Happy Third Anniversary to My Accessibility Research!



Almost three years have passed away since I first started working on accessibility from June 2017. When I reflect on those memories, I have to admit that I did not always have changeless enthusiasm and clear goals in my mind. I went through painfully self-examination behind every project:

Was I framing one research problem too ideally?

Was it possible to push this project into real-world product beyond academic paper?

Did we make ground-breaking technical progress or just re-invent the wheels for a clever idea?



Before I learnt to coexist with uncertainty, volunteer activities have become my simple joys to get rid of these ruminations. In these activities, I know every effort and moment of mine is somehow helpful to one or more people instantly. From working as a walking guide for a piano tuning technician, to holding the volunteer activity to invite forty elders to the campus; from conducting experiments in the cramped dormitory of masseurs, to accompanying a professor to attend annual meeting of China Disabled Persons' Federation; from discussing potential ideas with tech enthusiasts on an online forum, to hearing a modern movie provided by a describer in a historical Chinese quadrangle…I might have talked with almost a hundred visually impaired people with different living conditions, cultural backgrounds, education levels and careers. I treasure the friendship with so many talented, intelligent and admirable people. They not only discussed research questions with me, but also inspired me with their tenacity and courage. I often feel that what I have gained from them is far more than what I can do for them: They encouraged me to further my studies and taught me to keep positive mindset towards difficulties. The former sheds a light on where to go for my career, and the latter reminds me of how to live a better life.


I think it will be a pity if only the accepted research papers are recorded as the time goes by. In this blog, I hope to write down the stories behind research and how these experiences impact my research and life.

Chapter 1 Uninformed Optimism

I can still clearly remember our first meeting with the department chair, Prof. Xu, as new master students in the interdisciplinary program of Tsinghua. Prof. Xu asked us, "What do you hope to do during the following three years?" My answer is, I want to help the underprivileged, for example, people living in remote mountain areas. Born in an ordinary family, I deeply feel the importance of education and how living condition and education give me more freedom on architecting my life with my efforts. But what about those who have talents and efforts but lack conditions and opportunities? Prof. Xu replied with a smile, "Well, that's a good desire, and you should learn to make a living first." Frankly speaking, I hadn't considered about what I would do after graduation by that time, I was just a naive master student with uninformed optimism.

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📧Contact: violynne@ucla.edu

Latest News

Sept 16, 2022: Three works submitted to CHI.

Aug 2, 2022: Became a PhD Candidate, finally.

July 29, 2022: Hope I could spend more time on Neuromatch computational neuroscience course.

April 7, 2022: Two works submitted to UIST.

March 28, 2022: Started a course on Neural Signal Processing.

Sept 21 2021: Finished my first industry internship at Microsoft EPIC Research Group. So grateful.

April 23 2021: Attended 2021 CRA-WP Grad Cohort for Women. 

March 19 2021: Finished a course on Neural Networks and Deep Learning.

Feb 13 2021: Attended weSTEM conference. Such an inspiring experience!

Dec 18 2020: Finished a course on Computational Imaging.

Dec 12 2020: Three works accepted by CHI.

Nov 22 2020: My first time attending NAISys.

Sept 17 2020: Three works submitted to CHI.

June 20 2020: One work rejected by UIST.

May 6 2020: One work submitted to UIST.

March 20 2020: Finished a course on Bioelectronics.

Feb 7 2020: One work accepted by CHI LBW.

Dec 13 2019: Finished a course on Neuroengineering.

Dec 8 2019: One work rejected by CHI.

Oct 25 2019: One work accepted by IMWUT.

Oct 22 2019: One work presented at UIST SIC.

Sep 20 2019: One paper submitted to CHI.

Aug 15 2019: One paper submitted to IMWUT.

July 30 2019: My first time attending SIGGRAPH.




UCLA Disabilities and Computing Program

NLP Group @ Computer Science, UCLA

Laboratory for Clinical and Affective Psychophysiology @ Psychology, UCLA

ACE, Makeability, Make4all @ UW

Human-Computer Interaction Initiative @ HKUST

 Interaction Lab @ KAIST



SIGCHI Accessibility Committee (2021 - )

UCLA ECE Faculty Recruitment Student Committee (2021)

Accessibility Co-chair (UIST 2020, 2021)

UCLA ECEGAPS Prelim Reform Committee (2020)

Publicity Co-Chair (ISS 2020)

Associate Chair (CHI LBWs 2020, 2022)


Student Volunteer (UIST 2019, 2020, NAISys 2020)

Volunteer at Beijing Volunteer Service Foundation and the China Braille Library (2018)



ECE 209AS Human-Computer Interaction, UCLA (2019 Fall, 2020 Fall, 2022 Winter)


Honors & Awards

Selected for a SIGCHI Student Travel Grant, 2020

Selected to CRA-WP Grad Cohort for Women, 2020

Graduates with distinction & Outstanding Thesis Award , Tsinghua University 2019

Best Paper Honorable Mention Award (Top 5%), CHI 2019

National Scholarship (Top 1%), Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China, 2018

Second Prize, Tsinghua University 35th Challenge Cup, 2018

Comprehensive Scholarship (Top 4%), Tsinghua University, 2017

First Prize, GIX Innovation Competition, 2016

Outstanding Thesis Award, Tianjin University, 2015


Invited Talks

"Inclusive Design: Accessibility Ignites Innovation" at TEDxTHU, 2018


Selected Press

TechCrunch: Alibaba made a smart screen to help blind people shop and it costs next to nothing

The Next Web: Alibaba’s inexpensive smart display tech makes shopping easier for the visually impaired 

Techengage: Alibaba's Smart Touch is everything for the visually impaired

Google’s AI hardware, in new hands