A Crazy Ride Through the Tufts Campus

In this newly-released clip, a creative thrill-seeker takes to the Tufts campus for artistic inspiration, filming the spaces we know and love from a completely new vantage point. Using the GoPro HD Hero 2–a camera used by professional athletes and sports filmmakers to capture breathtaking, 170° wide-angle shots–he films the Tufts campus entirely from his bike, highlighting areas like the res quad, the library roof, and the academic quad.

Check out the video here:

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The Robot that Played the Violin

For Professor Rogers’ Introductory Robotics and Mechatronics (ME 84) class, students were required to design a robot to play a musical instrument.

Upon hearing their assignment, Emmanuel Runes, E13, Alexander Metzger, E13, Brad Nakanishi, E13, Bronson Wongkew, E14, and Nate Goldsberry, E13, decided to challenge themselves and take on the violin. Why is the violin a challenge, you ask? “Basically, the difficulty is not only being able to hit the various strings for pitch difference, which by itself can be a difficult problem, but the hardest issue is the bowing motion: you need to apply the correct amount of force and correct amount of speed for bowing because too slow or fast causes squeaking from the violin and negatively affects the sound,” explains Metzeger.

After more than 130 hours working on the project, the group debuted their masterpiece at a special Robot Concer in Distler Performance Hall on December 6. Check out the fruits of their labor in the video below!

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Keeping up with the news, whether it’s politics, pop culture, or anything in between, can be tough, especially as a young professional on the go. Just ask Danielle Weisberg, A08, and Carly Zakin, two ambitious twenty-somethings who know that “skimming the headlines” can be confusing and difficult, particularly with the advent of so many online media outlets. Weisberg and Zakin decided to take on the responsibility of keeping their generation in the know: enter theSkimm, an innovative and fun take on the daily headlines with the promise of “we read, you skimm.”

Zakin and Weisberg met on a semester abroad in Rome, and they both worked at NBC after college. In an interview with Business Insider, they explained:

[theSkimm is] for someone who’s smart, career-minded, and social. They might be going to a cocktail party or wedding, where news stories come up in conversation.  We want our readers to be able to start the conversations. theSkimm is meant to be a confidence booster.

Weisberg majored in American Studies at Tufts, and has worked in broadcast journalism for NBC News, as well as in editorial positions at The Daily Beast and Boston Magazine.

For more information, check out TheSkimm on Facebook and Twitter, and make sure to sign up theSkimm, new editions come out every weekday.

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Stop Motion Animation: Dr. Brian Gravel

Stop Motion Animation (SAM) software is huge these days, and Tufts lecturer Dr. Brian Gravel believes that it’s critical for K-12 classrooms. Gravel works for the Tufts Center for Engineering Education and Outreach, where he has been working on the SAM Animation Project since 2004.

His work spawned a spinoff project, iCreate to Educate, which focuses on using SAM to effectively teach lessons on language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, art, and music to young learners. In the video below, Gravel introduces the basics of SAM software and describes the effectiveness of the iCreate to Educate programs, based on research funded by the National Science Foundation.

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Tufts Professors on “Academic Minute”

In the past year, several Tufts professors have been featured on “Academic Minute,” a series broadcast by WAMC Northeast Public Radio that focuses on the academic innovations coming out of colleges and universities around the world. In August, the series featured Tufts Music Professor Dr. Joseph Auner, who spoks about the technology behind modern electronic instruments. “Academic Minute” has also spoken with Dr. Gregory Crane, editor of the Perseus Digital Library at Tufts, who researches the importance of Arabic translations of documents from Ancient Greece.

Professor Crane explains the significance of Arabic translation:

Many scientific terms such as algebra and chemistry come to us from Arabic. European culture rediscovered ancient sources like Aristotle and Euclid via Latin translations from Arabic translations of the Greek originals.”

The “Academic Minute” podcasts reach a wide audience on a daily basis. For more information, check out the podcast’s Facebook and Twitter Pages.

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Alums Help Create Coldwave Beverage Chiller

Ever wish your wine was cooler? Your iced coffee more iced? Michael Easton, E08, and Nicholas Wong, E07, decided to tackle this issue by designing the Coldwave Beverage Chiller, a  pitcher that chills any beverage in under a minute. Designed to fit a single cup coffee maker, the Coldwave promises cold to ice cold beverages while preserving that delectable fresh-brewed flavor. The product is on sale now for delivery in May 2013, and buyers are encouraged to support the product through its page on Indiegogo, a popular crowd funding site.

Easton and Wong studied mechanical engineering at Tufts, and they work for IceColdNow, the company behind the Coldwave. Easton focuses on usability testing and marketing of the product, while Wong works on marketing and social media development.

