The students in the picture are using computers to program arduino boards. Arduino boards are able to read inputs (light on a sensor, a finger on a button, or sound on a microphone) and turn them into an outputs (activating a motor, turning on an LED, or making a speaker beep.)
In the background on the right is Jim Kurose. Jim is a Computer Science Prof at UMass who is currently the Assistant Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) for the Computer and Information Science and Engineering.
Many thanks to those who were involved including but not limited to: Norm Price, Jennifer Welborn, Nat Woodruff, Ned Young, Kerry Shaw, Renee Fall, Deanna Roux, Michael Morris, Sarah Dunton, Rick Adrion, Kathryn Runyan, Liz Breen and Patty Bode.