IS480 Team wiki: 2012T1 M.O.O.T/Final Wiki

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Project Progress Summary

Project Highlights

  • Inability to implement unsupervised learning
    • Percentage of men picking male hat and vice versa during UT2 was only 27% - not reliable
  • Cumbersome preparation for User Testing at Plaza Singapura
  • Inclusion of machine learning, enabled by Neural Network
  • Internal addition of stakeholders: requirement to liase with Marcom team on top of the IT team
  • Requirement changes:
    • AlterSense to enable photo taking
    • Gender-related content will not be limited to promotions only
    • Interaction with Techy & Marlon to be replaced with photo-taking related narrative, which translates to starting over from scratch
  • Omitted Waist-Hip-Ratio and detection of bag for gender recognition
    • Kinect does not detect hip, and depth measurement to detect bag interferes with the detection of arm joint

Project Challenges

Balancing Intuitiveness and Technical Competence

Natural User Interface poses a challenge as something intuitive for us is often not easily translated into something that machine can understand. For example, it is natural for us to point at something to indicate that we have chosen the thing, in our case, a door. However, Kinect does not detect finger, hence we need to think of other ways to indicate choice that is not awkward, yet still implementable. We usually come up with a list of possible gestures and intentions, and eliminate them systematically. The same applies for other gestures implemented in AlterSense.

Securing User Testing Site at Plaza Singapura

Project Achievements

Project Management

Project Schedule

Project Metrics

Schedule & Bug Metrics

Gender Recognition Metrics

Technical Complexity

Quality of Product

Project Deliverable





Team Reflection

Individual Reflection



Project AlterSense trained me not only to be well-versed in my development skills, but also soft skills such as logistics and people management. It was evident in our last user testing in Plaza Singapura, where we went through several hurdles such as coordinating with several parties to approve the location for testing (people from the Mall, IT and MarCom Department), to even liaising with technician to prepare power points for our test location. These incidents trained me in areas that couldn’t be taught in an academic setting, equipping me with skills that would be essential in real world setting.

When developing AlterSense’s Kinect Gesture, the thought process behind each gesture was vital in making the user experience enjoyable and fun. Using Kinect challenged us to design and create visual cues for users, to understand what kind of gesture is required for the desired input. Something as simple as choosing a door could be difficult to be understood by a machine. We had to brainstorm, what would be the best method for a user to select a door? Can the user complete an action without any instruction given? Designing a natural user interface for user to interact with was the most challenging part for me. Through our user testing and feedback, I was able to gain more experience and insight in this field and able to put myself in the shoppers’ perspective when developing.

Overall my IS480 journey had been fulfilling, working with CapitaMalls Asia allows me to pick up business acumen that would be valuable for my career in the future. Having an awesome team and friends to share this journey with me, IS480 would definitely be the most memorable project in SMU.


I used to think that schedule planning was more of a perfunctory administrative matter. This project, however, shows me that the project schedule is,in fact, the thing that keeps everyone on the same page. It lets us know where we are, what else are left to do. Iterative methodology allows me to revisit the schedule at the end of iteration, and craft the schedule for upcoming iterations based on our progress in the past iteration. Pivotal Tracker has been a handy tool in determining velocity, which I leverage on as a gauge of how much we can accomplish in iteration.

Many times we were questioned on the feasibility of using Kinect in shopping center, or of using Neural Network instead of regression to determine gender; just because the aforementioned things are not common and put us in a state with very steep learning curve. Equipped with the willingness to learn and an open mind, voila! We have actually come so far! This project instills this realization that I can learn new things and apply them to the context that I want to see them in.

Lastly, I witnessed the pivotal role of business-IT alignment in this project. Balancing narrative flow that provides shopper with satisfying user experience and reasonable features development is an art. We may be tempted to include a feature - just because it is technically reasonable, but have to eventually go back to the drawing board to find alternative way because the initial proposed feature simply does not fit the story line.

All in all, Project AlterSense has provided me with a a glimpse of end-to-end, real world software development. The skills obtained definitely make me feel better equipped to take up other challenging projects in the future.


The IS480 journey has taken my learning beyond the classroom. Meeting a real client and developing a Kinect project was an exciting and rare opportunity to speak with external parties and obtain a realistic perspective to project management. From a project perspective, it is important to be flexible as changes are bound to happen. This project has gone through several rounds of requirement changes over time, and I believe it’s important to keep the development modules independent so new changes can be implemented more readily. Additionally, I have learnt a lot about developing business requirements as my client offered business domain knowledge as well as meeting other stakeholders from various departments within CapitaMall Asia. Meeting these stakeholders offered valuable insights, and understanding their concerns is a very essential element required to develop the business requirements of AlterSense.

In hard skills, I have gained knowledge in Kinect development, Windows Presentation Foundation layer and various methods to process data streams. In addition, I am more familiar with front-end development as controlling the user interface elements and adjusting them to fit the storyboard proved to be a delicate affair that required vast amounts of testing and careful sequencing of methods. On top of getting things to work, a front-end developer has to place more emphasis in aesthetics, sequence and overall layout.

AlterSense is definitely one of most challenging projects that I will remember. Coming to the end of this project, I am personally satisfied with the outcome. Having everything pieced together to form a working solution that fits CMA’s goals is a fulfilling task. I gained a lot from this project, and believe that these experiences would be useful in my future endeavors.

I feel grateful for the opportunity to experience this IS480 journey with my fellow team members. At a project level, I learnt a lot about managing the expectations of multiple stakeholders. I felt that it was a rewarding experience because it pushed the boundaries of what our team could achieve, given the time constraints and technological complexities. I also learnt how to appreciate the process of exploring into unknown territory, without having any prior knowledge about a subject matter. At a personal level, I learnt a lot about risk management through juggling multiple projects and prioritising to-do items. Moving forward, I hope to pass on this experience to fellow SMU SIS students who will be embarking on their IS480 journey in the future.