NYU-Poly Campus to Become Hands-on Technology Playground for World Science Festival

Robotic Fish, Dance Game Competition and Voice-Controlled Robots Among Highlights of Free, Full-Day Celebration on ‘Innovation Square’ in Downtown Brooklyn

Innovation Square – an interactive showcase of the latest advancements in robotics, multiplayer gaming and educational technology – will offer a view into the future as NYU-Polytechnic professors and students display their research, and let visitors test it.  For the first time, NYU-Poly will be the Brooklyn home of the 2012 World Science Festival, a five-day celebration geared toward engaging the public about science and technology’s wonder, value and implications for the future. 

Activities run from 12 to 7 p.m., with demonstrations designed to pique the scientific curiosity and challenge the imaginations of children and adults alike. The festivities will culminate with a center-stage dance competition featuring an original multisensor game from NYU-Poly's Game Innovation Lab at 5 p.m. Admission is free. 

"No other place in Brooklyn better embodies the spirit of innovation than NYU-Poly, where technologies that make life easier, safer and certainly more fun are becoming real every day," said NYU-Poly President Jerry M. Hultin. "The World Science Festival is about sparking passion for science, and this is an amazing opportunity to experience emerging technologies firsthand, to see a glimpse of the future as it takes shape, and meet the scientists and NYU-Poly professors who are working at the cutting edge of their fields.” 

Innovation Square highlights from NYU-Poly include: 

Game Innovation Lab and YaMove! Dance Competition 

Tour the NYU-Poly Game Innovation Lab and test your skills during practice play sessions with Director Katherine Isbister; students from NYU-Poly and NYU; partner researcher Syed Salahuddin; and resident artist Kaho Abe. Get your groove on with cooperative dancing game YaMove!, and dare to join hundreds of other dancers for the YaMove! dance-off competition at 5 p.m. Change your mind about math with Scoop!, a movement-based game designed to boost math skills and confidence. Outside on the plaza, take on the group motion challenge Brooklyn Blooms, a social game that turns a public-space camera into the trigger for a virtual garden on a massive display wall. The games and research projects on display were developed by faculty and students of the award-winning graduate and undergraduate games programs of NYU-Poly and NYU, recently honored by The Princeton Review.

Robotic Fish Challenge 

Take the deep dive into underwater robotics with NYU-Poly Associate Professor Maurizio Porfiri and his team from the Dynamical Systems Lab. Participate in experiments with robotic fish and learn how smart materials can help robots swim convincingly and safely among real marine life. Be among the first to check out NYU-Poly’s mobile buoy platform that will monitor environmental factors in the Gowanus Canal for National Science Foundation research. 

Mobile Apps for Robotics 

NYU-Poly Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Professor Vikram Kapila's students will show off the latest advances in human-robot interaction technology – an experimental testbed that allows users to control robots with voice- and movement-activated apps for the iPhone and iPad. The technology explores how robots can improve everyday life, including future applications to aid people with disabilities. Festival visitors will test the apps that control mobile ground robots.  They will also manipulate LEGO-based robots developed by NYU-Poly’s GK-12 Fellows project, which helps public school teachers implement engaging science, technology, engineering and mathematics curriculum in the classroom alongside graduate student fellows.

Big Dig and a Rocket Launch

Amateur archaeologist and NYU-Poly adjunct professor Mark Skwarek will lead an augmented reality [AR] archaeological dig on Innovation Square all day Saturday. Is his promising find an ancient tool? Viewers are encouraged to bring smart phones and tablets for the best viewing experience. The same electronic equipment will also provide a safe view of an AR rocket launch from Innovation Square, scheduled for 6:45 p.m. The project is sponsored by the international group Manifest.AR. Skwarek and fellow artist John Craig Freeman from the group will be in communication with the rocket in real time and post images online. At 7 p.m., the online community should be able to view a live stream from U.S.A. satellite Galaxy-11 as a colonist lands on the moon. Watch for more at http://rocketmoonlaunch.blogspot.com/Manifest.AR.

Taking a Swipe at Chemistry

The Lewis Dots molecular diagrams familiar to chemistry students were never been so interactive or so much fun until an NYU-Poly team of scientists decided to build their iPad app. Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biological Science Jin Kim Montclare and doctoral candidate Carlo Yuvienco will show youngsters how to drag periodic elements and electrons about the touch screen to make and break bonds and assemble molecules.

College Preview

College-bound middle and high schoolers and their parents can get a jump start on the search process by joining an NYU-Poly information session. Groups will convene at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. at the historic Wunsch Building on Innovation Square. The hour-long sessions will provide an overview of NYU-Poly's undergraduate program offerings, information about the school’s selection criteria and guidance on gaining a competitive edge in preparation for the college admission process. 

The World Science Festival began in 2008 with programming throughout New York City.  MetroTech Center is especially well suited to host the festival according to Hultin, who recently announced an expansion of the school’s engineering campus across what he termed "Innovation Square" with a nod to NYU-Poly’s philosophy of i2e: invention, innovation and entrepreneurship.  Along with the Brooklyn Navy Yard and DUMBO, MetroTech Center is part of Downtown Brooklyn’s “Tech Triangle,” a hub for technology entrepreneurship. 

For more information and full schedule of events at Innovation Square, visit the World Science Foundation website at www.worldsciencefoundation.com.