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Westphal @ Research Day

April 29, 2013 — Drexel University’s annual Research Day celebrates the innovation, scholarship and creativity through presentations and a competition featuring student research projects. For Westphal students, presentations included video games, mobile apps, and new product designs.

Many of the impressive presentations were recognized with University and College awards. Interactive Digital Media graduate student Timothy Day won top prize in the University “Computing and Modeling (Non-Bio)” category for his project, “The Drexel Ride,” along with co-authors Zachary Thacker, Donny Hoang, Andrew Cory, Lou Manco and Mark Welser. Digital Media Professor Dr. Paul Diefenbach served as an advisor on the project, which explored the capabilities of a motion simulator to create exciting video games. “The Drexel Ride is not just a game using a motion simulator, it’s an effort to turn a motion simulator into a platform for interactive experiences,” Day explained.

Animation & Visual Effects Student Jason Kirk won a first-place award in the “Creative Arts & Design” category with his project, “Experiencing Cultural Heritage Through Interactive Digital Media.” This past summer, Kirk’s coop experience was as a research assistant to Digital Media Professor Glen Muschio. This project created additional 3-D models of the Dexter House – the 18th century home of the emancipated African slave, James “Oronoco” Dexter for use as animations for creating interactive viewer experiences.

Over the course of his coop, Kirk worked closely with archaeologists and historians from Independence National Historical Park, and culled reference from insurance records, archaeological data from the excavation of the Dexter House. Drexel student Joseph Tomasso and Digital Media Professor Dave Mauriello were also instrumental in the development of the project, which is currently ongoing within the Digital Media Program.

Another first place award went to a group of Drexel students working to retool a classic video game and deliver it to the shelves of Apple’s App Store by the end of May. “Crazy Castaway” will be released as a free-to-download game based on the early 90s hit, “Lemmings,” a puzzle-platformer video game originally developed for the Amiga by DMA Design. Graphic Design Assistant Program Director Bill Rees served as a co-advisor alongside Engineering Prof. Vasileios Nasis to the team, which included Graphic Design senior Phil Gross and Computer Engineering Seniors Elena Verdecchio and Christopher de Haan.

The 2013 Westphal Dean’s Research Award winners include: Digital Media student Ian Woskey (First Prize for “Dead End: The Influence of the PC on Player Emotional State and Actions”); Product Design student Maisie Lu (Second Prize for “Understanding Breakfast Habits”); and Digital Media student Nate Lapinski (Third Prize for “Art Directing Visual Complexity through Smart Textures”)

Westphal awards of merit were given to: “Kinect Based Gaming for Children with Cerebral Palsy” by Game Design student Kevin Gross; “Technology at the Threshold” by Interior Design student Megan Mitchell; “Happy Sunshine of the Hungry Mind” by Film & Video Student Kevin New; “Examining and Redefining the Breakfast Ritual,” by Product Design student Stephanie Kovacs; and “ScrappleTV: A Local News Aggregator for Respective Communities,” by Digital Media student Robert Young.

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