This ScienceFest 2021 conference session will include project presentations by SPACErs, exploring a range of topics including engineering robotics, data science, artificial intelligence, sustainability and intersections of the arts and sciences.
The Automated Garden
The Automated Garden is a work-in-progress eco-conscious project to encourage home and community gardening. It is an automated, Arduino-controlled gardening system that will take care of your plants for you until they are ready to be transplanted. The ambition is to be able to monitor plant ‘vitals’ such as soil moisture, temperature, humidity, soil NPK, sunlight exposure, and respond to needs based on the plant type.
Dawson College Heat Map Project
During the last two decades, Global Warming has been one of the most important issues that scientific communities and governments have been trying to address. The higher temperature in urban areas relative to rural areas shows significant warming trends through the phenomenon called the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect. The main cause of UHI in cities is thought to be the vertical growth of buildings and the reduced ratio of green areas to residential and commercial areas. This project aims to determine how data-driven research and monitoring can help to investigate the effects of green spaces on the Urban Heat Island. In this presentation I will report on the status of plans for producing a heat map of the Dawson College campus to study this phenomenon locally.
The goal, in collaboration with the SPACE and Sustainable Dawson initiatives, is to produce a real-time heat monitoring platform to analyze the effects of increasing the amount of vegetation density of the campus on temperature. The hypothesis is that increasing the amount of vegetation can reduce UHI impacts. Assuming this is true, what are good strategies for greening urban areas? I will explore the idea that local climate actions, at the scale of the Dawson College campus, can add up to bigger effects when others also take action and contribute their data-driven insights to a larger citizen science effort.
Treehugger: A Social App for Reconnecting with Nature
Xiaowei Yu, Hristo Sandev, Shawn Maor
With the ongoing pandemic, many have been forced into physical and social isolation from others. As a remedy, teenagers and young adults have turned to social media, the use of which is now at an all-time high. However, living a sedentary life and overusing social media can be detrimental to one’s mental health. So, how can we improve mental health and encourage physical activity at the same time?
With our TreeHugger app, users will be able to post messages on trees when within a certain radius of their location. For example, a person having a bad day can walk to a tree and leave a virtual message. Other users will be able to see their message and send them some kind words. The app is designed to encourage people to go outside for some fresh air while also providing a safe space for self-expression without judgment. Messages will be moderated by an AI bot using natural language processing to prevent harm to others. In the future, we also have plans to add features that encourage environmental awareness and protection as part of our larger goal to reconnect people with nature and each other in this time of difficult social isolation.
Talking with Chatbots: AI and the Future of NLP
AI technologies are lately occupying the attention of many scientists, engineers, developers. With expanding knowledge of machine learning algorithms applications, natural language processing (NLP) has become a very active area. The success of NLP poses many questions for a technology-driven future. How might we have an intellectual connection with non-human beings in a future world where technology will dominate our lives? How are we supposed to include AI in society? Will we accept and befriend them? My project explores the world of intelligent chatbots. I don’t have technical results yet, but I will present ideas about how we can interact with AI chatbots using NLP. AI chatbots from developers such as Facebook and Google already have shown significant promise and influence many people’s interactions. My goal is to present the background research on existing conversational models and reflect on potential future applications.
Exploring Machine Learning Through Google’s AIY Vision Kit
Mateo Nieto Galindo
I will be presenting an image recognition device built using AIY Google’s Vision Kit. This device uses machine learning to recognize objects, faces, people, cats, and dogs. In this presentation, I will demonstrate how to connect the device to both the computer and a smartphone, and an overview of what “out-of-the-box” demos are available with the vision kit. I will show how to use the device to experiment with machine learning and explore the world of artificial intelligence computer vision applications.
Science en Tourne Robot
with a demonstration of a gravity-powered robot
The project consists of designing a mechanism for an engineering competition, Science On Tourne. The mechanism must transform gravitational potential energy in order to make a round trip in the shortest possible time. With my team, I designed, tested, and assembled the mechanism. We had multiple ideas for the transformation of energy: magnets, springs, gears and weights with pullies. We also had numerous ideas for the gravity propulsion mechanism: a ramp, a spring, and a pendulum. All of these were analyzed and some were tested via multiple iterations.
I will present the design of the mechanism, how we did it, and certain decisions that my team took to optimize the vehicle. I will show the 3D model of my first design idea, and talk about what improvements can be made.
TransLuminal 2.0: Going Beyond the Speed of Light
This presentation surveys the underlying science that inspired TransLuminal, originally completed in 2015, and announces a relaunch of the upgraded project.
TransLuminal is a multilayered, illuminated 10’ x 5’ mural that explores the delineation of boundaries and the movement beyond them. Light provides the conceptual framework for the exploration through its origins in the Cosmos, its spectral properties and diverse symbolisms. The parameters are outlined by real scientific data and theory—interpreted through image transfer, the application of paint, texture, and other media on Plexiglas and Mylar, one layer over the other—and reinterpreted through the interactions and reflections of the many individuals who contributed to its co-creation. The scale of the collaboration is made explicit in the penultimate layer, which consists of a distributed grid of 6x6 inch sections, each painted by a member of the Dawson Community.
Recently, the electronics powering the light-box mural were replaced and upgraded. As part of a project relaunch, the Dawson College community and others will be invited to interpret, through creative imagery and short reflections, what it means to go beyond the speed of light. Curated images submitted by participants will be uploaded to the light-box, adding a new layer of expression to this exploration of the intersections of the arts and sciences which is a hallmark of the SPACE initiative.