Team that includes CS researchers wins the BU Social Entrepreneurship Award

in Recent News
July 17th, 2014

A cross-disciplinary team, including researchers from the BU School of Public Health (SPH), Department of Computer Science, and Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering have won the BU Social Entrepreneurship Award at the BU Tech, Drugs, and Rock n’ Roll (TDRR) event yesterday.

Project SEARCH: Scanning Ears for Child Health
Ear biometrics’ potential for solving patient identification challenges in global field settings

SPH: Prof. Christopher Gill, Elizabeth Ragan, Courtney Johnson
CS: Sarah Adel Bargal
ECE: Cliff Chan, Samuel Howes, Alexander Welles

The idea, proof of concept, and obtaining funding for future work have been done by SPH team members.

The comparative study and development portion of this project has been done as a course project last spring for the courses:
CAS CS 585 Image and Video Computing taught by Diane Theriault
CAS CS 542 Machine learning taught by Prof. Peter Chin

Project Website
Project Video

The interesting background story: Christopher Gill, Elizabeth Ragan, and Courtney Johnson had the idea for the system and conducted initial feasibility studies using mouse clicks on images of ears. Fatih Cakir, a CS doctoral student, happened to hear about the project through Prof. Muhammad Zaman in BU Biomedical Engineering. Fatih subsequently followed up with a discussion of the past literature he had surveyed on ear biometrics. When Fatih served as the Teaching Fellow for CS 542 this past spring, he encouraged a team of students in CS 542 to develop the SEARCH ear scanning prototype for the iPhone in their course project. The result is promising, and the team plans to port it to the Android platform and conduct field testing soon.