For more information on the Coldwave, check out IceColdNow’s Facebook and Twitter pages, and watch this video below:

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Summer Institute: Digital Strategies for Health Communication

This summer, the Tufts School of Medicine will be facilitating its fifth Institute on Digital Strategies for Health Communication. The week-long course aims to educate participants about connecting with patients through digital technology, including the web, social media, and mobile apps.

Tufts faculty and guest lecturers will help students define cutting-edge tech strategies, evaluate relevant case studies, and understand materials from Consumer Reports, ABC Health News, and other sources. In the video below, you’ll hear from Robyn Alie, from the public health department at the Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS), and Frank Fortin, chief digital strategist and communications director for the MMS.

Students at the summer institute will work on a case study of MMS’s digital influence, and Alie and Fortin are excited to see what the Tufts community has to say. Check out the video below for more information:

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Caroline Kaufman, N10: A “Sweet Foodie”

Looking for a food blog that’s mouth-watering, insightful, and all-things “sweet”? Caroline Kaufman, N10, has created a fun, easy-to-read blog that’s filled with cutting-edge nutrition information, healthy recipes, and beautiful photos.

Kaufman has a knack for taking sweet treats and changing the recipe a bit to make them healthier, but still delicious. In a recent post featuring gingerbread, she says:

The recipe is for a traditional gingerbread, made healthier with some whole wheat flour, canola oil, and applesauce to bump up fiber and take down saturated fat and cholesterol. The two teaspoons of ginger give it a spicy kick. This is not a sweet, sticky dessert cake. It’s much more about the molasses and spices.

Since 2008,  Sweet Foodie has helped Kaufman build an online presence and attract attention to her insightful healthy eating tips. The blog has achieved a large readership, as well as wide acclaim–it recently won awards for Nutrition Expert Blog of the Year and Top Blog of the Year from Around the Plate.

Kaufman received her M.S. in Nutrition Communication from Tufts’ Friedman School and currently resides in San Francisco, where she’s a registered dietition and freelance writer for a variety of publications. Her work has been published in EatingWell, Real Simple, and NY Metro Parents, among other sources.


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Austin Siadlak: An Inspiring Filmmaker

When Austin Siadak, A10, graduated from Tufts, he decided to pursue a different path than most of his peers. A post-college desk job left him hankering for more, so Siadlak promptly changed paths and found his home among the mountains and valleys of the western United States. A hiking and climbing enthusiast, Siadlak fuses his passion for the outdoors with his interest in videography by working for Seattle media company Duct Tape Then Beer, where he has created an impressive portfolio of short narrative films.

Siadlak’s latest film tells the inspiring story of Chris DeMartino, Jarem Frye, and Pete Davis, three disabled climbers who defied all odds by successfully summiting the steep, treacherous, and notoriously difficult El Capitan rock formation in Yosemite National Park. Siadlak beautifully captures the impressive vistas of Yosemite–coupled with the raw anxieties of the three hikers–to give viewers a film that’s wrought with emotion, as well as uplifting hope for the future of disabled climbers.

Watch Siadlak’s video here:

Gimp Monkeys from ARC’TERYX on Vimeo.



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“B-Boy” by Lisa Cohen, A87

On November 13th, Lisa Cohen, A87, won the Boston Jewish Film Festival’s Short Film Competition for her informative, poignant, and downright fun “B-Boy,” a documentary about a break dancing adolescent from Connecticut. Cohen, who studied Fine Arts at Tufts and currently resides in Seattle, was reconnecting with old friends at a Tufts reunion when she gained the inspiration to undertake “B-Boy,” an ambitious project that has kept her researching, filming, and editing for four years. “B-Boy” tells the story of Eli, a teen from the suburbs who furiously prepares for his bar mitzvah – and consequently experiences the anxieties of reaching Jewish adulthood – while also pursuing his passion for artistic expression on the side, dazzling his friends and family on the dance floor.

The film has received wide acclaim throughout the US: it received the Audience Choice Award at the Seattle Jewish Film Festival, and was also an official selection at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. Cohen plans to continue showing the film this winter, with upcoming screenings at The Jewish Museum in New York, as well as at several venues on the West Coast. She is thrilled about the film’s success, and excited about the film’s groundbreaking subject matter.

In a director’s statement, Cohen explained: “What I found, after four trips to the East Coast to shoot interviews, the bar mitzvah and two breakdancing battles, was that Eli was able to cross boundaries and bring seemingly disparate worlds together with a grace and maturity that was far beyond his years.”

Check out the trailer for “B-Boy” here:

B-BOY Trailer from Lisa Cohen on Vimeo.



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