Human-Computer Interaction Institute Ph.D. student Stephanie Valencia was named to MIT Tech Review's "Innovators Under 35 Latin America 2017" for her work on the Ijwi device, which gives a voice to those who cannot speak due to nonverbal autism or cerebral palsy.
"The TR35 Award is one of the top recognitions that a young person working in technology can receive. This award reflects the innovation and impact of Stephanie's work," said HCII Associate Professor Jeff Bigham, who co-advises Valencia with Henny Admoni, an assistant professor in the Robotics Institute.
Valencia and her team initially envisioned Ijwa as a one-size-fits-all tablet app , but upon learning more about the context through their local partners, they had to reevaluate. The new solution was a low-cost device that runs on batteries and open source code for easy maintenance and customization.
"Through the projects she has developed in the past and continues to develop currently, Valencia has demonstrated superlative curiosity, tenacity, and with the right resources, she will achieve great things in the future," Tech Review noted.
Read the full story on the HCII website.