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innovation + creativity = 10

That’s right!

On Saturday, May 6, 2017, we will celebrate the ten-year anniversary of Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival.

Mark your calendars and look for many more blog posts about what we have in store for our anniversary – which also happens to be Dr. Bill Destler’s finale as President!

By the way, if you are reading this and you were an exhibitor in the inaugural festival (2008)? We want to hear from you!  Please respond in the comments and let us know if (and how) we can contact you.


Exhibit Featurette #3: So Many More S’mores

A crowd favorite at the Imagine RIT festival, More S’mores, is sure to bring in more crowds than ever this year. Not only because the group has expanded, but also because they have also improved and doubled their s’more making efforts by introducing a new portable s’more machine! Both groups are part of the Senior Design Manufacturing Engineering Technology course here at RIT.
If you haven’t experienced the s’mores machine before here’s how it works. To create the perfectly roasted s’more, the team has built a self-contained automated s’more making unit. This will be the third rendition, S’mores 3.0 if you will, and it will be the best yet. Not only have they made the process faster, but they’ve also received a sponsor from Hershey’s for four different types of chocolate this year. The visitors will be able to choose between white chocolate, cookies and cream, milk chocolate, or dark chocolate. There are also unique choices for the graham cracker portion which includes, chocolate, cinnamon, or honey. To put the final touch on the experience,  you’ll get a little package labeled with MFET including your s’more inside.
Here’s a video about last year’s s’mores maker!
Now if you’re wondering what the difference is between the portable version and the original, here’s some of the specs. The portable s’mores machine is much more compact that last year’s S’mores 2.0. The portable unit will also run off of a standard 120-volt wall outlet
Are you still worried about wait time for this fabulous exhibit? Well, the new innovations on both machines can have multiple s’mores being created at once! You’ll just have to wait to see the completed results at Imagine RIT on Saturday May 7th, 2016! Both exhibits can be located in the Gordon Field House.

Exhibit Featurette #2: Experience New Interactions with DIVIDR

The team that created DIVIDR participated and placed first in the 2016 iOS App Challenge  competition which took place earlier this semester. The event was a hackathon sponsored by Apple.  The mission of this year’s app challenge was to create an app that utilized multiple operating systems. For those that don’t know, Apple currently supports four operating systems: iOS, OS X , watchOS, and tvOS.

The DIVIDR team initially created their game app for iOS using Apple’s native language, swift. Then, taking that same app, they optimized it for the tvOS system. The hackathon ran from Thursday, January 28th through Midnight on Sunday the 31st. Out of the 25 teams that entered the hackathon, DIVIDR rose to the top, taking first place.

Now, you may be wondering what kind of app could work on multiple devices. So, now I introduce to you, DIVIDR.

At Imagine RIT, you will be able to experience the different control methods for this app on cell phones, tablets, and a television. To operate the app on the phone, the team had to develop the game to work with the new pressure technologies. On the tablet, they are experimenting with using gyroscopic tilt control of the Apple Pencil to manipulate the game. Then, for the television application, they plan on using the swipe gestures of the remote’s track pad to navigate.

This fun exhibit will be located in the Recreation Zone in the Gordon Field House at Imagine RIT on Saturday, May 7th, 2016. To add this exhibit to Plan Your Day go here:  For more info on the hackathon and their app visit:

Poster Design Contest Winner Announced!

Can you believe it’s already time to announce the Imagine RIT poster design contest winner? We are only 50 days away from Imagine RIT 2016! We hope you are getting as excited as we are. We’ve got so many new and fun exhibits this year, plus the crowd favorites.

Now, it is time to announce the winner of the annual poster design contest! The RIT community and Dr. Destler have collectively casted over 10,000 votes and have come to a consensus. Without further ado, the winner of the Imagine RIT poster design contest for 2016 is Kelly Hurlburt! She is a third-year majoring in new media design here at RIT and is from Webster, NY. As the winner of this contest, she will be awarded with $500 Tiger Bucks.

Her poster consists of various details that truly emulates what Imagine RIT is all about. If you look closely enough you might be able to find the popular S’mores machine seen at previous Imagine festivals as well as Dr. Destler’s weather machine.


This was one of the many 75 great designs that RIT students put forward this year. We would like to highlight Noah Greene who placed 2nd in this year’s design contest. He will get an award of $250 Tiger Bucks. Be sure to get your free copy of this poster at Imagine RIT on Saturday, May 7th from 10a.m. to 5p.m.!

Exhibit Featurette #1: Art from Coffee

You won’t believe your eyes when you first see these incredible pieces of art! They are definitely not your ordinary paintings. All of these paintings are made from coffee. Yes, coffee. The Coffee Drip Painter created by RIT’s own photography professor, Ted Kinsman, can paint portraits of people just by using some leftover coffee.


This printer doesn’t require any inks, but runs purely on coffee. However, it can use other liquids. Kinsman was inspired by his left over coffee every morning and decided to play with the medium a little bit more. To achieve different looks, the machine can experiment with the height at which the droplets are dropped, the intensity of color, size of the droplets, and the material being printed on. All of these will affect the outcome of the final image.


