#nationofmakers | NYU Tandon School of Engineering


Here are some of the recent things made at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering

Student and Faculty Projects

Solid Air

Two freshmen physics majors at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, Patrick Nave and Patrick Gumusoglu, have developed a process by which oxygen and nitrogen can be harnessed in solid form. Using this “Solid Air,” the students hope to devise a replacement for the bulky, heavy, and expensive compressed-gas tanks typically used by sport divers. The product may have the potential to be used by firefighters and people with supplemental oxygen tanks in their homes to treat conditions such as emphysema.

The pair received $500 toward realizing their idea through a competition in our required freshman Innovation and Technology Forum class taught by Industry Professor David Lefer. The intention of the forum class is to lay the foundation for building the next generation of global innovators and inventors.

Nave and Gumusoglu received an additional $500 from Suneris, a company co-founded by Joe Landolina, a NYU School of Engineering senior at the time. They were also awardees of the Fall 2013 Prototyping Fund (sponsored by the Greenhouse and the Entrepreneurial Institute), which gave them the opportunity to develop their first prototype. The technology for Solid Air is currently patent-pending.


The Celluarly Accessible, Expressive, Semi-Autonomous Robot (CAESAR) is a humanoid robot built by School of Engineering students with off-the-shelf and 3D printed parts and programmed using open software with the intent of helping people with limited mobility.

CAESAR can autonomously navigate indoor environments as well as employ robotic arms to manipulate objects in that environment. A user may access CAESAR via computer or mobile phone from anywhere in the world.

A visiting researcher will be redesigning and refabricating CAESAR's face this summer so that the robot looks more inviting and is able to convey a variety of emotions through different facial expressions. Additionally, a student will be working on its hand-eye coordination, in order to give CAESAR the ability to pick up and place objects with greater precision and accuracy.

The Bug

Mahmoud Raslan, an Integrated Digital media (IDM) student who graduated this year, created “The Bug” as his senior design project. The small robotic projector can be used in relatively inaccessible areas, and its development was overseen by Dana Karwas, an IDM instructor, and Chris DiMauro, an alum of Polytechnic's Digital Media master’s program.

Raslan was initially inspired by “Projection Bombings,” a term that describes the unauthorized projection of messages, images or videos onto irregularly shaped objects like buildings. His current prototype is able to walk, and he hopes to one day complete a prototype that climbs up walls. Raslan sees a potential for commercialization, since his system involves much less infrastructure and work than conventional projectors. The Bug was exhibited as part of the 2014 NYU Tandon School of Engineering Research Expo.

Robotic Fish

In an attempt to understand the schooling habits of fish, Associate Professor Maurizio Porfiri and his fellow researchers at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering have designed robotic fish that can assume a leadership role and guide living fish out of harm’s way--findings that may be of great practical use in cases of environmental disaster.

Through a series of experiments, researchers have also aimed to increase our understanding of collective behavior. (One recent study, for example, related to alcohol use and how it affects anxiety and fear of predators.)

Their design, which employs 3D printed components, has been showcased at the US Science Festival in Washington D.C. and at many other such events.

The Greenhouse

The Greenhouse at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering is a student-run area dedicated specifically to ideation and collaboration. A flexible work and meeting space for the entire NYU community, the Greenhouse supports the entrepreneurial spirit and creates opportunities for multidisciplinary initiatives.

Makers can visit the Greenhouse to learn about prototyping, 3D printing, and Arduino, among other hands-on topics, and each year the space is a hub of activity for those taking part in the OPenIDEO Challenge, which invites thinkers and innovators from around the world to collaborate on practical solutions to pressing societal problems. (This year, students tackled the question of how urban areas could be made safer and more empowering for women.)

The Greenhouse is also a hub for the School of Engineering’s many student clubs and organizations, including the Design Tinkering Club, which aims to encourage open innovation in order to design solutions for social good; the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Association (EIA), which provides a forum to learn the concepts of entrepreneurship and the step-by-step path involved in launching and commercializing ideas; Patent Pending, which provides members with the opportunity to innovate and engineer with the assistance of faculty and industry leaders; and PolyBots, whose members build hands-on projects and learn together.

K-12 Initiatives

Center for K-12 STEM Education

The NYU Tandon School of Engineering’s Center for K-12 STEM Education helps make science, technology, engineering and math fun and engaging for young learners. The Center currently serves 17 schools in central Brooklyn and has partnered with entities such as the Pinkerton Foundation, NSF, and First Robotics.

The Center for K-12 STEM Education specifically focuses on developing hands-on lessons, creative projects, and experiments using easily obtainable, every day supplies.

Among the innovative programs run under the auspices of the Center is Science of Smart Cities (SoSC), which teaches middle school students how to design and build more livable, efficient, sustainable and resilient cities. Through demonstrations and projects, SoSC introduces students to new ideas in science, engineering and technology, as well as to the scientific method and research practices.

