Jolie Klefeker, a TAM junior and Unstable Design Lab researcher, was recently chosen as a Grace Hopper Research Scholar, a national program that aims to increase the number of undergraduate women with an interest in computing research.
As a scholar, Klefeker’s travel expenses will be covered to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration in Houston, September 26-28, where she will present her research and have the opportunity to build relationships with other women in computing.
“I am super-excited to interact with fellow students and professionals and to learn about their research and exchange ideas,” says Klefeker.
An example of Klefeker’s research, “String Figuring: A Story of Reflection, Material Inquiry, and a Novel Sensor,” brings together material studies and cultural reflection, critically looking at our culture's norms and ideas on fiber arts and craft, to describe the design of a new and novel sensor. The string figure sensor is an early prototype for a string-based sensor that can “know something of its own shape” by measuring changes in resistance generated from knotting or crossing the string. The paper, co-authored by Laura Devendorf, assistant professor of information science with the ATLAS Institute and director of the Unstable Design Lab, was published in the Extended Abstracts of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems and presented by Klefeker in Montreal in April during the conference.
"Jolie's String Figures project is about reflecting on what it means to work with materials and let the materials 'lead' the design," Devendorf says. "Her project shows that this process led to interesting and novel outcomes, as well as ideas for what kinds of playful interactions might emerge when we pay attention to existing behaviors and cultural games with yarn."
Klefeker says that because the conductive thread is so flexible, it could be embedded in various types of sensors in clothing. A wide range of ideas have been proposed for its use, including creating sensors that support gesture-based communication and choreographing an abstract dance using the movement of clothing in a dryer.
“The project was about creating something novel, fun and playful,” Klefeker says.
Klefeker is also the music director at Radio 1190 KVCU, the campus radio station, where she coordinates all new music, curates the KVCU music library and rotation, and hosts volunteer events.