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NEXIS Lab Recap: A Look at Students’ ‘Future’ Projects

The student-run technology lab NEXIS had its end of the semester tech demo to end the school year recently in the ICEBox space at Hinds Hall. The event was labeled ‘Future Wednesday’ (a play off of the name the group usually uses–‘Future Friday’), and showed off the work the students have been dedicating their time to for a majority of the semester. The demos ranged from data visualizations, to a research paper on touchless interfaces, to functional 3D printing. Here is an overview of the students who exhibited, and their projects:

MercuryMercury by Ross Lazerowitz

Mercury is a small triangular sensor that goes into a mailbox and alerts the user when they have mail. The alert comes in the form of push notifications sent to the user’s phone via a wireless Internet connection. The sensor was made using CAD software and then 3D-printed. Inside the housing, Ross had to solder electrical circuits to a circuit board and then write code to get the algorithm working to send the alerts.

LindaChart Toppers by Linda Gorman

This data vis displays various artists paired against each other in various categories, such as the song’s danceability, duration, popularity and other factors. The visualization was made with the goal of looking for trends and correlations between different popular artists, such as Kanye West, One Direction, Taylor Swift, and more. The overall visualization was made by combining Python for gathering the data, R for making the actual charts, and Adobe Illustrator to make the visualization look more aesthetically pleasing.

Stat SandwichStat Sandwich by Billy Ceskavich and Ross Lazerowitz

Stat Sandwich is an interactive website created to compare the prices of Jimmy Johns sandwiches based off geological location. The website is a map of the U.S. with Jimmy Johns locations marked with dots, which a user can click on for information. (That includes individual sandwich prices as well as how expensive or inexpensive the prices of this location are in comparison to the other catalogued locations.) This visualization was made with JavaScript and a D3 visualization library, as well as Python for some of the data processing.

Spark StationSpark Station by Josh Aviv

Spark Station is a one-of-a-kind charging station for electrical vehicles. The station consists of a 3D-printed car-charging unit and a soldered circuit board on the inside of the plastic housing. What makes Spark Station special is that instead of having to buy a whole new station if something within the housing fails, it has easily replaceable (and cheap) parts that can easily be swapped out in case of damage or part failure. The charging station is even capable of upgrading or downgrading the amperage so you can better suit it to your individual car or household.

TouchlessIs There Value In Touchless Technology? (research project) by Jay Getman and Alex Krapf

This duo has created both a research paper and a research project that they want everyone to answer–is there value in touchless technology? This question was spawned when the duo first set out last semester to try to find out how people would interact with touchless technology. They asked a study group to perform gestures to show how they would interact with touchless interfaces, asking questions such as, “How would you minimize a page?,” or “How would you start and stop a video?” This then led them to see that there is no standardization for touchless interface gestures, and that later prompted them to begin this research project. The project outlines the methodologies behind their research from the last year and a half, as well as what they plan to accomplish with their project this semester.

CodyCrime In the U.S. by Cody O’Donnell

This interactive data visualization displays crime and offenses between the years of 2000 and 2012 in the U.S. Its map displays the statistics for each state that users can click on and view in an easy-to-read way. This particular project was displayed on a touch monitor, so viewers of the report can physically interact with the map and click on any of the 50 states for which they want to view statistics. The map was made with D3 and the data was collected from FBI uniform crime reports.

ContactContact by Ben Marggraf, Tom Buchanan, Tim Meyer, and Craig Douglass

This project combines 3D-printing, soldering, sewing, and drafting all into one package. This futuristic robotic hand and glove combo allows for the wearer of a specially made golf glove to control a robotic hand. The team is also working on enhancing the glove by adding heat and cold sensors, so the wearer can have even more contact with the surrounding world. The glove and hand itself is a haptic feedback virtual reality controller made of 3D-printed parts and soldered circuit boards. It is controlled with an Arduino board. All of the 3D-printed parts and pulleys were hand-sewn by the team, too .

SkyworksPSkyworksroject by Arland Whitfield and Natalie Wiesnet

The SkyworksProject is a student-run research and development lab that seeks to discover what is possible with drone technology both socially and technically. This dynamic duo, as well as a whole team of Syracuse students, work together to build, test, pilot, shoot footage, and edit video to produce content that gets sent out on various social media sites, and sometimes is shared by the Syracuse University accounts, too. The team is setting sights on the horizon of the field, to try to change the way drones are perceived, as well as to come up with ways that commercial drones can be used for good.

There are even more projects created within NEXIS, but these were just a few featured at the Future Wednesday event. Seems pretty cool, right? If you’re interested in learning more about NEXIS, visit their website or tweet at them at @NEXIS_SU!

Did you go to Future Wednesday? If so, what was your favorite project? Let me know in the comments below, or tweet at me! @NatalieWiesnet.

Natalie Wiesnet

Born on the West Coast, raised on the East Coast, educated in the Northeast. Newhouse School of Public Communications TRF major, Otto's Army President, camera operator, sports buff, hopeless romantic, human. CA | NY | SC | GA @NatalieWiesnet

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