BOULDER, CO, United States
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Methods and systems for creating three-dimensional models from two-dimensional images are provided. According to one embodiment, a computer-implemented method of creating a polygon-based three-dimensional (3D) model from a two-dimensional (2D) pixel-based image involves creating an inflatable polygon-based 3D image and extruding the inflatable polygon-based 3D image. The inflatable polygon-based 3D image is created based on a 2D pixel-based input image by representing pixels making up the 2D pixel-based input image as polygons. The inflatable polygon-based 3D image is extruded by generating z-coordinate values for reference points associated with the polygons based upon a biased diffusion process.


Grant
Agency: National Science Foundation | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 465.61K | Year: 2009

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project will build a Scalable Game Design tool and curriculum, with the goal of increasing the participation of students in Computer Science (CS). K-12 computer education fails to attract the necessary number of students to CS - especially at the middle school level, where students make critical career decisions by judging their own aptitudes towards math and science. This is a serious problem because, despite the growing need for IT workers, enrollment in undergraduate CS programs is dropping at alarming rates. Scalable Game Design provides an ideal balance between motivational and academic concerns of CS. This approach is based on the existing Fluency with Information Technology framework recommended by the National Academies of Sciences and will be aligned with the emerging National IT education standards (ISTE NETS). This project will explore Scalable Game Design by building a low-threshold, high-ceiling design tool, called AgentCubes, featuring Incremental 3D modeling, animation, programming, and visualization. The project will incorporate the tool into a 3D Gamelet Design curriculum to provide an attractive route to the effective design, development, and deployment of an exceptionally large spectrum of games - ranging from simple 2D Frogger-like games to 3D Sims-type games. The proposed technology has a high potential to increase the number of K-12 students interested in Computer Science (CS), which in turn should result in larger enrollments at the university level. Without stronger CS enrollments the US cannot maintain an internationally competitive IT workforce. A less programming-focused, more design-based IT curriculum is likely to increase the participation of women and minorities. Initial results from our feasibility study indicate that Incremental 3D approaches work across ethnicity and gender. The proposed 3-stage classroom integration strategy is based on a pipeline of required, elective, and transitional modules that introduce students to making simple games, move to more advanced games and computational science applications, and transition to traditional programming models. This strategy maximizes the exposure of public schools students in general, and women and minorities in particular, to computer science because all students will at least take the required one-week module. Furthermore, as a general end-user tool to create interactive 3D applications, the proposed technology will be useful beyond educational game design. Potential applications include computational science simulations, computational thinking tools and serious games with potential users such as university students, scientists, and engineers.


Grant
Agency: National Science Foundation | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2014

This SBIR Phase I project proposes to build a Cyberlearning tool called REACT (Real Time Evaluation and Assessment of Computational Thinking) based on a highly innovative assessment methodology that will help teachers with computer science education. There is growing interest in having more students exposed to computer science and in broadening STEM participation for women and minority students. However, the question is one of how. Research by the REACT team - conducted in diverse innercity, remote rural and Native American communities - indicates that: a) a well-defined strategy exists that can make computer science education work in public schools, and b) it is difficult to create the classroom environment needed to support the highly engaging and educational pedagogical approaches that form the heart of this strategy. Open ended projects can be highly inspiring to students across genders and ethnic groups. It is proposed to build and evaluate a cyberlearning tool that will assess student-built games (or simulations) and provide the teacher with feedback on what students are actually learning in real time. This feedback is an embedded, formative assessment that gives the teacher important information directly from their students' programs and enables teachers to make crucial instructional decisions during lessons. The broader/commercial impact includes the benefits of embedded assessment - that is, assessment that taps directly into student created projects instead of soliciting information from students through tests. Part of the assessment problem is that it is difficult to extract meaningful information from design artifacts. In the case of game design, it is most useful to extract information from the programs and games themselves. REACT employs a highly innovative pattern matching approach called Computational Thinking Pattern Analysis (CTPA). CTPA can find patterns that are relevant to game design as well as computational science modeling. A successful embedded, formative assessment of design-based artifacts like programs could advance learning sciences and significantly enhance in-class and online learning by creating closed loop learning environments presenting real time information to students and teachers. REACT could result in an important tipping point because embedded, formative assessment provides crucial information to teachers as they are making crucial instructional decisions. This could be highly relevant to broadening participation in computer science learning. A teacher using a supportive Cyberlearning approach would be able to better engage and motivate female and underserved populations. This increased engagement could significantly scale up the exposure of students to computer science education.


