Category Archives: News

Congratulations to the BOOM 2014 Award Winners!

Five original and very cool student projects took home six awards during today’s 17th Annual BOOM showcase.

People’s Choice Award – CUAUV

Where’s the BOOM? – B33P

GE Imagination at Work Award – Pulso (Assistive Navigation Device for Visually Impaired Individuals)

eBay Innovator’s Award – Speare (Engagement Through Understanding)

Goldman Sachs Award – Pulso (Assistive Navigation Device for Visually Impaired Individuals)

Googleyist Project Award – Definitions Extractions from Code of Federal Regulations

Read more about these great projects here.

Congratulations to the winners and to all of our project teams!

Checkers-playing robot to be showcased at BOOM 2014

WHAT: BOOM 2014 student research showcase in digital technology

WHEN: Wednesday, March 26 from 4 to 6 p.m.

WHERE: Atrium of Duffield Hall on Cornell campus, Ithaca, N.Y.

ITHACA, N.Y. – From a game-playing robot arm to the smartest scale you’ve ever stepped on, some of Cornell University’s brightest students will unveil their best work in cutting-edge technologies at BOOM 2014 – the annual showcase also known as Bits On Our Minds – on Wednesday, March 26, from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Duffield Hall atrium on the Cornell campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Some of this year’s projects include:

  • Smart scale – A wifi-enabled smart scale and mobile app called Moxie that allows users to monitor their weight, heart rate, blood pressure and cholesterol in order to make lifestyle changes accordingly.
  • Bus tracker – Mobile tracking app that allows users to select a bus number to find the nearest stop, estimate the time the next bus will arrive and its current location.
  • Checkers-playing Delta robot – A checkers-playing robot arm that uses a webcam to identify the board and determine its next move.
  • Reader analytics platform – A digital platform called Speare that tracks analytics from visitors of news media websites – everything from the types of articles they prefer to how long they spend reading them – in order for the publisher to better understand its audience.
  • CUAir – An unmanned autonomous aircraft capable of takeoff/landing, waypoint navigation and surveillance/reconnaissance.
  • CUAUV – An unmanned autonomous underwater vehicle capable of completing difficult underwater tasks through an advanced software system.
  • Mood lights – Electro-sensors measure one’s mood and then the data is fed into an interactive, color-changing light system.

BOOM 2014 is sponsored by eBay, General Electric, Goldman Sachs, Google, and Yahoo!. The 16th annual event is hosted by Computing and Information Science in partnership with the College of Engineering.

More information:

Contact:                      Syl Kacapyr
Phone:                        (607) 255-7701


Congratulations Daniel Wong, Winner of the BOOM 2014 Logo Contest!

BOOM 2014 Logo Winner

BOOM 2014 Logo Winner

Daniel Wong ’14, a graduate student in Mechanical Engineering, is this year’s winner of the BOOM 2014 logo contest.  Daniel’s “networked” design bested more than 20 other highly creative submissions to be featured during the premiere CIS event attended annually by more than 800 participants and visitors in Duffield Atrium. A past Vice President of the Cornell Engineering Graduate Student Association and Board Member of the Cornell Graduate Consulting Club, Daniel is an active member of the Cornell Engineering community. His interests include competitive Ultimate Frisbee, graphic design and travel. Congratulations Daniel!

The “BOOMlets” are coming May 11! Robots and video games galore!

BOOM 2013 doesn’t end with BOOM. There’s still time to be awed and entertained by cool student projects before summer officially arrives. On Saturday, May 11, check out the “Showtime! Presentation: What Can a Robot Do” at the Sciencenter and then head over to ACCEL Labs in Carpenter Hall Library for the “Cornell Video Game Showcase ’13.”

What: Showtime! Presentation: What Can a Robot Do?
When: Saturday, May 11 – 2:00pm
Where: Sciencenter, 601 1st Street, Ithaca, NY

About Showtime! Presentation: What Can a Robot Do? Challenge a robot to a game of checkers, and meet robots that can bake pancakes and make ice cream! Students from Cornell’s Rapid Prototyping class will demonstrate their air piano, interactive desk lamp, 3-D printers and special Scrabble board. Showtime! presentations are included with admission.

