Grafitter, a technology that makes it easy to collect information about yourself over time and depict it in graph form on Twitter, is the 2009 winner of Carnegie Mellon University's second annual Smiley Award. The award, sponsored by Yahoo!. recognizes innovation in technology-assisted person-to-person communication and is open to all undergraduate and graduate students at the university.
The award is named in honor of the ubiquitous smiley emoticon, :-), created 26 years ago at Carnegie Mellon by Computer Science Department Research Professor Scott Fahlman. The smiley symbol was an early -- and still widely used -- convention that allows people to express humor and happiness in text messages on the Internet.
Grafitter is the creation of Ian Li, a doctoral student in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute, who will receive the $500 first prize and a crystal trophy. Li won an honorable mention in last year's Smiley Award competition for his web-based Moodjam application, which tracks people's emotional states.
Honorable Mentions went to Ilya Brin, Dan Eisenberg, and Kevin Li, a trio of undergraduates who developed EyeTable, an intelligent restaurant table that uses headsets and sensing technology based on the Wii game controller to determine how well people are responding to one another on dates by analyzing their gestures and speech patterns. They developed EyeTable for a course project in the Applied Computational Intelligence Lab, taught by Language Technology Institute faculty members Anatole Gershman and Alan Black.