Patent
Agentsheets Inc | Date: 2014-02-04

Methods and systems for providing rich semantic feedback to programmers by executing programs, or parts of programs, in data contexts relevant to the programmer are provided. According to one embodiment, software code associated with one or more of multiple programming building blocks is enabled to be concurrently edited and executed within a programming environment. A conversational programming agent of the programming environment receives (i) information regarding the programming building blocks and (ii) information indicative of a current situation relating to the programming building blocks. The conversational programming agent evaluates the programming building blocks based on the current situation. Then, detection of one or more logical errors in one or more of the programming building blocks is facilitated by the conversational programming agent proactively providing semantic feedback regarding those of the programming building blocks to which the current situation is relevant to the programmer based on results of the evaluation.


Grant
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2012

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): CyberMOD: A Gentle-Slope Cyberlearning Infrastructure to Support STEM Education Abstract This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project investigates a new gentle-slope cyberlearning infrastructure that introduces students to simulation authoring via a Web-based modding approach called CyberMOD. The proposed CyberMOD cyberlearning infrastructure is a combination of a tool and STEM curriculum. The tool will integrate student products in web-based interfaces for peer interaction, feedback, and development. Other users will be able to run, annotate and rate simulations. Even more importantly they will be able to mod, i.e. modify, simulations fluently, share their mods, and eventually author their own artifacts. Thisgradual transition from information consumers to producers through engaging computational science approaches could profoundly change science education. The curriculum will provide engaging, inquiry-based CyberMOD activities for high school biology classes. The proposed research addresses the declining interest and achievements of K-12 students in STEM fields- this decline is a serious threat to the US workforce required for research, industrial competitiveness, and national security in the 21st century. Computational science, declared to be a national priority by the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee, is concerned with the authoring of computational models used to solve STEM problems. A fundamental problem that has challenged the introduction of computational science in K-12 education is the rigid dichotomy between using and authoring simulations. Using simulations may be simple but without enough educational depth. Authoring may be engaging but too intricate. Modding will provide a gradual shift from using to authoring simulations. The CyberMOD approach, which combines gentle-slope interfaces with computational science approaches and social media, could dramatically reduce the threshold of computational science in K-12, making it accessible for all students, including underrepresented communities. CyberMOD integrates math and science fields through technology in a motivational way, which has the potential to broaden participation in STEM education. The societal effects would include educational and motivational benefits that address the current STEM crisis and result in informed, well-educated citizens. Broader impacts of this project include the establishment of an effective computationally related career pathway that starts with K-12 computational science and leads to the exploding market of digital jobs based on hybrid careers that combine computing with other fields such as biology and physics. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Science illiteracy, often rooted in K-12 science education failing to be of interest or relevance for students, can ultimately have negative effects in the public's understanding of their own health and environment. CyberMOD is likely to engage students more and to turn them into better- informed, and consequentlyhealthier citizens, by integrating math and science fields through technology in a motivational way, which has the potential to broaden participation in STEM education and increase science literacy. The more general societal effects would include educational and motivational benefits that address the current STEM crisis and result in informed, well-educated citizens. Broader impacts of this project include the establishment of an effective computationally related career pathway that starts with K-12 computational science and leads to the exploding market of digital jobs based on hybrid careers that combine computing with other fields such as biology, chemistry, and physics.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: SMALL BUSINESS PHASE I | Award Amount: 149.95K | Year: 2010

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project seeks to build a system called CyberCollage as a cyberlearning tool to support computational thinking in STEM education at the middle school level. CyberCollage will enable the collective programming of educational games and computational science simulations through a social media approach that uniquely combines real-time synchronous collaboration with web-based multi end-user Programming. For example, multiple students would be able to work together on a Frogger game. While one student may be programming the frog a different student might be working on the turtles. Similarly, students can collaborate on computational science applications that explore questions such as can your frog live in my pond? Both game design and computational science applications will be directly responsive to the computational thinking need of K-12 STEM education through cyberlearning technology.

