Student Fair Booms with Invention, from Multimedia to Robots
By Lissa Harris
again, the hallways of Upson Hall resounded with the whir of robotic wheels,
the pulse of digital music and the buzz of excited voices.
BOOM 2002, Cornell's
sixth annual student exhibition of digital technology and applications on
Wednesday, March 6, was even bigger than last year's event, with 52 projects
on display, ranging from soccer-playing robots to electronic body-scanning,
taking up three floors of Upson.
BOOM, which stands
for "Bits on Our Minds", is a fair hosted by the Department of Computer
Science and the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, but which involves
students from across campus displaying their projects. Every year, months
of planning and hard work culminate in this showcase for Cornell's most innovative
digital technology has truly pervaded every aspect of life was a display by
Adriana Petrova, a graduate student in textiles and apparel. Petrova used
a state-of-the-art body scanner, recently donated to Cornell by alum Rebecca
Quinn Morgan, to analyze the fit of clothing on volunteer research subjects.
Researchers in the Department of Textile and Apparel hope to develop ways
to quantify objectively how well clothing will fit. The body scanner -- originally
developed for medical use -- has stimulated many new research projects in
apparel design at Cornell and brought a powerful new tool to a field that
is just beginning to realize the potential of digital technology. Susan Ashdown,
associate professor in textiles and apparel, says that soon consumers will
be able to use their personal body scans to determine, online, what sizes
they should order in different brands of clothing.
Just across the
hall, Pete Ippel '02 exhibited "Sound Thinking", a project fusing
digital technology with performance art. While Ippel spoke animatedly about
art and "telepresence," a digital synthesizer generated music based
on mathematical functions, and a small digital camera mounted on his computer
took images of Ippel and his audience. Both sound and images were streamed
over the web as a spontaneous performance-art music video. A multimedia artist
who is completing a double major in fine art and psychology, Ippel is interested
in the parallels between the way computers process information through binary
code and the way perception arises from neurons firing in the brain. "Training
in psychology really helps inform the digital", he said. "Ones and
zeroes are very similar to action potentials -- they're either on or off".
On another floor,
Joel Chestnutt '02 and graduate student Tom Chi, members of Cornell's Big
Red RoboCup team, displayed a poster on the annual international robot soccer
competition. Also in attendance was one of their small soccer-playing robots,
bearing the scars of battle from last year's competition in which champion
Big Red lost to a team from Singapore.
Undergraduate Irene Chung '04 and biotechnology network administrator Barbara
Dybwad displayed software they have designed that will soon automate the coordination
of Cornell's emergency medical services. If the software is a success at Cornell,
Chung and Dybwad hope to market their creation to other emergency medical
services across the country.
Other projects included a program that models the behavior of investors in
the stock market, and a variety of artificial intelligence projects, computer
games and Internet applications.
the coordinator of BOOM and an administrative assistant in the computer science
department, said she considered this year's exhibition a resounding success.
"I think it shows the best of the best," said Carpenter. "It
shows how great the students are here and how creative they are, which we
sometimes take for granted."
BOOM 2002 was provided by Credit Suisse First Boston and Verizon.