Uplifting Communities Through Innovation: Demo Day Fall 2023

If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the years at Demo Day, it’s that innovation doesn’t happen in isolation. That would explain why students, faculty, staff, and Spark! partners alike gathered between Floors 1 & 2 of the BU Center for Computing & Data Sciences to bear witness to Fall 2023 Demo Day.

Demo Day was part of the Fall 2023 Experiential Learning Expo where students from the Faculty of Computing & Data SciencesCross-College Challenge, the Learning Assistant Program, and BU Spark! unveiled to the world –  many for the first time – the projects that they’ve spent an entire semester working on. Each project represents countless hours of dedication, late-night ideation sessions, and the unwavering belief in the power of innovation to uplift people and communities.

Get familiar with the work of each student group who participated, and you too can say that you were the first to behold their work before they transform the marketplace.


Winner’s Circle

These projects were selected by an esteemed panel of industry professionals and Demo Day’s audience. 

Connect+ Judges’ Choice Award

First Gen students face a myriad of challenges navigating college from financial barriers to emotional isolation to a lack of knowledge of the college experience. This project seeks to address these challenges by providing a resource (mobile app) for first-gen students to get matched to resources, emotional support and advice, and opportunities for growth.

Team members: Rachel Li (lirachel@bu.edu), Kristi Li (kli226@bu.edu), Annie Huang (huangtc@bu.edu), Gabriela Garcia-Mendoza (ggarciam@bu.edu)

Links: GitHub | Jira | Product link | Poster | Presentation

 

Quantly — Audience Choice Award

This project aims to prepare students interested in entry-level analytical positions in quantitative/computational finance. The vision for this project is to create a free educational platform with simple computing tasks and industry resources that can be completed with automated grading to help students gain skills in computational finance.

Team members: Nikhil Ramchandani (nmr2701@bu.edu), Jimmy (Peiyuan) Wu (pwu24@bu.edu), Rong Chen (rongc@bu.edu), Awad Khawaja (awadk@bu.edu), Nolan Thompson (nbt@bu.edu)

Links: GitHub | Jira | Product link | Poster | Presentation

 

Audience and Judges’ Choice Award winner posing for a picture.

Innovation Program Project Gallery

All of the projects presented at Demo Day were outstanding in their own right and showed remarkable innovation and creativity. 

Safesteps

The goal of this project is to create a React Native mobile app that aims to improve safety for pedestrians crossing intersections at the BU campus via receiving alerts when coming near the proximity of an integrated hardware sensor. Along with the ability for users to report accidents and obstacles within an intersection to update fellow pedestrians on any issues they might encounter when walking near the BU campus.

Team members: Rithvik Doshi (rithvik@bu.edu), Kit Yan (kyan@bu.edu), Maxwell Higa (mhiga@bu.edu), Jennifer Liu (jennliuu@bu.edu)

Links: GitHub | Jira | Product link | Presentation

 

JiffyJobs

This project aims to help college students who are facing near-term cashflow challenges by providing opportunities to earn money within a short time frame. The vision for this project is to create a solution that matches short-term job seekers with quick and immediate job opportunities so they can earn income quickly in a safe and trusted environment.

Team members: Junsun (Lucas) Yoon (lyoon02@bu.edu), Annie Liang (aaliang@bu.edu), Jonathan Pang (mhiga@bu.edu), Junhee Park (jennliuu@bu.edu), Calvin Li (calvinli@bu.edu)

Links: GitHub | Jira | Product link | Poster | Presentation

 

Crown

This project aims to streamline the experience of searching for hair professionals while serving as an aggregation of resources for textured hair improvement and education.

Team members: Osaruguemwen (Anita) Emokpae  (anitae@bu.edu), Jiazheng Su (sjz2025@bu.edu), Thienan Tran (ttran010@bu.edu), Favor Wariboko (fwari@bu.edu)

Links: GitHub | Jira | Poster | Presentation

 

PetVenture

This project seeks to offer pet owners better living experiences with their furry friends in Boston. The vision for this project is to create a place where pet lovers can find restaurants, hotels, and other public venues that are pet-friendly.