Cyberlearning technology addresses concrete needs in K-12 computer science education. The proposed combination of high accessibility through Web interfaces, increased motivational prospective through social media, and tested curriculum integrated into required computer education middle school courses is likely to reach a vast audience and attract women and underrepresented communities. The inclusion of strategies to support computational science applications will be relevant to STEM education and, through their integration into public schools, enhance public science understanding. The project has access to disadvantaged communities such as inner city, remote rural and Native American schools that can serve as testbeds for evaluation beyond Phase I. From a research point of view, the unique conceptual as well as technical aspects of Collective Programming are likely to result in significant contributions to programming language design, social interface design, social computing, and end-user programming. The common framework employed between game design and computational science has the potential to discover both, positive and negative, evidence for educational notions of transfer that are highly relevant to computational thinking.


Grant
Agency: National Science Foundation | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 497.76K | Year: 2011

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project seeks to build a system called CyberCollage as a Social Cyberlearning tool to support computational thinking in STEM education. CyberCollage will enable collective programming of educational games and STEM simulations through a unique combination of networked real-time collaboration mechanisms and Web-based social end-user programming. For example, multiple students can work together on a Frogger game. While one student may be programming the frog, a different student might be working on the turtles. Similarly, students can collaborate on science simulations that explore STEM related questions such as "can your frog live in my pond"? Phase I established technical feasibility, and showed that complex science simulations with tens of thousands of agents can both run efficiently and be created collaboratively by students working together, locally, in the same classroom, or separated by hundreds of miles. Phase II will establish CyberCollage as a scalable cloud-based implementation of a Social Cyberlearning tool, and will integrate embedded assessment mechanisms that make learning outcomes in computational thinking both measurable and predictable. These assessment mechanisms enable the investigation and study of computational thinking transfer evidence between game and STEM applications. The 2010 PCAST report asserts that computational thinking is one of the fundamental concepts of networking and information technology. Fluency in computational thinking is needed to prepare today?s students to be the next generation of innovators and professionals. The proposed combination of high accessibility through Web interfaces, increased motivational prospective through social interfaces, and tested curriculum integrated into required computer education middle school courses is likely to reach a vast audience and attract both women and underrepresented communities to information technology courses and fields. This reach is enhanced by the participation of the National Center of Women in Technology (NCWIT) and Google in the Phase II advisory board. Both organizations are already disseminating AgentSheets Inc. computational thinking resources, which is an extremely positive indicator of a high probability of broad impact and commercial success. The CyberCollage project has established access to disadvantaged communities that include inner city, remote rural, and Native American schools in Alaska, Colorado, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming. These and other schools will serve as testbeds. A pledged investment by a third-party organization should establish a consumer-oriented extension of CyberCollage, making Social Cyberlearning of computational thinking relevant beyond its original scope of educational applications.


Grant
Agency: National Science Foundation | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.95K | Year: 2010

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project seeks to build a system called CyberCollage as a cyberlearning tool to support computational thinking in STEM education at the middle school level. CyberCollage will enable the collective programming of educational games and computational science simulations through a social media approach that uniquely combines real-time synchronous collaboration with web-based multi end-user Programming. For example, multiple students would be able to work together on a Frogger game. While one student may be programming the frog a different student might be working on the turtles. Similarly, students can collaborate on computational science applications that explore questions such as 'can your frog live in my pond?' Both game design and computational science applications will be directly responsive to the computational thinking need of K-12 STEM education through cyberlearning technology. Cyberlearning technology addresses concrete needs in K-12 computer science education. The proposed combination of high accessibility through Web interfaces, increased motivational prospective through social media, and tested curriculum integrated into required computer education middle school courses is likely to reach a vast audience and attract women and underrepresented communities. The inclusion of strategies to support computational science applications will be relevant to STEM education and, through their integration into public schools, enhance public science understanding. The project has access to disadvantaged communities such as inner city, remote rural and Native American schools that can serve as testbeds for evaluation beyond Phase I. From a research point of view, the unique conceptual as well as technical aspects of Collective Programming are likely to result in significant contributions to programming language design, social interface design, social computing, and end-user programming. The common framework employed between game design and computational science has the potential to discover both, positive and negative, evidence for educational notions of transfer that are highly relevant to computational thinking.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: SMALL BUSINESS PHASE I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2014

