Robots, AR and cyber-everything at NYU Tandon’s Downtown Brooklyn showcase
Last week Juno, a happy-go-lucky cocker spaniel-terrier mix, met his first robot dog in Downtown Brooklyn — and you didn’t need to be a dog whisperer to know what Juno was thinking.
“What the heck is this barkin’ thing!?” was the rough translation.
This “thing” was Robodog, and it was one of dozens of technological projects on display to the public at NYU Tandon School of Engineering’s outdoor Research Excellence Exhibit in Brooklyn Commons (formerly known as MetroTech) on Friday, April 28.
The event was a tech enthusiast’s paradise: cutting-edge projects included a lunar excavator, a mountain bike for disabled riders, virtual reality construction tools and a variety of cybersecurity, manufacturing, STEM education and social tech devices. (One student used AI to devise a standup comic routine.)
Dean Jelena Kovacevic stressed the collaborative nature of the research on display at the expo. “We don’t just say it, we actually do it,” she said.
Chandrika Tandon, chair of the NYU Tandon board, said the school was getting better every day. “I want to send you all out into the world to do incredible things,” she told the students.
Outgoing NYU President Andrew Hamilton told students that their projects were “not just engineering at the cutting edge, but will affect the world in truly positive ways.
This sentiment was echoed by Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon. “All these projects are centered on improving the human condition,” she said, adding that the students are “great at explaining and so enthusiastic. It gives you hope for the future.”
Robots all over the place
Multiple robots demonstrated a variety of tasks out on the Commons, including interfacing with humans via augmented reality, finding damaging moisture trapped in buildings and showing off battle skills.
The purpose of RoboDog, a creation of NYU’s biLAB (Building Informatics and Visualization Lab), is not actually to confuse flesh and blood canines, but to keep all the pieces moving at modular construction facilities, said Ph.D. student Keundeok Park. Park was operating RoboDog with the assistance of Ph.D. student Beyza Kiper.
RoboDog can monitor the progress of the facility’s work, keep alert for safety issues, and can tell workers the next step, Park said.
NYU Tandon’s Robotic Design Team demonstrated AMIGO, an autonomously operated mining system capable of excavating icy “regolith simulant,” the equivalent of the moon’s covering of dust, soil and loose rocks. An excavator like this could help future inhabitants of the moon gather water and minerals necessary for habitation and manufacturing on the moon, students said.
Numerous devices were showcased that help disabled people navigate or travel around, including an adaptive mountain bike; an electronic belt that alerts people with blindness or low vision about obstacles; an augmented reality navigation system; and wearable tech that uses vibrations from the wearer’s muscles to control robotic devices.
And the winners are:
NYU Tandon faculty and students competed for best-in-show honors while demonstrating the most innovative projects in seven areas of excellence: Health, Sustainability, Urban, Emerging Media, Wireless, Cybersecurity, and Data Science/AI/Robotics.
- First prize: Physiological Signal Processing for Mental Well-Being. (Areas of Excellence – Health)
- Second Prize: Reforming the Organics Collection Program in New York City — Department of Sanitation. (Emerging Media)
- Third Prize: HydroGEN: An in situ gelling therapeutic hydrogel to prevent and treat osteoarthritis after traumatic joint injury. (Health)
VIP Winners (research from NYU Tandon’s VIP teams)
- First prize: Urban Microclimate: People, Space, Time: Quantitatively assess human exposure to the urban microclimate at NYU’s Tandon Metrotech campus and consider its impact.
- Second prize: AMIGO: Autonomous Machine In Galactic Operations – Tandon’s Homemade Lunar Excavation Rover: The New York University Robotic Design Team.
- Third prize: VIP M Biodevices: 3D Printed Wheelchair Arm Mobility Device: An assistive device for patients with Muscular dystrophy and similar disabilities.
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