Team members: Mengdi (Cornelia) Wang (wmeng@bu.edu), Christol Yu (chrstyu@bu.edu), Yukun (Nathan) Shan (yshan@bu.edu), Yimin Xu (yxu168@bu.edu)

Links: GitHub | Jira | Product link | Poster | Presentation

 

IndieArt Reads

This project aims to create an aggregator of artbooks from published by independent small presses. The project aims to address the problem of a highly fragmented marketplace of niche books currently relying on social media, stand-alone websites, and in-person book fairs to sell and purchase books. The project will seek to automate the aggregation of listings about artbooks and specialized artbook fairs, presented in a beautiful online setting worthy of the art books that are being featured while also sharing information about book fairs.

Team members: Ash Wei (yuwei@bu.edu), Matthew Iwane (buiwane@bu.edu), Julian Tanja (yuzeng@bu.edu), 

Links: GitHub | Jira | Product link | Poster | Presentation

 

Pheko

In India, there is an entire circular economy for people who make a living collecting and selling recyclables. This project aims to bring technology (react native app) to this marketplace that is focused on the poorest segments of Indian society by creating a solution that matches “scrap dealers” or individuals who collect and sell recyclables with people who are seeking to get rid of recyclables. It’s like 1-800-Junk + DoorDash for India.

Team members: Krish Agarwal (agkrish@bu.edu), Nicolas Restrepo (nrestre@bu.edu), Bella Tuo (bellatuo@bu.edu), Woo Zhong Han (wzhan@bu.edu), Tanisq Mallpani (tanisq@bu.edu)

Links: GitHub | Jira | Product link | Poster | Presentation

 

X-Lab and Practicum Presentations

City of Boston: 311 – Team D CS 506 Practicum 

Boston’s 311 service is intended to connect city residents with highly trained service representatives that can mobilize city resources to address pressing non-emergency concerns around the city. To ensure this service is as efficient and equitable as possible, the city of Boston has partnered with BU Spark! to analyze how (and which) communities are using it. 

Bike Infrastructure & Displacement DS 701 Practicum 

For the Boston metro area, delving into the specifics of displacement triggered by factors like bus lanes and bike infrastructure could yield valuable insights. Understanding whether causation exists between these factors and displacement could inform the implementation of policies to prevent or mitigate it.

Team DS 519 SE Practicum 

Students will create a wireframe version of the software platform used in perimetry, including core functional, control, and database modules, aiding in an improved computation mapping system for the assessment of visuospatial disorders. 

MAPLE DS 549 ML Practicum 

MAPLE is a free public platform for submitting and reading testimony on Massachusetts legislation. Today, there is no legal obligation for the MA legislature (or “The General Court”) to disclose what written testimony they receive and, in practice, such disclosure very rarely happens. The goal of this project is to generate summaries and category tags for pending legislation. 

AI Editor DS488 UX Practicum 

This project focuses on creating a tool aimed at serving reporters working at small publications who have little to no editorial support. The idea is to create a chatbot that will edit stories produced by professional journalists. It should check stories for issues such as grammar, passive voice, sentences and paragraphs that are too long, and any text that is unclear or hard to understand. It should also make recommendations on additional resources needed to improve a story.

Commuter Rail Routes DS594 Data Vis 

Every day, several different commuter trains go to and from the city of Boston. Using logs of these trains over the past few years, A Better City hopes to analyze how these commuter rail lines have changed over time and how to best utilize resources to improve them.

Speed Camera & Vision Zero XC410: DS4G 

Vision Zero is a strategy to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries while increasing safe, healthy, and equitable mobility for all. Livable Streets’ concern is that Vision Zero is using speed cameras as a stop-gap, but they’re not fixing streets. This project centers on the hypothesis around examining cases where cameras have not resulted in reduced crashes on an aggregate city level.

The Emancipator XC410 Justice Media co-Lab 

Certain parts of the city of Boston reach higher temperatures in the summer than areas that have tree-shaded streets, little air pollution, and wide-open parks. And a growing body of research has found that historically marginalized communities are much more likely to be hotspots. This analysis illustrates how redlining created these conditions.

Student presenting during Demo Day breakout session.

Missed Demo Day? Relive the night here.

Housed at Boston University’s Faculty of Computing & Data Sciences, BU Spark! is an incubator and experiential learning lab for computer science and engineering projects. Spark! provides the infrastructure to support student innovation projects and engagement in applied research or real-world technology projects, while fostering an inclusive, connected community around interdisciplinary computing and data science.