On May 3, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., innovation will take
over the RIT campus. Thanks to the Innovation Festival’s
major sponsor, Paetec, left and right brain thinkers will
gather for RIT’s first (and soon to be annual) Imagine RIT
festival, to kick off the month of May.
“The idea is to take the lid off of RIT,” said Bob Finnerty, Chief Communications
Officer of the Institute. Students, alumni, and the general public will gather to
see all of what is going on here on campus. Projects from GCCIS to CIAS will
transform the RIT campus to a playground of innovation. There will be robots
to control, poster sessions to participate in, and performances to watch. With
the Spring Fest happening the same day, there will also be a carnival to enjoy.
“It’s just a great way to show off RIT in one day,” said Finnerty.
The Quarter Mile will be lined with exhibits guiding people to other regions
on campus where organizations and colleges will open people’s eyes to what
RIT has to offer. “It’s the full brain experience of RIT,” said Barry Culhane,
Ombudsman and Chair of the Imagine RIT planning committee. “Our goal is
that this campus will come alive in ways that no one has ever seen before.”
Here are a few things to expect:
It’s All About the Environment, Baby
Composting At RIT
Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) has been working with Dining Services
in its effort to become more eco-friendly. One of the main projects it is
involved in is the RITz’s composting project. “They [are switching] from plastic
single-use throw-away containers to compostable plastics, or at least
biodegradable plastic and paper products that
can be composted or recycled,” said James Cezo,
Moreover, ESW has been trying to enlist Freshwise
Farms in Penfield to collect the compost
from the new containers for their farms and
facilities. One reason behind the choice of company
is that they are a part of the Rochester
Foodlink. “The food link is an organization that
tries to provide portable, locally grown food for
lower-income families in urban areas in Rochester,”
For the Innovation Festival, ESW will be setting
up a presentation that will show the steps that
take place during composting. “We are going
to have a see-through box to show the various
stages. [It will show] the progression from paper
products, apple cores and egg shells, all the way
to nutritious top soil.” A timescale and informational
poster will also accompany it.
“Composting at RIT” will be located outside the SAU.
Residential Energy Savings
Three mechanical engineering majors, two industrial
engineering majors, and a computer
engineering major were grouped together for
a required senior design project. Respectively,
they were: Robert Underhill, Bill Jamieson,
Aaron Resetarits, Kristopher Laera, Swathi Paruchur, and Jeremy Barczak. Six months later,
they have nearly completed their project, called
“The Residential Energy Saving Project.”
According to Resetarits, “One of the goals of
the project was to conduct an energy audit of
the residential side of campus...and come up
with some capital improvements that could be
implemented to save RIT money or save energy.”
In order to achieve that, they conducted surveys
and tested whether their theories of hallway
timers and fluorescent bulb swaps were
effective in lowering energy consumption.
Inspired by a similar project at Oberlin College,
they even built a website to determine how
much energy an assigned power grid has been
using. This website will be essential in the next
phase of their project.
“The second part of our project was to do an
energy saving competition between a bunch
of the dorms. It’s our way of trying to get the
students involved and get support for cutting
down energy use on campus.” Resetarits said.
“Students [will go] to the website and monitor
their energy usage for a given time.” The rules
of the competition state that whichever group
can lower their base line consumption by the
biggest percentage will win a pizza party.
The group will be presenting the results of their
study at the Innovation Festival. They will also
be displaying the progress of their competition
which kicked off last April 21st and will continue
until May 4th.
Robots, and AI. Oh My!
|Andrew Tsai, Rachel Deutschman, J.J. Hill , Simone
Perry, and Lee Rynearson (left to right) photographed
on April 20 around the machine they are building for
RIT’s Innovation and Creativity Festival.
Phi Sigma Pi’s Picture-taker
Inspired by Rube Goldberg’s intricately complex
creations that carry out simple tasks, Phi
Sigma Pi set out to make a machine of their own,
one that would involve the most complicated
way to take a picture. Their goal is to replace the
effort your index finger makes to hit the shutter
button. “Basically, the whole machine will act as
a delay switch,” said Andrew Tsai, president of
the fraternity and fourth year Mechanical Engineering
A ball bearing placed on a ramp will initiate the
process as it journeys through loop-de-loops,
twists, and turns. The machine will be encased
within Plexiglass walls for audience viewing.