The Center also runs a program called CrEST: Creativity in Engineering, Science, and Technology, an exciting 60-hour course for high school students on applying physical computing, mechanical systems and electronics to design and build interactive devices. The CrEST program emphasizes hands-on, lab-based demonstrations, experiments, and projects that offer important learning experiences related to circuitry, electronics, mechanical systems, physical computing, robotics and other STEM disciplines.

Through initiatives like CrEST and SoSC, the Center has developed fun ways for students to learn about a variety of topics, including erosion and its ramifications for urban planning. In that lesson, students use a sand table and 3D printed structures to see how water affects the soil on which they place their model buildings. (Especially with sea levels rising and water encroaching on urban environments, this is a matter that has grown steadily more important.)

Students have also learned about how to generate energy and explore alternative energy sources and have even built their own model hydro-electric power generators.

Tech Kids Unlimited

Tech Kids Unlimited (TKU) is a technology-based educational organization geared towards kids with special needs, between the ages of 7 and 18 years old. Beth Rosenberg, an adjunct professor in the Department of Technology, Culture & Society at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, founded the organization in 2009. Inspired by her teenaged son, Jack, she hopes to empower and inspire the next generation of digital natives to learn, create, develop, and share the tools of technology.

Many of TKU’s week-long workshops take place at the NYU School of Engineering and teach students how to make a digital game, develop a sound app, learn Google Sketch-Up, and implement 3D printing using 3D modeling software. Students get to work with experienced teachers and students from the NYU School of Engineering, meet guest lecturers who work in the tech field, experiment with technology, go on field trips, and much more.

Companies and Products


Somaware is a company launched by NYU Tandon School of Engineering graduate student Michael Karlesky and dedicated to building tools to extend the human senses. Its first project is a band that can be worn around the neck to expand the user’s sense of direction, guiding him or her with pulses of vibration. The wearer becomes, in effect, a human compass.

An accompanying smartphone app will allow a person to plan a route. Then, the phone and the band cooperate wirelessly, resulting in an experience less like reading a map and more like following a tap on the shoulder. The company--a winning competitor in the School of Engineering’s Inno/Vention contest and a current participant in its Summer Launchpad program--is working with cyclists, runners, hikers, sailors, and the sight-impaired to fine-tune its technology.

Karlesky says that people think he came to the NYU School of Engineering to earn a doctoral degree, but they are mistaken. He actually came to change the world.


A strong competitor in the Inno/Vention contest and one of the most buzzed about participants at the recent MakerFaire in San Francisco, where it received a huge welcome from the hacker and education community, the BotFactory was founded by a team of students from the NYU Tandon School of Engineering.

Building electronic devices has always been a compromise between cost, flexibility and time, and the BotFactory was born of the idea of providing all three, anywhere and to everyone. The company, at the forefront of a wave of Agile Electronics Development, democratizes electronic design by providing the tools to easily print electronic circuits from home.

After all, the founders have asserted, what is cooler than a robot building robots?


Veti-Gel was invented by Joe Landolina while he was a student at the School of Engineering. The gel, which has applications in the veterinary, military, and surgical markets, stops bleeding in seconds by adhering to the surrounding tissue to hold in pressure, activating the body’s platelets, and creating a fibrin clot.

Veti-Gel is effective both internally and externally. It is designed to be easy-to-use, stored at room temperature, and inexpensive to produce because it is derived from plants. The gel mimics the extracellular matrix (ECM), or the structural support of the body’s cells, which allows it to facilitate cell growth and act as a platform to heal wounds, treat burns, and deliver therapeutics.

Landolina and his partner, fellow NYU student Isaac Miller, now run a biotechnology company, Suneris, Inc.


Skinesiology is a NYU-based startup founded by a team composed of first-year medical students Franklin Yao, Jeffrey Huang, Jenny Chen, Josh Phelps, and Ryan Grattan.

With nontraditional backgrounds such as engineering, marketing, and business, these students have developed innovative fitness apparel, specifically with a focus on tights, which utilizes built-in elastomeric resistance bands. These bands are positioned to counteract specific muscle groups and increase muscle activation in a biomechanically sound fashion that will help the average person burn significantly more calories during daily activities. More importantly they are said to promote weight loss—up to 5 pounds per year.

Since the beginning, Skinesiology has been heavily involved with the incubators and competitions that NYU has to offer them. The 2013 Prototyping Fund provided them with a $500 grant through the sponsorship of the Greenhouse at NYU Tandon School of Engineering and taught them how to take the best parts of their idea and translate them into physical prototypes.

Skinesiology has also participated in both the Inno/Vention competition at the NYU School of Engineering and the Entrepreneurs Challenge hosted by NYU Stern, where they won $75,000 towards their invention.


Jason Green, the founder of a start-up called Edenworks and a civil engineering major at NYU School of Engineering, is developing the future of food infrastructure by building a smarter, more efficient, local food economy.

