Technology and Design Keep Holiday Tradition Alive-Even at a Distance – USC Viterbi | School of Engineering

Lauren Klein and Ryan Dubin demonstrate the technology for Ryan’s grandparents/Image courtesy of Lauren Klein

For the past three years since she started her PhD in computer science at Viterbi, Lauren Klein has celebrated Hanukkah in Los Angeles with her family friend, Iovine Young Academy first-year student Ryan Dubin along with his grandparents.

In this annual Jewish Festival of Lights, those who celebrate will gather together to light the menorah candles in a specific order.

But this year with COVID-19, the family didn’t want to take the risk of huddling together. Yelling across the yard however at 15 feet had its own challenges. Masks would obscure their words and invitation to light the menorah and the specific candle in sync simultaneously. But the robotics student didn’t want to forgo the tradition and instead decided to bring technology to bear on the occasion.

Klein, who works in Maja Matarić’s Interaction Lab, remembered…

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