short bio

Jerry Alan Fails is an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science at Boise State University in Boise, Idaho. His general area of research is Human-Computer Interaction, with a current focus on technologies that support children's creativity, mobility, and collaboration. The primary goals of Dr. Fails current research is to leverage technology to encourage children to engage with their environment and with one another (two things technology is blamed for doing the exact opposite), and to engaging children in generative activities as opposed to consumer oriented activities. As part of this, Dr. Fails leads a collaborative effort Geotagger which enables children to make and share environmental observations.

As part of his research he directs an intergenerational design team called Kidsteam. The team consists of young children and adults who work together as partners to improve and design new technologies. Previously he founded a Kidsteam in New Jersey at Montclair State University. He received his Ph.D in Computer Science from the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland in 2009, where he was an active member of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL) for six years while working with Dr. Allison Druin and with the Kidsteam there. In 2003, he received his MS in Computer Science from Brigham Young University where he worked with Dr. Dan Olsen Jr. on perceptual user interfaces.

research interests

Human-computer interaction, user interfaces, educational technologies, mobile devices, children, famlies, older adults, design (user-centered, participatory, cooperative inquiry), ubiquitous computing.

research philosophy

Put abstract or first paragraph of research statement here.

Research Philsophy (PDF) (Last updated: Friday, 25-Mar-2016 11:29:10 MDT)

current projects

Geotagger: A Collaborative Environmental Inquiry Platform  — Jerry Alan Fails, Katherine Herbert-Berger, Emily Hill, Andrew DeStefano, Brandon Hesse, Paul Cushman, Travis Gant, Syed Shah, Aliet Abreu-Cruz, Nikita Panchariya, Varsha Nimbagal
Geotagger is a collaborative environmental inquiry platform that enables children and adults alike the opportunity to observe the world around them, document that observation, share it, and encourage discussion around that tagged item of interest. The main objectives are to leverage the rampant use of and affinity for technology to encourage people to observe the natural world around them and to share and discuss that information with peers and colleagues.
MSU Kidsteam
Technologies for Families  — Jerry Alan Fails and Sara Isola
HCI researchers have demonstrated the importance of understanding users, and incorporating user needs and requirements into the design of technology. Researchers have explored design methodologies for adults and for children, and some have designed technologies for families. We have surveyed the literature in CHI and IDC to better understand how technologies are designed and developed for families, with a goal of addressing holistically the important user group of families.
MSU Kidsteam
Children as Design Partners (Intergenerational Design Teams)  — Jerry Alan Fails, Destiney Wilson, Victoria Abramik, Kaitlin Knight, Chante Stewart-Wallace, Sara Isola, and Jiyeon Min
Children, ages 7-11, work with the HCI laboratory faculty and students after school and over the summer to create new technolgies for children.
Mobile Collaboration for Young Children Screenshot
Mobile Collaboration for Young Children (Video)  — Jerry Alan Fails, Allison Druin, Mona Leigh Guha, Gene Chipman, Kevin McGehee, Juliette Taillandier, and Shaili Desai
Mobile devices can support the learning experience as children create narratives in various contexts. Mobile device limitations can be overcome by bringing people and devices together. In addition, social interaction and collaboration are essential to the emotional and cognitive development of young children.

past projects

Mobile Gestures
Mobile Gestures  — Jerry Alan Fails, Ramey Gerges, and Lashonda Bell
Touch devices such as smartphones and tablet computers have become a ubiquitous aspect of peoples daily lives. Gesture recognition algorithms have been developed for 2D gestures. We have been exploring 3D gesture recognition algorithms and applications.
Children as Design Partners (Intergenerational Design Teams) Screenshot
Children as Design Partners (Intergenerational Design Teams)  — Allison Druin, Jaime Montemayor, Juan Pablo Hourcade, Gene Chipman, Hilary Browne Hutchinson, Mona Leigh Guha, Jerry Alan Fails, Sante Simms, Wayne Churaman, Evan Golub, Sheri Massey, Shaili Desai, Allison Farber, and more
Children, ages 7-11, work with HCIL faculty/staff/students after school and over the summer to create new technolgies for children.
Connecting Generations Screenshot
Connecting Generations — Bo Xie, Allison Druin, Jerry Alan Fails, Evan Golub, Sheri Massey, Kiki Schneider, Alex Kruskal
Expanding cooperative inquiry to bridge the gap between the "younger" and "older" generations. Designing with young children and older adults to create technologies that bridge the communication gap.
Tangible Flags Screenshot
Tangible Flags  — Gene Chipman, Allison Druin, Jerry Alan Fails, Mona Leigh Guha, Sante Simms
Using Tangible Flags, children on field trips can easily collaborate to create and connect digital information to the real world, but also have the flexibility to explore independently.
PatternFinder Screenshot
PatternFinder (Video Demo)  — by Jerry Alan Fails, Amy Karlson, Layla Shahamat, and Ben Shneiderman, and more
An integrated interface for visual query and result-set visualization for search and discovery of temporal patterns within multivariate and categorical data sets. Pattern queries allow events, event sets, event attributes, and time spans to be specified so as to produce powerful queries that are difficult to express in other formalisms.
Classroom of the Future Screenshot
Classroom of the Future  — Allison Druin, Jaime Montemayor, Gene Chipman, Mona Leigh Guha, Jerry Alan Fails, Sante Simms, Wayne Churaman
Mobile and embedded technologies are created in partnership with pre-school children and teachers at the Center for Young Children.
Mouse for Older Adults
Mouse for Older Adults (unpublished) — Jerry Alan Fails, François Guimbretière
There are specific areas that are problematic for older adults when they use a mouse: size, shape, buttons, and clutching. These areas are founded with an ethnographic study, and then, using these principles as guides, a mouse that blends the positive characteristics of a mouse and trackball was designed, created and evaluated. Evaluations showed the new mouse was preferred by older adult users with no significant loss in performance power.
Screen Crayons Screenshot
Screen Crayons (Video Demo) — Trent Taufer, Dan R. Olsen Jr., Jerry Alan Fails
ScreenCrayons is a system for collecting annotations on any type of document or visual information from any application. The basis for the system is a screen capture upon which the user can highlight the relevant portions of the image. The user can define any number of topics for organizing notes. Each topic is associated with a highlighting "crayon."
Image Processing with Crayons Screenshot
Image Processing with Crayons (Master's Thesis at BYU) (Video Demo) — Jerry Alan Fails, Dan R. Olsen Jr.
Supports rapid perceptual user interface (PUI) prototyping by facilitating the creation of a visual classifier. Using this tool, image classifiers can be created in minutes not months.
Light Widgets
Light Widgets (Video Demo) — Jerry Alan Fails, Dan R. Olsen Jr.
A system for ubiquitous interaction that does not require users to carry any physical devices. In this system, the environment is instrumented with camera/processor combinations that watch users while protecting their privacy. Any visible surface can be turned into an interactive widget triggered by skin-colored objects.

Last Updated: Wednesday, 16-Aug-2017 13:09:00 MDT