The printer is particularly great at printing photos of human faces once they are simplified. The machine is powered by a microcontroller and has memory to store enough for approximately an 80 x 100 pixel image. If you’re wondering how long it takes to print a portrait, it’s about an hour. The longest part of the whole process is waiting for it to dry, which takes about a full day.


If you want to see this awesome machine in action, be sure to come to Imagine RIT: Innovation + Creativity Festival on May 7th, 2016!


Connect your mind: TWC @ Imagine RIT

With over 30,000 visitors annually, the Imagine RIT festival can attribute its success to its various planning committees, volunteers and sponsors. One sponsor in particular has returned, now for the 6th year in a row, as our premier sponsor, providing the festival with significant support both in terms of marketing and visitor engagement. Time Warner Cable (TWC), through their Connect a Million Minds (CAMM) program, has helped broaden the Imagine RIT audience beyond Greater Rochester and has brought STEM awareness and activities to more students than ever before.

The Time Warner Cable logo next to the Connect a Million Minds Logo

Stephanie Salanger, Northeast Community Investment Manager at Time Warner Cable, has worked with Connect a Million Minds since its creation back in 2009. “The program came about at the time when President Obama had an initiative to get more kids [K-12] engaged in STEM programs” said Salanger. “This presented us [TWC] with the perfect opportunity to lend support with a program like CAMM.”

Launched officially in 2009, Connect a Million Minds is a one hundred million dollar grant funded initiative aimed at addressing America’s declining proficiency in science, technology, engineering and math. Using its media assets, TWC has created nationwide awareness of the issue encouraging parents, teachers and mentors to inspire 1,000,000 young minds with after school STEM programs. Despite having exceeded their target of one million minds in May 2014, TWC continues to support events and organizations year-round so that K-12 students develop the STEM skills needed to become the next generation of problem solvers.

What Salanger loves about Imagine RIT is its ability to engage people the minute they reach the campus and maintain that connection until they leave. There’s a wide variety of exhibits for everyone to enjoy – more than 400 of them to be specific, and these include very interactive activities. Even more importantly, kids are learning without even knowing it! Beyond Imagine RIT, Salanger has also worked with the Rochester Museum and Science Center, YMCA, Rochester Community Robotics, and Geva Theater.

On behalf of all the organizers of Imagine RIT, we thank you, Time Warner Cable, for your continued support!

Destler Talks Destler’s Challenge

Current President of RIT:  Dr. Bill Destler

As the first year of Imagine RIT came to a close in 2008, 17,000 visitors could testify to the uniquely innovative and creative spirit of RIT students, faculty and staff. They had perhaps thought they’d “seen it all”; however, one man’s imagination begged to take the showcase of Imagine RIT even further. “I got interested in electric vehicles, which is an interesting story in itself, but I basically thought they were a fraud,” said current RIT president Bill Destler. An engineer who knew better than to simply trust his assumption, President Destler bought an electric scooter to tinker with and test for himself. He was continually amazed by its efficiency and low costs of operation which transformed his doubt into a fascination that he wanted to share with others. Thus, the first Dr. Destler’s Challenge at Imagine RIT was born.

Destler’s Challenge has traditionally been a sustainable, primarily electric vehicle, based event that is featured every year prior to the opening ceremony of Imagine RIT. The challenge is open to all teams of RIT students, faculty, staff who build or modify a vehicle that is capable of tackling the current year’s challenge. Winners of the challenge get a choice between a $1000 cash prize or one of Destler’s antique banjos from his private collection.

Last year’s challenge was the E-vehicle Autocross where teams had to build e-vehicles and race around a specified track set up in one of RIT’s parking lots. In 2013, participants had to focus on endurance rather than maneuverability, and were asked to modify and drive a “Power Wheels” children’s toy vehicle.


Photo from a previous Destler’s Challenge

The 8th annual festival on Saturday, May 2 will bring a major shift in Destler’s Challenge by veering from land-based vehicles to air-based vehicles, namely UAVs. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAVs) come in many different forms, shapes and sizes. To level the playing field and to make the contest accessible to more students, each team has been given the same kit containing a type of UAV called a quadcopter due to its reliance on four rotors.

As Destler correctly points out, “UAVs have this sort of reputation for being weapons carriers…they have a lot of other applications like photography or shipping.” These other applications will be shown through this year’s challenge, which takes place in RIT’s new arena, the Gene Polisseni Center, starting at 8:30 a.m. on May 2. Teams will remotely pilot their crafts along a specified course, stopping to take photographs of “pedestrians” (i.e. life-sized stand ups of RIT administrators). The second part of the challenge will demonstrate preprogrammed autonomous tasks of each team’s choosing. In order to show his support, President Destler and his quadcopter will also be on the course with the other competitors.

An example of the Parrot UAV Kit given to all the teams

President Destler hopes the challenge will increase the “technical literacy” of its viewers and competitors, as well as demonstrate the many capabilities of UAVs beyond their military connotation. He also wants it to be an entertaining experience that will keep people coming back for more next year. As for the future of the challenge? “We’ll continue them for as long as I’m here,” said Destler. “The real challenge will be to come up with interesting new ideas. Will we shift [technologies] again next year? Who knows?”