Signal Processing is an area of engineering that has several important human-centered applications. Young people do not receive enough exposure to the field and its impact the world around them every day. With a focus on local middle and high schools, the Ming Hsieh Institute of the University of Southern California has helped organize an outreach initiative to improve understanding of signal and image processing.
In collaboration with the IEEE Signal Processing Society and USC Viterbi’s K-12 STEM Center, our institute developed activities focused on two human-centered signal processing domains: media signal processing and medical imaging and applications. Four different groups of PhD students, along with undergrad and grad volunteers, organized modules to demo to the K-12 students: Deepfakes, MRI, sensors, and, our lab, SAIL, music. More details can be found in the official website of the program.
I was the team lead for SAIL, and in charge of presenting a general introduction to the students. I talked about what the physical manifestation of sound is, what the Fourier decomposition of a signal is, and why different musical instruments sound different, aka timbre. Then, I handled one the three demos we organized as a lab, centered around the interpretation and emotional response to music (see picture above).