This SBIR Phase I project proposes to build a Cyberlearning tool called REACT (Real Time Evaluation and Assessment of Computational Thinking) based on a highly innovative assessment methodology that will help teachers with computer science education. There is growing interest in having more students exposed to computer science and in broadening STEM participation for women and minority students. However, the question is one of how. Research by the REACT team - conducted in diverse innercity, remote rural and Native American communities - indicates that: a) a well-defined strategy exists that can make computer science education work in public schools, and b) it is difficult to create the classroom environment needed to support the highly engaging and educational pedagogical approaches that form the heart of this strategy. Open ended projects can be highly inspiring to students across genders and ethnic groups. It is proposed to build and evaluate a cyberlearning tool that will assess student-built games (or simulations) and provide the teacher with feedback on what students are actually learning in real time. This feedback is an embedded, formative assessment that gives the teacher important information directly from their students programs and enables teachers to make crucial instructional decisions during lessons.

The broader/commercial impact includes the benefits of embedded assessment - that is, assessment that taps directly into student created projects instead of soliciting information from students through tests. Part of the assessment problem is that it is difficult to extract meaningful information from design artifacts. In the case of game design, it is most useful to extract information from the programs and games themselves. REACT employs a highly innovative pattern matching approach called Computational Thinking Pattern Analysis (CTPA). CTPA can find patterns that are relevant to game design as well as computational science modeling. A successful embedded, formative assessment of design-based artifacts like programs could advance learning sciences and significantly enhance in-class and online learning by creating closed loop learning environments presenting real time information to students and teachers. REACT could result in an important tipping point because embedded, formative assessment provides crucial information to teachers as they are making crucial instructional decisions. This could be highly relevant to broadening participation in computer science learning. A teacher using a supportive Cyberlearning approach would be able to better engage and motivate female and underserved populations. This increased engagement could significantly scale up the exposure of students to computer science education.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: REAL | Award Amount: 497.76K | Year: 2011

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project seeks to build a system called CyberCollage as a Social Cyberlearning tool to support computational thinking in STEM education. CyberCollage will enable collective programming of educational games and STEM simulations through a unique combination of networked real-time collaboration mechanisms and Web-based social end-user programming. For example, multiple students can work together on a Frogger game. While one student may be programming the frog, a different student might be working on the turtles. Similarly, students can collaborate on science simulations that explore STEM related questions such as can your frog live in my pond? Phase I established technical feasibility, and showed that complex science simulations with tens of thousands of agents can both run efficiently and be created collaboratively by students working together, locally, in the same classroom, or separated by hundreds of miles. Phase II will establish CyberCollage as a scalable cloud-based implementation of a Social Cyberlearning tool, and will integrate embedded assessment mechanisms that make learning outcomes in computational thinking both measurable and predictable. These assessment mechanisms enable the investigation and study of computational thinking transfer evidence between game and STEM applications.

The 2010 PCAST report asserts that computational thinking is one of the fundamental concepts of networking and information technology. Fluency in computational thinking is needed to prepare today?s students to be the next generation of innovators and professionals. The proposed combination of high accessibility through Web interfaces, increased motivational prospective through social interfaces, and tested curriculum integrated into required computer education middle school courses is likely to reach a vast audience and attract both women and underrepresented communities to information technology courses and fields. This reach is enhanced by the participation of the National Center of Women in Technology (NCWIT) and Google in the Phase II advisory board. Both organizations are already disseminating AgentSheets Inc. computational thinking resources, which is an extremely positive indicator of a high probability of broad impact and commercial success. The CyberCollage project has established access to disadvantaged communities that include inner city, remote rural, and Native American schools in Alaska, Colorado, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming. These and other schools will serve as testbeds. A pledged investment by a third-party organization should establish a consumer-oriented extension of CyberCollage, making Social Cyberlearning of computational thinking relevant beyond its original scope of educational applications.

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