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Research Day Winners 2011

April 29, 2011

Blue and Green Research Day Logo 2011Research, Innovation Scholarship and Creativity were celebrated on April 8th when over 400 members of the Drexel Community presented projects at Research Day 2011. We are proud that over 40 Westphal students shared their projects during the daylong presentation in the Daskalakis Center.

Kristy Jost, Fashion Design student, won a University Award and a 2nd Prize Westphal Dean’s Award for Fashionable Technology. Jost, advised by Fashion Design professor Genevieve Dion, is working to create garments embedded with technology, a growing field requiring individuals with multidisciplinary skills and knowledge to create advanced textile technology for “smart” fashions of the future. As a fashion designer, Jost focuses on the seamless integration of electronics into textiles, combining technologically and advanced fashion design techniques such as ultrasonic seam welding and 3D computerized machine knitting, as well as employing techniques from materials science and electrical engineering to embed advanced nanomaterials into fabric structures. The Fashion Program is currently working with the College of Engineering and the College of Nursing and Health Professions on projects including: fabric supercapacitors as flexible energy storage devices, textile antennas for communication, seamless housing of electronics in garments, conductive yarns for integrated knitted circuitry, and connectorization methods between components.

Graduate student Evan Boucher working with Dr. Kenneth J. Lacovara, Biology Professor, and advised by Digital Media Professor Theo A. Artz, won a University Award and a 1st Prize Westphal Dean’s Award for the presentation Digital Paleoart: Reconstruction and Restoration from Laser-Scanned Fossils. For over two centuries, the science of paleontology has used imagery in order to help convey its ideas. This “paleoart” struggled at first to be accepted as a legitimate tool in science due to fears over scientific accuracy of reconstructions and restorations. Digital technologies, including three-dimensional digitizers and computer animation, can now be used to create more accurate restorations than ever before, based directly on extremely detailed three-dimensional digitized fossils. In order to capitalize on this technology and push the limits of what is possible in 21st Century paleoart, a restoration of the extinct crocodylian, Thoracosaurus neocesariensis, was created, by starting with a relatively complete digitized fossil source. The rest of the animal’s skeleton, its muscles, and outer skin were then restored, using techniques of computer animation, guided by the scientific literature and principles of comparative anatomy. Motion was then used to depict the behavior and habits of the animal, influenced by the biology of the restoration and observations of the animal’s closest living relatives. The goal was to restore an animal with an unprecedented amount of scientific accuracy by blending the techniques of rigorous scientific research with state-of-the-art computer generated imagery.

Eric Sanderson, Stephen Davi, Jake Hager, Connor Przybyszewski, Tyler Mack, and Tim Ehrlich from the Music Industry program also won a University Award for their presentation Improving with Words: Interacting with the Audience to Create Spontaneous Music. Dr. Myron Moss, Music Professor, advised the team. The project is an experiment in musical expression, looking to explore interaction with an audience in improvisation. The group takes a word at random as suggested by the audience and uses that as a basis from which to spontaneously generate music across multiple levels. The group uses their instruments to investigate the melodies, harmonies, tone colors, and rhythms, that they feel express the meanings and feelings of the selected word, while simultaneously creating a new and unique piece of music that is both dynamic and cohesive. The players manage developing ideas of their own as well as interacting with the musical ideas of their fellow players, managing the texture, orchestration, and form of the piece while it is being simultaneously performed and composed.

Grace Gamble, Business Administration student in the Lebow College of Business won a 3rd Prize Westphal Dean’s award for her dance piece Beware of the sirens: An exploration of the fear of powerful women of the past and present. Westphal Dean’s Awards of merit went to Erika Pike, Performing Arts student for Pasta Salad, Aisle 3: A Movement and Dance Investigation Inspired by Pasta; Curtis Carr, Entertainment & Arts Management student, for Canvas and Marley: Synthesizing 20th Century Cubism and Ballet; Eric Sanderson, Music Industry student, for Improvising with Words: Interacting with the Audience to Create Spontaneous Music; Thomas Anthony, Music Industry student, for Quartal Prelude and Paige Francis, Performing Arts student, for “Laws of reflection: A collaboration of science and dance.”