Instead of traditional farming, Green and his team at Edenworks build aquaponics, a closed loop system where fish and plants are farmed together. Fish waste is fed to the plants as fertilizer, and the plants act as a natural filter for the fish. Sensors constantly monitor environmental chemistry and this information is combined with data about the quality of the food, all via webapp.

Within urban environments, the aquaponics are built up vertically to get the desired yield. While resource efficient, aquaponics are also scalable and “snap” together much like an Ikea product. After harvesting, the fresh product and seafood can be delivered by subscription to food services and businesses all around NYC. Having previously worked in business development and partnerships at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering DUMBO incubator and as the VP of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Association, Jason Green fervently applies his experience so that Edenworks will seamlessly change the way we all eat.

HEVO Power

Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Optimization (HEVO) is a tenant of the New York City Accelerator for a Clean and Resilient Economy (NYC ACRE), housed at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering’s Urban Future Lab.
The start-up company aims to market an innovative way to wirelessly charge electric vehicles (EVs) by using electromagnetic resonant power—a method that is expected to be of particular interest to the owners of commercial fleets and organizations like the military.

The HEVO Power Station (HPS) provides a safe, fast, and affordable method of charging EVs that eliminates the hazards and inconveniences associated with plug-in charging, such as range anxiety, the common fear that a vehicle may not have sufficient power and range to reach its intended destination, thus stranding its passengers.

The company’s head of technology development, Aditya Karan Sharma, an electrical engineer who earned an M.S. from the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, was instrumental in forging collaborations with professors from the school, including Francisco de León, whose research helped made city-compatible power stations possible.

HEVO’s founder, Jeremy McCool, a veteran of the Iraq War, hopes that his company will help to promote U.S. energy independence, which he has termed the “new American freedom.”

Keen Home

Keen Home, a start-up founded by NYU Stern students Ryan Fant and Nayeem Hussain, is a New York City Accelerator for a Clean and Resilient Economy (NYC ACRE) incubator company that has developed a product known as the Keen Vent.

A wirelessly networked home air vent, the Keen Vent enhances the efficiency and comfort of a home’s heating and cooling system by intelligently redirecting central HVAC airflow. Collaboration with Con Edison, NYSERDA, and energy monitoring firms at NYC ACRE, have allowed Fant and Hussain to quantify the amount of energy used in a single day with a Keen Vent versus when it is not in operation. General research has revealed as much as 30% energy savings.

The Smart Vent intelligently opens and closes to reduce uncomfortable hot and cold spots, saves energy in unused rooms, and connects to a home network with the push of a button. Keen Home has also incorporated smartphone control of air flow. Recently, the company was provided with investment and mentorship from renowned angel funds, venture capitalists, and entrepreneurs through the exclusive TechStars national accelerator program.

Radiator Labs

Marshall Cox, the founder and CEO of a start-up called Radiator Labs, created a Thermostatic Radiator Enclosure (TRE). This enclosure, also known as the Cozy, solves cast-iron steam radiator woes by helping dampen the noise and reducing energy expenditures and pollution.

Radiator Labs—a tenant of the NYC Accelerator for a Clean and Resilient Economy (ACRE)—fitted the Cozy with a small fan, temperature sensors and a ZigBee wireless radio transmitter. The device is placed over a radiator, held in place with Velcro, and can help control the temperature of the room in question through a web interface. In addition, the Radiator Labs system doesn't require any special equipment and takes minutes to set up. With a Cozy in place, the boiler will have to turn on less frequently since dispersed steam will be used more efficiently, and less heating oil will be burned. Cox estimates the technology could save building owners up to 30 percent in energy costs, while still being aesthetically pleasing.

ChromoSense LLC

ChromoSense LLC is a technology start-up company focused on the development and production of the next generation of environmental sensing and monitoring systems. ChromoSense has been addressing its mission while working closely with the Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) and as part of the NYC Accelerator for a Clean and Resilient Economy (ACRE) at the School of Engineering’s Urban Future Lab. The CEO, Masoud Ghandehari, is a faculty member in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the university and incorporates other environmental engineers and remediation practitioners into the company to bridge many of the technology gaps that currently exist in these fields.

From increased rates of cancer to incidents of birth defects, soil and ground water pollution threaten not only the natural ecosystem but also human health. Today, the annual remediation of sites worldwide costs billions of dollars. To help address this issue, the team at ChromoSense developed an innovative, durable and cost-effective opto-chemical oxygen probe, for which they were awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research Grant from the National Institutes of Health. This probe promises to provide a unique long-term oxygen level monitoring solution for contaminated soil and groundwater environments, which is essential as oxygen is the most critical parameter of aerobic bioremediation.

The dissolved oxygen sensing is based on innovative fiber optical technology that provides reliable readings and significantly reduces the cost of sensors. These performance enhancements and cost reductions will facilitate the expansion and acceleration of current environmental remediation projects. In addition, the technology is applicable to other industries, such as in agriculture and chemical processing, and can be adapted to other parameters such as pH and redox potential.