Summer Program for Interdisciplinary Research and Education – Emerging Interface Technologies

Funded by NSF Award Number #1757900 .


SPIRE-EIT (Summer Program for Interdisciplinary Research and Education – Emerging Interface Technologies) at Iowa State University is a 10-week interdisciplinary summer experience for 10 undergraduates that integrates research and education in emerging interface technologies. Since the site’s inception in 2006, students’ commitment to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields has been demonstrated, as well as producing research publications. Students are provided with classroom training and gain hands-on experience using cutting-edge instruments, equipment, computers and cyberinfrastructure. Classes in computer programming and graphics, interface design, human-computer interaction, research skills, team skills, and ethics occupy approximately one third of the students’ time. In an unusual structure that is focused on building a community of practice, students conduct interdisciplinary research projects in groups of two or three, with all students co-located in Iowa State’s Virtual Reality Applications Center (VRAC). Each group interacts with VRAC graduate students under the supervision of VRAC faculty. The research projects are presented at an end-of-the summer campus-wide research symposium in the form of posters, demos, and a five-page research paper. Frequently the students present their research at research conferences later during the school year.

Program Overview

2022 SPIRE-EIT interns recapping their experience.

Project: Cooperative Gaming

Project name: Studying Team Metrics in Cooperative Gaming Environments
Faculty mentor: Michael Dorneich
Graduate mentor: Yvonne Farah
REU interns: Emma Edgar, Thomas Walker, Eli Whitney

Project description (.pdf)
Poster (.pdf)
Video summary (YouTube)

Project: Intent Prediction

Project name: Physics-based Learning for Multi-agent Intent Prediction
Faculty mentor: Cody Fleming
Graduate mentor: Bilal Shahid
REU interns: Alli Brophy, Charles Brailovsky, Meriem Hcini

Project description (.pdf)
Poster (.pdf)
Video summary (YouTube)

Project: Universal Admissions Interface

Project name: Development and Assessment of a Multilingual / Symbol Interface for non-English Speakers to Access Higher Education Admissions Information
Faculty mentors: Kimberly Zarecor and Evirm Baran 
Graduate mentors: Anasilvia Salazar and Ezequiel Aleman
REU interns: Farhan Ahmed, Grace Almgren, Shae Outing

Project description (.pdf)
Poster (.pdf)
Video summary (YouTube)