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RIT's 19th Undergraduate Research and Innovation Symposium
RIT hosted their 19th annual Undergraduate Research and Innovation Symposium on Friday, August 13, showcasing over 100 undergraduate research projects across (and between) all of RIT’s disciplines. I figured it was well worth waking up early on a Friday for the promise of a free lunch and an opportunity to test my arrive-by-8am bus routing to RIT, but the quality of the research and presentations certainly surpassed my expectations.
With so many presentations, the sessions were split across five tracks, with a ten-minute time limit per presentation. Fortunately, they were grouped logically: I could avoid the ones that would go over my head, saving me from falling asleep.
My morning tracks were focused on the humanistic applications of technology, with presentations focusing on urban gardening, data visualization, improved power wheelchairs and cookstoves, and a plot to turn shipping containers into disaster housing.
Over lunch, RIT alum Jennifer Indovina, CEO and co-founder of Tenrehte Technologies, Inc., presented a buoyant keynote address recounting her startup’s experience creating the PICOwatt smart plug device. Tenrehte’s journey (that’s “ethernet,” backwards) from nascent idea to underdog winner of 2010 CES Best of Show ("green” category) was sudden and unexpected: when your CES contingent consists of two people and you’re going up against Google and Microsoft, you don’t expect to bring home the hardware. But they did. Jennifer attributes it to the PICOwatt being a real product designed to directly improve people’s lives, rather than just being a vigorous marketing plan.
The afternoon sessions included an awesome video by Qian Yi Lau Li, documenting the power wheelchair project presented previously, along with a dirigible-based wind turbine system. A pair of projects highlighted the challenges of developing applications for the OLPC XO laptop platform. The final session of the afternoon featured instructional interactivity through the digital immersive cube, bringing better techniques to interactive physics experiments, and a MEMS thermally-actuated switch.
After the break, a list of the presentations.
Presentation Session #1
Linking Urban Gardening, Youth Development, and Participatory Action Research - Carla Tarlowski
- Enabling youth as leaders and strengthening a community through gardening, in cooperation with the Summer of Opportunity Program
An Online Community for Sustainable Homeowners - Eliza Hammer & Eric Irish
- Creating an open source framework and community for analyzing and aggregating sensor data from energy efficient homes
Facebook Sustainability - Richard Senft
- Visualizing the effects of energy consumption and generation through a Facebook-based game
Using Web Technologies to Visualize and Promote Innovation and Sustainability - Eric Irish
Presentation Session #2
Novel, Ergonomic, Power Wheelchair - Devin Hamilton & Elizabet Kiefer
- Solving many of the problems in maneuverability and usability of powered wheelchairs
Fallengine - Andrew Couvertier
- Prototyping a simple and effective fish and sediment bypass for dams
Testing and Optimization of an Improved Cook Stove for the Developing World - Brianna Stephenson-Vallot
- Designing a more efficient, safe, locally-manufacturable and extensible cook stove for developing areas
Container Housing: A design study on disaster relief housing - Corey Mack
- Converting our mountains of shipping containers into portable, mass-produced emergency housing
Presentation Session #3
Layout of Wind Farms Based on Wave Effect - Abbey Burns
- Finding a simpler, faster model for simulating wind farm and turbine characteristics to minimize wake effect velocity loss
Project P.A.T.: Portable Alternative Turbines - Dana Kjoiner, Sean Sparrow, Israel Powell
- Exploring a low-cost, lightweight, and portable dirigible-based tethered power generator
Multimedia Story Telling and Reporting - Qian Yi Lau Li
- The challenges documenting the challenges faced by the RIT CSI summer innovation program
Immigration and Crime in Rochester NY - Jazzlyn Ivery-Robinson
- The effects of urban/suburban school inter-district transfer programs on student education and school crime
Presentation Session #4
Understanding What Drives Print Consumers to Make Greener Print Choices - Kaitlyn Werner
- Exploring how print providers can better influence behaviors when people print documents
The Environmental and Economic Tradeoffs of End of Life Processes for Printer Cartridges - Sean Bourke
- Analyzing the most cost-effective end-of-life routes for empty ink and toner cartridges
Open Video Chat: Open Source Development on a Constrained Platform - Fran Rogers, Taylor Rose
Game Engine to Simplify Pygame Development on a Constrained Platform - Justin Lewis, Kevin Hockey, JT Mengel, Dave Silverman
- Building a framework to improve code quality and performance with rapid game development on the XO platform
Presentation Session #5
History Education in the Digital Immersive Cube - Nicolas Sawicky
- Adapting the “Scube” portable science immersion system for historical immersion
Enhancing Science Interest through Interactive Experiments - Raphael Varnado
- Creating interactive experiments for science instruction, including a home-sized Foucault Pendulum using a baseball and a string
Physical Experiments for the Dynamics Classroom - Samuel Fisher
- Design and construction of an instrumented pendulum and piston for classroom/lab use
MEMS Multi-Actuated Bridge Switches - David Cabrera
- An analog on/off switch activated by a thermal process, latched on by an electrostatic force
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