At the end of the bearing’s trip, it will trigger
a switch that will snap a picture. “We’re still
building it now,” stated Tsai, “we want it to work
consistently. That’s the tough part. Setting it up
to work just once is easy, but repetitively is going
to be difficult.”
With majors ranging from mechanical engineering
to film and animation, the Honors fraternity
saw this as a good way of unifying everyone for
a central project. “We [mechanical engineers]
have access to the machine shop, so we can do
all the fabrication,” explained Tsai, “but we let
the art majors make it look better.”
Check out their machine at the WOW Center.
The Amateur Radio Club’s Blimp
Dave Snyder and Dave Nilosek, both third year
Imaging Science majors, will be displaying the
very same blimp seen circling the airways during
hockey games. The difference is that it will
be flying itself for the first time in its history.
“For Imagine RIT, we saw that we could take the
existing blimp and do something cool with it,”
Snyder, Nilosek, and a few other Amateur Radio
Club members upgraded the blimp by replacing
a leaking bladder in order to keep the blimp
afloat, rebuilding the gondola that hangs from
the bottom of the blimp, and adding a camera
for live “blimp’s-eye-view” video feeds. In addition,
the team added a microcontroller based
on line tracking and sonar / lidar systems which
allowed the blimp to know its own location.
“The goal of the project would be to have the
right electronics to be able to find its position
and then follow a given path,” stated Snyder.
According to Snyder and Nilosek, this is not
just an opportunity to show off their team’s
work. “We’re going to have an exhibit explaining
how the blimp works,” explained Nilosek.
“People can get a sense of how you can fly a machine
with a microcontroller.”
Look for “a large floating object” at the back of the
Josh Allmann, a fourth year Computer Science
major at NTID, will be displaying his poem-generating
program which he originally created for
his girlfriend two years ago.
In his program, Allmann employed an algorithm
using a Markov chaining technique similar to
that used in Google searches, to take words and
phrases from existing poems and recreate new
ones. With a little bit of luck, a beautiful poem
will be produced to either impress the ladies,
or hand in as a last minute assignment for a creative
Although this way of looking at algorithms
was very innovative and unique two years ago,
it’s losing its luster for Allmann and he is
currently looking at new approaches for
“Heroine,” the Robot
Michael Dumont, fourth year Computer Science
major, and his friends at the Computer Science
House (CSH) will be showcasing their soda-fetching
robot, “Heroine.” This year, the robot
was reprogrammed to retrieve drinks for the
members of CSH from the vending machines
that were installed on their floor and deliver
the drinks to the desired dorm room.
“The navigation system is st ill in development,
but even if we had it fully working, trying
to adapt it to such a different environment
[such as the Gordon Field House] with such a
different system would be tricky,” said Dumont.
“So at this point, it looks like we’re going to have
the robot set up with remote controls.”
Along with “Heroine,” CSH is presenting five
other projects at the fair including a multitouch
table, which is essentially a computer on
a tabletop with a touch screen similar to that
of an iPhone.
Come check CSH’s “just over the horizon” projects at
the WOW Center.
Have you ever wasted time at the supermarket
only to forget the carton of milk you originally
set out to buy? Fifth year Computer Science major,
Valentinos Georgiades and his team have
got you covered.
Together, they developed a Java-based software
called Interactive Marketing One (IM1). A step
toward personalized marketing, it will keep
track of the products you use on a regular basis
and will offer suggestions to the consumer
based on their preferences and demographics.
It will also let them know when they are
running out of a certain product back at home.
Prescriptions? No problem, this software will
have it ready and waiting for you at the store.
“We’re hoping that it will help make the
customer ’s life easier,” said Georgiades.
“When we first heard about the Innovation Festival,
we saw it as a great way to present it and also
put a deadline to our project.”
You can test this new software with a simulated shopping
experience at the Golisano College of Computing
and Information Sciences (Building 70).
3D and Virtual Reality
of Business in 3D
“I see the future of the internet as being 3-D,
not a flat 2-D,” said Matthew Anthony, a fourth
year Management Information Systems major,
as he spoke about his project for the fair. “In my
mind, I am bringing the Saunders College into
the future of the internet.”
Anthony’s project is a virtual representation of
the Lowenthal building (also known as building
12) called “Virtual Saunders.” It will contain
interactive classrooms, projection screens,
and everything else you need in order to run a
school in your “Second Life.” It is the beginning
of what could be a future 3-D MyCourses.
