Technology

Hybrid Racing Team Debuts “THR12″

The Tufts Hybrid Racing Team recently debuted its new car–the “THR12″–by taking it for a test drive on the Tufts campus. The cutting-edge hybrid car has been in the works for two years, and the team is excited to keep refining its creation before the 2013 Formula Hybrid Competition.

The team, which is supported by the School of Engineering Dean’s Office and the Peter and Denise Wittich Family Fund for Alternative Energy Research, has been building hybrid racing cars since 2008, and now works under the direction of Chris Jackson, E13, this year’s project leader.

For a sneak peak at the new “THR12″, watch the video below:

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CEEO Haunted House

Halloween at Tufts is always marked by festive costumes and  spooky decorations in dorm rooms. This year, a few ambitious freshmen decided to have some Halloween fun in the classroom, too – students in Professor Ethan Danahy’s “Simple Robotics” course created a haunted house using LEGO robotics. The haunted house was an effort to show off the skills they’ve acquired this semester while having a little nerdy – yet decidedly spooky – fun.

The project, supported by Tufts’ Center for Engineering Education and Outreach, was open to the public on October 31. Check out the video below to see these haunted LEGO robots in action!

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Alum Creates New Words With Friends

It’s been about two weeks since Loren Brichter, E06, launched his first-ever mobile game, Letterpress, and it has already reached the ranks of #14 most popular app and #1 most popular Word Game in App Store charts. Before launching Letterpress, Brichter created the Twitter iPhone app we know and love today before it was officially Twitter’s.

His new game revolves around taking turns with a friend spelling words on a 5×5 grid of letters. Each time you use a letter, you claim its tile, but if your friend uses the letter in his or her word, he or she can steal the tile back. The game has been called “the next Words with Friends” and was recently featured in the New York Times’s Business of Technology, BITS, blog.  The game has been so well-received it has inspired a new form of poetry and off-line game for those addicted but without power during Hurricane Sandy.

Brichter has also found a way to give back to his loyal customers: he is donating all sales of his Letterpress t-shirt to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Sandy relief. To follow his work, check out his website.

 

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Mobile Health Design Course

Lisa Gualtieri, Assistant Professor in the Health Communication Program at Tufts School of Medicine, taught an online course on “Mobile Health Design” this summer. The course covered trends in health-related apps for smartphones, as well as techniques for developing, designing, and evaluating new health apps. In the video below, Gualtieri speaks with Samantha Noderer, a Health Communications student who learned a lot of useful information in the course. She particularly enjoyed the group project for the course, which asked students to design a new app for weight loss management.

Watch the video here:

 

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Engineers Make Music

Students in Professor Chris Rogers’ Introduction to Robotics class are having some fun in the classroom! Rogers, who works at the Tufts Center for Engineering Education and Outreach (CEEO), is working with students to make musical instruments out of LEGO NXT equipment. This is LEGO engineering technology at its finest  and it produces some impressive digital music, too!

Watch the video below, and learn more about LEGO NXT technology here:

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Tufts Student Film Union

Calling all aspiring filmmakers! The Tufts Student Film Union (TSFU) is a new organization for students interested in every aspect of the filmmaking process, from directing to designing costumes. They’re looking to work on a variety of different projects in the coming year, and are hoping to reach out to a diverse group of undergrads. That’s why they’ve produced this humorous promo – in the video, you’ll meet the students behind TSFU and discover their quirky attitudes, friendly demeanors, and zest for all things film! Plus, they’ve got some awesome dance moves.

Check out the video below:

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“Everything Texting Should Be”

Foster Lockwood, E13, was just trying to leave his girlfriend a voicemail when the lengthy and cumbersome process to send his message hit him. And what began as a general annoyance, turned into a real life project for the computer science engineer.

In just a few months, Lockwood created Wyre, an app that to him is, “everything texting should be.” After downloading the free app and registering, Wyre users can send each other messages in texts, photos (with captions!), drawings, audio clips, YouTube videos, a map of their location, and contacts all from one easy to use screen.

Without global limitations or caps on the number of members you can have in one text message, Wyre might just be the next big thing in messaging! Check out Lockwood’s creation on Facebook and on the web.

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Tufts Music Apps for the iPad

By Kristin Livingston, A05. From the Fall 2012 issue of Blueprint.

 

Ever wanted to build a synthesizer? Or create your own digital drum set? Or learn how to sing without paying for voice lessons? There’s an app for that—or there soon will be, thanks to Tufts engineers and a pioneering course called “Music Apps for the iPad.”

Music Lecturer Paul Lehrman, AG10, and Computer Science Lecturer Ming Chow, E02, EG04, teamed up last spring to create a course that would foster musical composition and competition, teach the basics of music and mobile development, and hopefully create commercially viable apps, setting talented students on the path to early business success.

Funded by a grant from renowned piano makers Steinway Musical Instruments, Inc., the course, says Chow, was an instant hit. “It was filled within a few hours.” Over the semester, students spent 25 percent of the time working with local app developers and guest lecturers in music theory; the other 75 percent was spent on the coding. Final projects ranged from sound mixers to auto-soundtrack systems that can detect the mood of YouTube videos and suggest a soundtrack from a library of music.

Chow is very grateful to Steinway for opening up creative academic opportunities and hopes to repeat the course this spring. “I liked what Steinway was interested in: anything that can help facilitate the new generation to play music and share work with people all over the world.”

Take a peek inside the “Music Apps for the iPad” class:

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Loop Loop Revolution

Joo Yong Kang, A13, John Bradley, A15, and Scott Jacobson, A15, may have created the next video game craze as part of their final project for their class Music 66. Their game, “Loop Loop Revolution,” consists of a control panel, four hip panels, and four foot panels. The player creates various beats by touching the panels with their hands and feet. A combination of “Dance Dance Revolution” and “Guitar Hero,” the device is more than just a game–it’s a student-invented piece of musical engineering:

Music 66, or Electronic Musical Instrument Design (known to some as EMID), is a course taught by Paul Lehrman that uses MIDI software synthesis to make new ways of creating music. For more, check out Prof. Lehrman’s course site as well as a previous student project for Music 66.

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GetchaBooks–Everywhere!

Every Jumbo on the hill since spring 2010 knows and raves about GetchaBooks, a free service created by Jumbos that searches for the books you need for a semester and compares prices to help you purchase the most cost-effective option, all based on your classes! Since its inception that spring, the site has been a runaway hit, earning them recognition in Inc.com and TechCrunch. A year after their success on the hill, GetchaBooks made their way onto more than 1,200 other campuses.

Two years since the fateful launch of the site, two members of the GetchaBooks founding team, Michael White and Ricky Mondello, both A12, graduated from Tufts and moved on to bigger projects that unfortunately leave little time for expanding the site. But fear not, current Jumbos! GetchaBooks will still be around for the Fall 2012 semester and may continue to expand to schools near and far. Mondello and White, along with co-founder and Bard graduate Michael Walker, have chosen to release their code for GetchaBooks so anyone with a knack for coding and love for saving money on textbooks can bring the site to their school. In their own words,

“We want you to take our code and build your own take on GetchaBooks, specifically for your school or region, to help even more students save money. As a bonus, you can make money for yourself through online bookstore affiliate programs, or you can donate the money to charity.

[...] Have fun!”

With their generous action, we’re sure students everywhere will save on textbooks! For more on GetchaBooks, check them out on Twitter and Facebook.

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