BUILD PODER Student Wins First Place at CSUN AI Jam

May 15, 2018

BP Student Christina Melanie Saez (right) shows an audience member Klab's work in action. The AI robot mimics a child with a behavioral or learning challenge, to better teach and train students how to work with real children who may experience similar reactions. Photo by Patricia Carrillo.


The winners of California State University, Northridge’s first-ever artificial intelligence (AI) student venture competition — dubbed AI-Jam — were chosen in April at an event that took place at CSUN’s Jack and Florence Ferman Presentation Room in the Delmar T. Oviatt Library.

Each team participated in a showcase and were scored on their project’s use of artificial intelligence, or “AI-ness,” feasibility and quality.

The AI-Jam competition, created by CSUN’s Department of Information Technology, included two tracks: research and innovation.

KLab’s Butterflies, an artificial intelligence project that uses a robot to mimic a child with a behavioral or learning challenge, was awarded first place in the research track. The goal of KLab’s Butterflies is to more effectively train students on how to work with children who express similar reactions as the robot.

The KLab’s Butterflies team is made up of CSUN students Vahe Esmaeili, Ryan Moradpour, Victory Ramirez and Christina Saez. After winning AI-Jam, Saez said that the group plans “on utilizing artificial intelligence to create realistic simulations for practical, individualized training.”

Anyone interested in joining or collaborating with KLab’s Butterflies can visit their website,

AI-Adventurers won second place in research at the inaugural AI-Jam competition. The team’s project takes an approach to healthy eating using AI and image recognition to aid in portion control.

Third place in the research track went to Helia Nutrition and Health. The project aims to increase the accuracy of individual food logs by using AI and image recognition to track an individual’s daily food intake.

The innovation track had nine participating teams, including Agora, Fetch Bot, AI-Amigos, Deaf Connect and AI-Caramba.

The first-place winners in the innovation track were AI-Amigos, whose project goal was to help students excel in their careers by using a chatbot on Facebook to ask the CSUN Career Center questions that students have about the center’s services.

CSUN students and Career Center student assistants Diego Cobian, Marilyn Hightower, Natalia Moscoso, Lorena Roque and Jemma Tiongson joined forces to make up AI-Amigos. They said that winning first place was a surprise and an honor.

We were super excited and happy, of course!” Tiongson said. “We’re glad we all work at a place like the Career Center, where we are supervised by Ana Penaranda. She really pushes us to achieve new personal heights in technology.”

Second and third place in innovation went to Deaf Connect and AI-Caramba, respectively. Deaf Connect is a project that uses machine learning, natural language processing and artificial intelligence to help the Deaf community access more resources, such as speech-to-text translation.

AI-Caramba uses natural language processing to recognize voice commands through Alexa by Amazon, to help students find information about the Career Center in a more intuitive and friendly manner.

For more information on AI-Jam, please visit

This story was written by Natalie L. Camacho and produced by CSUN Today.