What: Cornell Video Game Showcase ’13 (Game Design Initiative at Cornell)
When: Saturday, May 11 – 3:00 – 6:00pm
Where: Carpenter Library, ACCEL Labs

About the Cornell Video Game Showcase: After a quiet 2012, the GDIAC Showcase returns, even bigger than ever. This year we have a record number of projects, including the most number of mobile games we have ever had. The showcase also includes several interesting independent study projects that explore interesting concepts such as sound-only gameplay.

The showcase is open to the general public, so that everyone can play and experience these projects. In addition, the public is welcome to vote for the favorite in the award ceremony at the end. Come join us and make this our best Showcase yet. More information:

BOOM offers games, gadgets and job opportunities

By Bill Steele, Cornell Chronicle

Lindsay France/University Photography
Bringing the Outside Back in With SUNN: Dynamic, Energy Efficient Lights with Health Benefits won the GE: Imagination at Work Award at BOOM 2013.

If you want to see the future of technology, look at what today’s students are inventing. An array of examples was on display April 3 at the annual BOOM (Bits on Our Minds) exhibition in the Duffield Atrium.

Although organized by Computing and Information Science in collaboration with the College of Engineering, BOOM showcases projects from any discipline, any college, as long as they use digital technology.

Of course there were games. Six Degrees of Bacon challenges players to navigate online from a random Wikipedia page to the Wikipedia article on bacon (the food, not the actor), and Splat lets you play paintball with no mess, using smartphones to record hits.

Smartphones also turned up in an app to notify friends of the location of a party; and when the guests show up, you can turn on the automated mechanical bartender that was displayed nearby.

For the truly dedicated geek, there were projects in pure computer science. As a sign of the times, many dealt with database management in the cloud.

At every BOOM are projects destined for national competitions, like CUAir, a small aircraft that can fly a GPS-defined route and send back surveillance images; the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, which follows a programmed course underwater; and Cornell Baja, for which students design, build and race an off-road vehicle. These projects involve teams of 30 to 40 students, combining expertise in mechanical and electrical engineering and computer science; as well as students managing the business end to raise money and scrounge hardware.

The event concludes with awards: The Where’s the BOOM? Award, chosen by Computing and Information Science faculty, went to Splat, and the People’s Choice award, based on spectator voting, to CUAir.

Several sponsors also presented awards: eBay Innovator’s Award went to StuffSwap; Facebook Hacker Award to Francois BarBot: Mechanical Bartender; GE: Imagination at Work Award to Bringing the Outside Back in with SUNN: Dynamic, Energy Efficient Lights with Health Benefits; Goldman Sachs Award to Public Spheres: Ideas Taking Shape; Googleyist Project to Six Degrees of Bacon; Morgan Stanley Innovation Award to EmoDetect: Smart Emotion Detection from Facial Expressions; and Yahoo! Student Research Award also to EmoDetect: Smart Emotion Detection from Facial Expressions. Awards include plaques and in some cases cash stipends up to $500.

BOOM is supported by Morgan Stanley, Yahoo!, eBay, General Electric, Goldman Sachs, Facebook, Google and Applied Predictive Technologies. The sponsors also set up booths at the event, most staffed by Cornell alumni who work for the companies. They are there hoping to attract the students who have come up with innovative projects and any others who might stop by.

“We want to create a buzz,” explained Hera Li, Ph.D. ’07, representing Morgan Stanley.

Who says engineering can’t be fun? Cornell students show off inventions

By D.W. Nutt, Gannett

ITHACA — Big ideas are booming at Cornell University, and they’re driving the latest technological innovations.

Cornell University students Chris Hogan, left, and Michael Kaplan present their project Francois BarBot: Mechanical Bartender at BOOM 2013 in the Duffield Hall atrium Wednesday at Cornell. The robot allows users to place custom drink orders remotely by using their smartphones. The robot mixes the drinks, adds ice and stirs them, and tells you when your drink is ready. It also cracks the occasional joke. / D.W. NUTT/Staff Photo

Cornell Computing and Information Science in partnership with the College of Engineering hosted the 16th annual BOOM, or Bits On Our Minds, student technologyshowcase Wednesday.

Projects ranged from the practical (the SUNN light bulb, which connects to the Internet and mimics outdoor lighting conditions) to the idiosyncratic (6 Degrees of Bacon, an Android game that challenges players to find the shortest path from random Wikipedia articles to the entry for bacon via hyperlinks).

