Free Speech Technology: Secure Smartphone Communication App

Free Speech Technology: Secure Smartphone Communication App


This VIP team is creating a chat/messenger app that let’s users communicate, even without WiFi or cellular service. It keeps working and preserves privacy even if the infrastructure is blocked, censored, or monitored. It is meant to protect free speech by normal people everywhere in the world.

Aside from implementing security and connectivity, this team is also designing an intuitive and fun user experience that is informed by continual interviewing of potential end users. Students on this team thus gain experience not only in advanced programming, but also in product development and user interface (UI) design, all performed in a startup-like environment.

More Information: 2017-Free-Speech

Students who successfully match to this faculty research team will be required to sign the following document in January 2017:

Student IP Agreement for Faculty Research Teams

How to Apply

Project Features

  • Skill level All levels
  • Students 8-21
  • Likely Majors Any, A&D, CS, ENG, SI
  • Course Substitutions Not Applicable
  • IP & NDA Required? Yes
  • Summer Opportunity Summer Funding Application
  • Development Subteam: UI Design (2 Students)

    • Likely Majors: CSE/CS-LSA, Information (SI)
  • Development Subteam: iOS Development (4 Students)

    • Likely Majors: CSE/CS-LSA, Information (SI)
  • Development Subteam: Android Development (4 Students)

    • Likely Majors: CSE/CS-LSA, Information (SI)
  • Development Subteam: Security Auditing (2 Students)

    Specific Tasks: determine security strengths/weaknesses of communication protocols and system-level application design decisions

    • Likely Majors: CSE/CS-LSA, Information (SI)
  • Marketing Subteam: End User Interaction (3 Students)

    Specific Tasks: find and interview potential end users (market research), collect and analyze feedback on app design decisions/product features

    • Likely Majors: ANY
  • Marketing Subteam: Written Media Design (1 Student)

    Specific Tasks: prepare documentation for end users (both in-app and online), prepare text for marketing materials

    • Likely Majors: ENG, A&D, Information (SI)
  • Marketing Subteam: Graphical Design (2 Students)

    Specific Tasks: rendering graphical content relevant to app and marketing: web/mobile sites, print/electronic documents

    • Likely Majors: A&D, Information (SI)
  • Apprentice Researcher (3 Students)

    Requirements: interest in project material, willingness to develop skills. OPEN TO FRESHMEN AND SOPHOMORES ONLY.

    • Likely Majors: ANY

Faculty Sponsor: Robert Dick2017 Stryker projects
Associate Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Robert Dick received his Ph.D. degree from Princeton University and his B.S. degree from Clarkson University. He was previously an Associate Professor at Northwestern University. He worked as a Visiting Professor at Tsinghua University’s Department of Electronic Engineering and as a Visiting Researcher at NEC Labs America. Robert received an NSF CAREER award and won his department’s Best Teacher of the Year award in 2004. His technology won a Computerworld Horizon Award in 2007. He served as a technical program subcommittee chair for the International Conference on Hardware/Software Codesign and System Synthesis. He is an Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on VLSI Systems and serves on the technical program committees of several embedded systems and CAD/VLSI conferences including CODES-ISSS, ICCAD, DATE, ASP-DAC, and GLSVLSI. Robert has published in the areas of embedded system synthesis, embedded operating systems, dynamic power management, low-power and temperature-aware integrated circuit design, data compression, reliability, behavioral synthesis, and mobile ad-hoc network protocols.

Additional information available at: