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Round Up

The week before EXPO, SCOPE Summit and Commencement is a busy one at Olin with a full roster of academic events open to the community. Just about every class on every floor of the Academic Center had some sort of year-end presentation. Here is a peek at just some of the work Olin students unveiled during these busy five days.

On Monday in QEA, students conducted either a live demo or played a video of their Neato robots navigating an obstacle course. Several teams chose the video route complete with thematic music and high production values. Other student teams attempted a daring live demo with their Neato robot navigating an obstacle course. The students programmed the robots to move and turn as part of their final spring term assignments. As the Neatos moved around the various obstacles, at times successfully and at others, not so successfully, cheers and groans went up through the classroom. After some fits and starts, Kyle Emmi’s robot managed to navigate a rare three-peat to the delight of the crowd, which includes turning around the “Bridge of Death,” moving up onto the “Mount Doom” ramp and finally finishing up on the obstacle course.

On Tuesday, Affordable Design and Entrepreneurship (ADE) hosted its last class of the year in front of a full room, but this was no ordinary poster show. The assembled groups were divided into teams and engaged in a kick-off activity. The slides showed two families of four, one from Chad and one from North Carolina and the teams were asked to figure out how much it cost each family to feed itself for a week. The difference turned out to be staggering, coming in at $1.23 versus $341.98.

The students then gave presentations on the projects they worked on throughout the year including: investigating air quality in Boston’s Chinatown, food processing solutions in developing countries and a portable warmer for infants among other ideas. 

On Wednesday, students in mechanical prototyping presented their work to a team of alumni judges.  The randomly-assigned teams had to incorporate a variety of mechanical and artistic features into a final moveable sculpture. Awards were given in such categories as: “Weirdest Sculpture Olin Has Ever Built” and “Highest Energy” and “Most Beautiful.” The sculptures all had a space theme. In the end, Tereshkova-1 earned the award for best sculpture. The alumni judges were from Jet Propulsion and had been offered a grant to mentor a robotics class.

During the Computer Networks final presentations students discussed the findings of their research-based projects, which, not surprisingly, focused on networks. The students, ranging from sophomores to seniors, investigated how transmission control protocols (TCP) work, how computer users really establish connections on their devices and one student looked at automata, a network of cells.

The following day in Nonlinear Science, students presented the results of a project that focused on the design, build and measurement of a system. First up, a team showed a timelapse of a study on the dendrite formation resulting from sending various voltages of an electric charge to a copper crystal.

In Amon Millner’s Designing Resources for Empowering in Making (DREAM) students presented their final team projects. One team developed Snapchat filters to honor underrepresented figures of history; another team worked on a thumb piano that students could replicate; one group used visual reality to help atypical learners learn a language more easily; another team created a game to teach basic concepts of electricity through a marble run. Zach Davenport showed off his personal project---Buzzbots. These little critters are fun to snap together, with the legs and bodies joined together with a small lithium battery that allows the bots to buzz around a table. The insect-like creatures were shown at MIT X week. Davenport fabricated the bodies on a 3D printer and he will continue to refine the design in the months ahead. 

On Thursday, Hacking the Library presented final projects. Listed under "Special Topics in Computing," this course focused on designing, developing and deploying new technologies that will impact the Olin community and the Olin Library specifically. 

Two students presented an Infinity board, which they described as a collaborative white board. 

Another set of students demonstrated a "Baby Harvester, which is a scaled-down electronic mini version of the Idea Harvester pads used to capture ideas in the Olin Library.