The Edmond Sun

April 19, 2013

UCO student to present wheelchair maneuvering research at national event


Special to The Sun

EDMOND — University of Central Oklahoma student Travis White, a senior Computer Science major from Jimtown will present his research on wheelchair maneuverability to members of Congress and the national science community April 24 at the Council of Undergraduate Research’s annual event “Posters on the Hill” in Washington D.C.

After a competitive selection process that included nearly 800 applicants, White was chosen as one of the 60 to participate in the event.

“Posters on the Hill” gives undergraduate students from throughout the country an opportunity to share their personal research stories and discoveries on a national scale.

“It truly is an honor to be selected for such a prestigious event. Not only to recognize the research I’ve been conducting but also to be chosen to speak with our members of Congress to advocate for undergraduate research,” White said.

“Undergraduate research has given me new direction and inspired me to continue my education as far as a Ph.D. and to give back to the academic community. I’m very thankful that my mentor, (UCO professor) Dr. Jicheng Fu, encouraged me to become a research assistant and has continued to push me hard to succeed.”

White’s research studies wheelchair driving patterns with the intent of developing intelligent and safe control modules to help people with disabilities who are unable to drive.

However, the traditional sensors are expensive and require dedicated clinical staff to install and collect data. To overcome such high costs and low availability, White uses sensors in smartphones to collect wheelchair-driving data and uses a cloud to store and analyze data. The combination of mobile computing and cloud computing leverages the advantages of both techniques and enables data to be collected and shared easily.

White has been working with Fu, assistant professor of Computer Science and White’s research adviser, on this project for almost two years.

“It has been a pleasure for me to work with Travis. He is a very intelligent and industrious young man. More importantly, he respects and listens to others’ advice. When I suggested that he submit an abstract to CUR ‘Posters on the Hill,’ he took it seriously,” Fu said.

After graduating this spring, White plans to work in the software industry for one to two years while preparing his application for graduate school.

CUR is a national professional association representing faculty and administrators at nearly 1,000 academic institutions, working to provide students with a wide range of opportunities to learn science by taking an active role in scientific research.