Other than finding land in Second Life to create
this building, the challenge of accurate construction
arises. “What I’m doing is taking a lot
of source photos of every angle of the building,
inside, outside, everything,” stated Anthony.
The photos will serve as a guideline to Anthony
as he designs the virtual representation. Anthony
stated that, “It gets into the computer science
area when it comes to things like scripting a
jpeg to be projected on the projection screens.”
Having worked with Second Life for four years
and even participating in a co-op that developed
it, Anthony saw it as a way for the Saunders College
of Business to expand their involvement in
the internet-based world. “The College of Business
taught a course in Second Life last quarter,
but there’s an issue of finding somewhere to do
it,” Anthony said. “So I think doing this will help
the college move forward technologically.”
Anthony’s “Virtual Saunders” will be located in front
of the real Saunders Building for the fair.,
Bischof’s Black Hole
Professor Hans-Peter Bischof and his team have
been working on simulating black hole collisions
following Einstein’s theory of relativity.
By entering information into a powerful supercomputer
containing 85 interconnected nodes,
each with its own dual processor, the team
was able to collect the complex data produced
by simulated black hole collisions. Using this
data, they can then create a way of displaying it.
“Our goal is to show the science which we do,
but to show it in a way in which you can understand
it,” stated Bischof. In other words, he
wanted to make a visual representation so that
those who are not physics geniuses can grasp
Why should we care? Around the world,
experiments are being done in order to observe
and obtain evidence for gravity waves that are
predicted to be produced when these black hole
collisions occur. However, their existence has
yet to be proven because scientists do not know
what a gravity wave looks like. Bischof’s team
is trying to simulate black hole collisions in a
controlled setting so that the team will be able
to collect the data and give scientists a blueprint
of what they are actually looking for.
For the exhibit itself, there will be interactive
videos and the team will be present to talk
about what they do and answer any questions.
“You have to wonder for whom this is for,”
stated Bischof. “If an astrophysicist shows up
from U of R, that’s a different level of communication
than if a ten year old kid shows up, and I
think that we are in the situation to say that we
can make both happy.”
Bischof’s black hole will be displayed at the
Student Run Businesses
|Glenn Kitchell works on Pixelated Magazine.
About five years ago in his freshman year,
Glenn Kitchell, now a fifth year Computer Engineering major, banded together with six
of his good friends to create something new
and exciting. Calling themselves “EB Dojo,”
they first created a webcomic titled “Edge of
December” that followed three characters who
dreamt of creating a dojo to teach people how
to be strong and stand up for all the good things
in the world.
“Edge of December” serves as the center for
EB Dojo’s Pixelated Magazine. “[It was] created
for aspiring artists and aspiring writers...It’s a grassroots kind of project where we’re going
to print up different comics, short stories,
essays, poetry and other things that people
write. It will be there for anyone who wants to
get into it,” Kitchell described.
However, Pixelated Magazine will not be just
any old publication. “We’re going to print up
what we call ‘way point exchange numbers...’
and people will be able to type in the number
[into Google maps], put in their city and state,
and hand it to one of their friends [to do the
same]. [That way] you can track the magazine
as it travels across the country,” said Kitchell.
In addition, there will be a section where readers
can input their own dialogue into a scene
from the comic. “We totally just cut out little
blurbs and think, ‘Okay, how can we make this
scene completely goofy?’” Kitchell said.
EB Dojo will be located at the Clark Gym and will
be selling hardcover and paperback copies of
The RIT music program has changed immensely
over the years and the Innovation Festival is
the best place to show off how far it has come.
“The program will be very well represented
with lots of different styles and lots of different
things” said Carl Atkins, Director of the RIT Music
Program. Most of the groups and ensembles
will be performing at different times in different
locations. The Jazz Ensemble, directed by
Jonathan Kruger, will be performing on an outdoor
stage in the Infinity Quad. The RIT Singers
will be performing at the Allen Chapel under
the supervision of Ed Schell. The f lute choir
will be playing in the College of Liberal Arts
faculty commons. Finally, the RIT Orchestra,
conducted by Michael Ruhling, and Atkin’s
very own World Music ensemble will also
“In most cases, because of the volume of activities
going on, [there will be only] one performance
for each group to play.” Atkins explained.
