT therapy for people with social aversion and I can also develop an app for the iPhone that could sale in the thousands to business people.

Sesame Street For Adults

When I was a child one of my favorite shows was Sesame Street. With the constant shifting of media, the fun moppets, the edgy songs, and the interesting stories. It was a great way to learn.

Fastforward to TV "for adults". If I want to learn something on the discovery channel or the history channel I get two options.

1. A dull voice speaking over still pictures for 1 hour.
2. A reality TV show where I have to try REALLY hard to actually learn something.

When did we decide education for adults had to be either really boring or not educational?

My grand idea is to have Sesame Street for Adults. I want to continue to be taught by muppets and I want to continue to learn about the world around me even if I'm done with school.

Some of my random ideas with this concept:

1. Today's episode is brought to you by the number Pi or i.

2. You can have segments educating people on global issues for instance- the immense poverty in India, womens issues in the Middle East, or how global warming is going to be adressed in copenhagen.

3. Segments could be dedicated to incredible findings in psychology- how advertisements sale you items, the effects of having a positive attitude, how stereotypes exist even when we don't think they do, etc.

4. A news section where information is accurate and portrayed in an interesting way (think daily show but claiming that they actually do news).

5. Explanations of modern scientific discoveries- the hydron colider, anything on TED, hydrogen fuel, etc. Interviews will be conducted with prominent scientists by muppets.

If people can beging to see that learning is fun and exciting, I can see this help create an amazing shift in society's view of learning.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Double Dates for Autism

When I asked the Krogers (top researchers with ABA) what is lacking in Autism research, they told me- after ABA therapy, children with Autism don't have any more positive therapy, and results get worse.

One of the most difficult challenges for adolescents with Autism is intimate relationships. This can be the relationship between families, friends, and the opposite sex. People with autism report wanting to be in a relationship, they just get overwhelmed in the process.

Another problem that I've been trying to solve for a while is that engineers at MIT can't get a date at all.

Combining these two problems I created double dates for autism.

Two males and two females will get dinner together. The college student male will meet up with the male with autism. Similarly, the female student will meet up with the female with autism. Together they will go to dinner. There they can talk, practice their social skills all in a 'date' setting.

Why I am Afraid of Girls

Anxiety is reinforced as when we retreat, our fear is dramatically reduced. While this model is used to explain anxiety disorders, I believe this same theory can explain why I am afraid of girls. This also can explain why we have a natural tendency to not pursue the things we want. In what ways can we interrupt this cycle? How can technology help? I instantly think, we can make people aware of the whole process. You can also make escaping not an option. You can also change the reward base- yes you aren't anxious, but you lost a million dollars.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Math Quiz #8

Take the idea I generated from Math Quiz #7- dividing by zero blows up the world, and create an educational mini-series. Where math concepts are taught in fun, creative, entertaining ways.

I still remember in subtracting- "Gobble, gobble, gobble remember to start with the big number and subtract the small number" coming from Mr. Edson's Turkey on the wall.

Let's make math stick!

The Death of Instructionalism

A horse was hungry. A man brought him a hot dog to eat. The owner said, 'Horses don't eat hotdogs.' The horse ate the hotdog.

When did we learn that horses are herbivores. Why did we not question this? It seems that educational institutions today are fixated on pumping us for information for our final day at the SAT test. We are in so much of a hurry to learn these generated facts, we don't concentrate on WHY we know them or HOW we discovered them.

With this mindset, you will still be able to run your chemistry 'experiment' and apply a derivative but you will be extremely handicapped in discovery.

Psychologists and Scientists I work with have a ton of assumed answers- Autism is a problem Theory of Mind. Differential equations is a prerequisite for circuits. Etc.

With these assumptions new ideas cannot be generated and we rely on the few people who dare to push outside the box of what they have been told to make discoveries. What would happen if we started out in the world questioning everything: changing, evolving, and growing ourselves and our culture.


Monday, September 28, 2009

You Better Wake Up Alarm Clock

An alarm clock that will start donating money to an 'enemy organization' for every minute you don't wake up. For me, that would be Focus on the Family. The alarm would have to have some sort of verifiable way of making sure I'm actually up.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

You Tube Mosaic

Photomosaics were all the rave (created at the Media Lab none the less). Take it to the next step: Moviemosaics. This will be harder to find good fitting movies, but that can be offset by the sheer numbers of movies available.

You Tube Screening

Create a bot to look through youtube videos and look at children's eye contact in baby movies. Identify children who may have autism with their lack of facial contact or responsiveness.