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October 9, 2006

UARC researcher takes part in NextFest program

Beth Ann Hockey, a visiting professor of linguistics, was invited to participate in a special program at NextFest, the four-day technology festival organized by Wired magazine.

Photo of Beth Ann Hockey

Project scientist Beth Ann Hockey leads a diverse team of researchers collaborating on the Clarissa project at NASA Ames.
Photo: NASA

Hockey, a researcher at the University Affiliated Research Center (UARC) at NASA Ames, leads NASA's Clarissa project to develop a voice-activated computer program that talks astronauts through complicated procedures in space.

Performing complex tasks in zero gravity is no easy feat, and flipping the pages of a manual or scrolling through online instructions only adds to the difficulties. Clarissa reads instructions to astronauts and responds to spoken commands. The spoken-dialogue system is one of many NASA projects being carried out through the UARC partnership between UCSC and NASA Ames Research Center.

Hockey and astronaut Stephanie Wilson gave a demonstration of Clarissa as part of the "Dr. Next" show for students during the NextFest education day. Clarissa was also featured along with other interactive exhibits in the NASA pavilion at the NextFest event. NextFest took place in New York from September 29 to October 1 and was attended by more than 30,000 people.

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