Most performances will only last about 30 minutes;
however, the World Music ensemble, who
had already scheduled a regular concert for May
3rd, will be having a two-hour long show at the
|Three members of the RIT Pep Band (left to right) Steven
McDermott, Elizabeth Phillips, and Spencer Herendeen.
The RIT Pep Band will be performing at the Innovation
and Creativity Festival on Saturday, May 3.
In addition, the RIT Orchestra, whose performance
will also be extended to an hour,
will be using their performance as a preview for
their spring concert occurring the very next day.
They will be doing a demonstration of a contemporary
piece based around mathematical
principles. “It fits well with RIT,” Atkins joked.
“Michael Ruhling will play some excerpts
[and explain] how it was put together.”
“BrainWreck is a comedic improv-performance
group that creates its acts entirely from
audience suggestions,” described Jason Eberle,
a second year New Media Interactive Development
major and president of the organization.
The club is also one of a handful of organizations
given recognition after a change of regulations
in Student Government last winter quarter.
For those of you who have ever been to an
improv show, you understand how difficult it
is to predict what to expect. “The shows are
packed with fast comedy action and material
is made up on the spot, so no two shows are
ever the same,” Eberle explained. However,
there will some structure for their Innovation
Festival performance. “We will be presenting a
brief history of the club, [and] then holding a
Q&A session about our group. We will end the
show with a few of our favorite improv games,”
BrainWreck will be performing in the GCCIS Auditorium
from 11 a.m. to noon. They will have another
performance titled “BrainWreck Improv: Swimsuit
Edition” on Saturday, May 10, from 5:30 p.m. to 7
p.m. All shows are free.
Fluids Are Fun
James Cezo, a fifth year Mechanical Engineering
major, attempts to reinvent the scientific norm
with his project, “Fluids are Fun.”
“It’s an interactive demonstration of the different
cool and unique properties of fluids,”
Cezo described. The exhibit will contain two
projects: a poor man’s attempt at pyrotechnics
(also known as a Ruben’s tube) and a giant vat
of faux quicksand for participants to run across
or sink in. Cezo, who had come across the ideas
while doing demos for elementary schools with
his professor, believed, “[These were] the two
that I thought would be really cool to recreate.”
For those who have never encountered a Ruben’s
tube, it is best described as a “large tube filled
with propane [that has] a bunch of holes drilled
at the top.” The steady flow of propane comes in
from one end of the tube and creates a constant
standing flame. The other end will be hooked
up to a speaker. “You can create waves in the
flame, so it’s a really good visual representation
of sound,” Cezo said.
Unfortunately, Public Safety was not too keen on
the idea of an open flame in an enclosed space.
“I had to talk to Risk Management and have them
okay it...You can’t see a propane flame outside
during a sunny day. It needs to be inside.
I’ve only ever done it inside,” Cezo argued. Eventually,
the project was approved. Now, there’s
only one real problem left: “I need to find a place
that sells 50 pound bags of cornstarch.”
“Fluids are Fun” will be in the Kate Gleason College of
The Wallace Library will be a great source of entertainment,
learning, and fun for all ages. Chris
Lerch, Manager of Technological Services of RIT
Libraries, stated “The Imagine RIT Committee
used our annual Open House as an example of
the types of things they wanted to do, so we
knew we should have a strong involvement.”
On display throughout the library will be exhibits
ranging from demonstrations of Coptic
binding to the creation edible books for the kiddies.
“We wanted to pick things that would hold
people’s attention,” said Lerch, “ not keep them
for extended periods of time, since there will be
so much to see and do.”
Along with the interactive activities, there will
be a display titled “Libraries of the Future.” The
exhibit will not only present how experts believe
libraries will evolve, but also ask the public
for their own input via a wiki page.
The New and Improved NTID
“For years, ASL interpreting education was analog
bound. Now, everyone will be using digital
and computer technology in the Academy,”
stated Richard Smith, Academic Support Coordinator
for American Sign Language and Interpreting
Education. These advancements incorporate
a file transferring system, marking the first of
its kind in Interpreter Training Programs.
Also being added are two robotic cameras which
will record mock teaching scenarios and presentations
for possible student practice and future
exams. Students can now access course material
anytime and anywhere they want. “This is a
huge step for us into the digital age,” said Smith.
“It matches with our student population who are
used to working in a digital world.”
Smith will be around for the day of the fair to
show people around the facilities and demonstrate
the new advancements in the ASL and