Rochester Institute of Technology

The Coolest Newsletter

The Coolest Newsletter

This month we discuss a whirlwind of events: RIT's Effective Access Technology Conference, the Rochester Venture Challenge, Imagine RIT, and Walk MS!

Powerful Solutions at RIT's IdeaLab

by Crystal R. Mendoza Paulin

The students, mentors, and coaches that participated in RIT's 2016 Fall IdeaLab. 

The students, mentors, and coaches that participated in RIT's 2016 Fall IdeaLab. 

Twice a year the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) holds a intensive problem solving workshop known as IdeaLab. Students, alumni, professors, and community experts volunteer their time for the weekend to brainstorm and present solutions to unique problems assigned by community organizations. As part of RIT's dedication to effective access technology, the IdeaLabs typically focus on healthcare and the medical industry.

This year the Fall IdeaLab partnered with Al Sigl Community of Agencies. The local non-profit presented eight unique problems for the students to consider. The students and coaches then split into eight teams to spend the rest of the weekend working on one of those eight problems.

Team 7 members from left to right: Brad Dunn (design mentor), Mark Brown (student), Crystal Mendoza Paulin (engineering mentor), Gerald Garavuso (team coach), Jiameng Huang (student), Gopika Nair (student), Peggy Fortune (Al Sigl mentor).

Team 7 members from left to right: Brad Dunn (design mentor), Mark Brown (student), Crystal Mendoza Paulin (engineering mentor), Gerald Garavuso (team coach), Jiameng Huang (student), Gopika Nair (student), Peggy Fortune (Al Sigl mentor).

Brad and I lent our design and engineering expertise to the room at large but spent the majority of our time with Team 7. The team was tasked with creating a physical stabilizing system for individuals that use communication devices. This problem was pitched by Al Sigl's member agency, Rochester Hearing and Speech Center. Several neurological disorders that impair speech also impair fine motor movement so the team needed to build a system that could stabilize a user's hand and fingers to produce easy and reliable typing.

Of course, one weekend is not enough time to completely solve these complex problems. However, the hard work and creativity of the teams often produce viable results. Some teams even continue working on the projects after the weekend is over and turn in completed products to the organizations that need them.

IdeaLab is always an interesting and inspiring weekend. RIT was the first to institute a program of this size and magnitude and now the "IdeaLab method" is being propagated throughout other colleges and universities in the United States. I've participated for years and never fail to volunteer at each session. IdeaLab is free and open to the public and I sincerely encourage all of you to observe a session. There's nothing quite like watching the best and brightest work together to create solutions for people with special needs and abilities. And it's all for the betterment of our society.

For more information on RIT's Fall IdeaLab, visit here.

ThermApparel Wins Al Sigl Award at Imagine RIT

ThermApparel showcase their results at Imagine RIT.

ThermApparel won the Al Sigl Award from Dr. Destler's Access and Inclusion Technology Conference at Imagine RIT. We enjoyed the competition and speaking with other students working on accesst technology products. However, we especially enjoyed meeting and speaking with members of the community. The varied population that attends Imagine RIT really inspired us to continue working to improve our products in order to meet their needs. 

ThermApparel at Imagine RIT

Every year, engineers present their Senior Design projects at Imagine RIT. Several of ThermApparel's engineers worked on our products as their Senior Design project. Thus, ThermApparel will be exhibited at Imagine RIT this year!

Promotional poster for Dr. Destler's Access and Inclusion Technology Challenge.

In addition to a general exhibition of our product designs, ThermApparel will also be participating in Dr. Destler's Access and Inclusion Technology Challenge. We have been selected as a finalist from among dozens of other student led projects and we are looking forward to the competition. ThermApparel will be exhibiting in the Clark Gym on May 7 for Imagine RIT, we hope to see you there!

ThermApparel Wins 2nd Place at 2015 Effective Access Technology Conference

ThermApparel team and friends pose for photo at the Effective Access Technology Conference.

ThermApparel team and friends pose for photo at the Effective Access Technology Conference.

Yesterday ThermApparel won 2nd place in the Innovative Access Technology Product Competition at the 2015 Effective Access Technology Conference. The team presented their product designs before a panel of judges composed of community and business leaders with experience in the access technology field. We're pleased with the result and looking forward to future competitions.

ThermApparel Wins 2nd Place at RIT's Tiger Tank

Rochester Institute of Technology

Winners recieve award at RIT's Tiger Tank.

Last week at RIT's Tiger Tank, ThermApparel, clothing made to cool individuals with MS with discretion in mind, won 2nd place among 70 teams. The Saunders College of Business awarded the team $1,250 to fund their idea. We at ThermApparel want to thank John Robinson, our business consultant, for making this event such a success for us!

ThermApparel to Attend 2015 Effective Access Technology Conference

Rochester Institute of Technology

ThermApparel has been selected as a finalist for the Innovative Access Technology Product Competition for this year's Effective Access Technology Conference. The annual conference is held at the Rochester Institute of Technology. This year the conference features an Innovative Access Technology Product Competition sponsored by Paradigm Environmental Services Inc. with the intention of promoting and advancing early stage effective access technology products. ThermApparel has been selected as one of five semi-finalists for the competition. Join us for the conference to see our products!