While every year brings a grab-bag of new gizmos and software, when it comes to game design, there has been a noticeable shift from PC-based games to mobile platforms, according to Christine Stenglein with the Information Science Department.

Case in point: Splat, which uses Bluetooth technology to synch smartphones and toy guns equipped with infrared sensors that detect when particular targets are hit. Players can zap each other as if playing laser tag, but they can also track other players or search for items using Google maps, like a hi-tech capture the flag, while posting results in real-time on Facebook.

However, Splat, which nabbed the “Where’s the BOOM?” award Wednesday, has applications that extend beyond simple child’s play, thanks to its directional data sensing technology.

“Generally you think Bluetooth is range-based, but with this kind of directional selection you can start applying it to anything,” said team member and Cornell junior Shah Ahmed. “One of the big things we can go into is medical equipment, so selection via sensors on a wall. It would be easier, more intuitive to select this way. … This is a starting point.”

Project team CUAir showed off their latest “unmanned autonomous aircraft,” which has the ability to identify targets on the ground, generate 10-megapixel imagery and conduct WiFi remote intelligence gathering.

“Most people associate drones with warfare,” said team member Joel Heck. “But that’s only one small part of what this kind of technology can do.”

Other applications include conducting search and rescue missions and monitoring crops and harvests, Heck said. The aircraft went on to win the People’s Choice award.

“A lot of what we do is not so much hardware-based anymore, but done in the cloud, done in software. And that’s becoming more and more important as we go into the future,” he said.

And the BOOM 2013 Winners Are…

Eight different fantastic BOOM 2013 projects won nine awards at today’s BOOM 2013. This year’s winners are:

People’s ChoiceCUAir

Where’s the BOOM?Splat

eBay Innovator’s AwardStuffSwap

Facebook Hacker AwardFrancois BarBot: Mechanical Bartender

GE: Imagination at Work AwardBringing the Outside Back in with SUNN: Dynamic, Energy Efficient Lights with Health Benefits

Goldman Sachs AwardPublic Spheres: Ideas Taking Shape

Googleyist Project – 6 Degrees of Bacon

Morgan Stanley Innovation Award – EmoDetect: Smart Emotion Detection from Facial Expressions

Yahoo! Student Research Award – EmoDetect: Smart Emotion Detection from Facial Expressions

Congratulations to our winners and to all student teams that participated in BOOM 2013! Thanks for another amazing BOOM.

BOOM 2013 is Here! #boom2013

Be sure to join us this afternoon to support all of our student teams. And if you can’t make it, follow all the action on Twitter. Give us a shout out @BitsOnOurMinds: #boom2013

Vote for People’s Choice, Win an iPad Mini!

For the second year in a row, BOOM participants will be able to e-vote for the People’s Choice Award! Just look for the computers by the Registration desk in Duffield Atrium. Everyone who votes will be automatically entered for a chance to win one of two Apple iPad Minis! Remember, you can’t win if you don’t vote. See you at BOOM 2013 tomorrow, April 3 at 4:00 pm.

BOOM 2013 to feature outreach program for 5th – 12th graders

BOOM would love to connect more with middle and high school-aged students, so we are providing a special pre-event showcase introduction for 5th-12th grade students!

Although we realize that BOOM falls during the spring break for many schools, we hope that you will help us encourage students to come on their own or with their families. We’ve found that BOOM really excites students and gets them thinking about how science and technology can factor into their future education and career plans, so this can serve as an enrichment, or even extra credit (depending on the teacher), activity that students could work into their breaks.

Please RSVP to if you plan to come, since we have a limited number of parking permits available, as well as food and t-shirts!

Event: BOOM, Bits On Our Minds, featuring a special pre-event program for 5th-12th grade students

Location: Duffield Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

Date: Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Schedule of events:
(please be sure to RSVP to if you plan to attend):

•             2:45-3:15pm: Students arrive, brief introduction (snacks and free t-shirts available)

•             3:15-3:45pm: Presentation by Ithaca High School’s robotics team, Code Red

•             3:45-4:00pm: Projects sneak peek with opportunity to meet Cornell student presenters

•             4:00-6:00pm: Main BOOM event, with award ceremony and closing at 5:45pm

Parking (a limited number of parking permits are also available to those who RSVP to