AI, NLP & Robotics Group
The Artificial Intelligence, Natural Language Processing and Robotic Group strives to find applications of these areas to solve interesting and difficult problems. Villanova University Associate Professor Frank Klassner has been a leader in using robotics and artificial intelligence as educational tools, and this group attempts to look at ways to apply that developed wisdom in new and innovative ways. We are looking for interesting projects to add to our efforts. This groups shares many overlapping interests with the ACT Lab's Entertainment Technology Group.
Project: Sentiment Analysis & Sentiment Tracking
Purpose: Develop a web-based application to measure and track Internet-expressed sentiment on a particular topic or search term
Researchers: Tom Way, Rohitha Kodali
Applications: Political science, Social networking, Marketing, Mass communication, Psychology, etc.
Assuming that the Internet, or a cohesive subset of it, can be viewed as a cohesive entity, or entities, with a measurable point-of-view, this project aims to create software that measures that point-of-view by performing NLP-based sentiment analysis. The idea, which is still being formulated, involved searching for a particular term, gathering and collating search results, performing a desired variation of sentiment analysis, and then archiving the results for later comparison with a longitudinal collection of results. Through this approach, attitudes and perceptions, as expressed collectively by the Internet (or subset) can be tracked and analyzed.
This idea was proposed on our Idea Incubator page for awhile:
How Are We Today? - Design a web-based application that gathers news content from a wide variety of sources, performs frequency analysis on the content and determines what the general mood of the world is on that day. Steps will include creating a web-application that retrieves the text from an online news source, ranks the occurrence of all words, displays a "word cloud," creates a list of criteria words that are used to measure the mood expressed by the retrieved news (happy, sad, etc.), can be configured and targeted to other domains beyond news, such as politics (what is the political mood of the web? what is the political bias of a web site?), celebrities (how does the web feel about Tiger Woods?), specific countries (what does Europe think of the U.S.?), etc. Similar project was called NewsMood.
Project: Automatic Image Description
Purpose: Develop an image analysis and description generation system
Researchers: Tom Way
Researcher Alumni: Sandeep Vodapally
Applications: Assistive technology, target acquisition, security & monitoring
Blind and low-vision computer users are faced with a quandary. The popularity of the Internet has led to an explosion of fancy graphics, beautiful (and ugly) web site layout and design, and easily available digital photographs numbering in the millions, none of which are accessible to this group of users.
Our current research plans are to again pursue the issues, technologies and solutions for providing efficient and meaningful access to graphical information for blind computer users. Immediate goals are to explore automated image analysis and feature detection, combined with speech generation, to create a technique for automatic generation of image descriptions. One important component of this analysis is determining how to recognize 3-dimensional objects from the real-world in the inherently 2-dimensional images. This work will benefit blind and low-vision computer users, with extension to military and commercial low-light and nighttime navigation and communication.
Project: Writing Analyzer
Purpose: Develop a writing level analyzer.
Researchers: Tom Way
Applications: Support for plagiarism detection and writing improvement tools.
An effective way to evaluate writing is to measure the apparent difficulty of the content to better guide the writing to match the desired target difficulty level. This measure is also useful for analyzing textual material to locate inconsistencies within the document to determine the likelihood of plagiarism.
Purpose: Develop robots using recycled materials.
Researchers: None at present
Researcher Alumni: Luis Ahumada
Applications: Promoting AI and robotics for fun and education
With the technology boom has come an explosion of junked computer components, including monitors, keyboards, memory chips and mice. This project will begin with the development of "Frankenmice," robots build using surplus analog computer mice. Relying initially on web resources and articles in the popular press, this project will explore techniques for developing these and other robotics devices from recycles materials. The end result of this exploration will be the development of a detailed guidebook, or perhaps even a kit, that provides step-by-step instructions on developing a robot from recycled parts. Other avenues of exploration could lead to applications of AI to these robots with a goal of developing practical robotics for daily life, no small challenge.