2003 Student Projects

iCampus has been tremendously successful in giving students real skills though applied learning and project management. The program solicits feedback from students for improvement, and has made a significant structural change based on this feedback. For the Spring 2003 semester, iCampus student project leaders are taking a course, EECS 6.096, that simplifies the administrative aspects of the program and provides project management training.

The 2003 iCampus student projects are:


Student PI: Katie Wasserman iQuarium Project Description

The iQuarium is a colorful, interactive aquarium display screen that will feature swimming fish and the flow field in their wake. Creating an animated fish screensaver with 3D modeling and rendering software has been done. Libraries of empirical data exist on fluid flow phenomena such as the complex vortices that form around live swimming fish. Researchers collect this data in tow tanks and water tunnels to analyze and better understand these phenomena. The tools to visualize this data are inaccessible to anyone other than researchers in the field. It takes weeks or even months to transform the sets of empirical data into visualizations using the latest software. For the iQuarium, vortical flow field visualizations will be broken down into a library and brought together into a pseudo-realtime sequence that a user can control.

Anyone who passes by the display will be able to see the vortices shedding almost instantly as the fish swims. The iQuarium project will bring hydrodynamics out of the lab into the hallway, for everyone to learn and play.

LAMP: Library Access to Music Project

Student PI: Keith Winstein

Keith Winstein, a junior in electrical engineering and computer science, and freshman Joshua Mandel want to make music more readily available to MIT students. They like some things about libraries, such as their large collections, and dislike others, such as the inconvenience of getting to one. Ideally, Winstein said, "You would have headphones connected to a very long wire to the library" and when you wanted to hear a particular CD, the librarian would play it for you. The next best thing is LAMP.

Through the web, MIT students can request one of the hundreds of CDs that Winstein and Mandel plan to buy and store electronically. The user would hear the music through one of the 16 TV channels that MIT Cable has made available to LAMP. This is completely legal, it turns out, and once a song has been requested, others as well as the person who made the request could enjoy it. The sound quality? "Better than FM radio,"Winstein said.

Distributed Collaboration System

Student PIs: Audrey Schaffer, Ryan Damico

Mars Gravity Biosatellite is a student-led project spread across three universities and two continents working to design, build, launch, and recover a low-Earth orbiting satellite in order to study the effects of Martian-level gravity on mammals. Students at MIT, the University of Washington, and the University of Queensland work in a highly interdisciplinary environment on engineering, science, business development, and program management. The projected launch date for the project is summer 2005, with an estimated total cost of $20 million.

Essential to team success is effective communication and collaboration for a group spread around the world. Through the iCampus project, Mars Gravity will create a "Distributed Collaboration System" that will allow easy, real-time access to information, scheduling and task tracking, and face-to-face communications for team members at all three universities. We will focus on data distribution, allowing all team members to access data and reports over the internet quickly and easily; project management, assigning and tracking action items, scheduling meetings across time zones, and coordinating management efforts; and video conferencing, conducting meetings more effectively by showing blackboard drawings and design prototypes in real-time. Modifying available software, the Mars Gravity Information Systems group will create a package of software that could be used by any project team working across large distances.


Student PI: Joe Heitzeberg

Most mainstream fitness equipment and workout facilities offer a convenient workout that can be tailored to an individual’s needs in an indoor environment. However, unlike other activities such as individual and team sports, treadmills and cycling equipment are not fun and stimulating enough for most participants. As a result, many people choose not to exercise on a regular basis and suffer short-term and long-term health risks. The aim of the CycleScore project is to determine what kinds of motivational experiences are most effective for aerobic exercise machines. CycleScore will provide a working system to the Zesiger Sport Facility that connects exercise bikes to a PC and monitor and can measure the relative effects of certain motivational experiences.

CycleScore’s long-term objective is to increase people’s desire to exercise by providing an exercise experience that is entertaining, motivational and fun. We intend to make this technology available to gymnasiums throughout the MIT campus and eventually to the greater Boston/Cambridge area in order to improve the overall welfare of the community.


Student PI: Patrick A. Anquetil

The laboratory environment provides an ideal place for evaluating new technologies and experimenting with revolutionary concepts of conducting research. In this project we propose to use TabletPC computers powered by Microsoft Windows XP as centralized and streamlined information systems helping scientists in their daily work of acquiring, storing and distributing information.

A typical task for a laboratory researcher consists of keeping daily records of his/her experiments in a lab notebook. Such a lab notebook contains for example descriptions of experimental setup, experimental data, chemical formulas, recipes, etc... ; all the necessary information so that a colleague can reproduce his/her experiments. In addition these records have a high value for the laboratory as their collection represents the entire lab knowledge base.

Classical lab notebooks have a major limitation: what goes into the lab notebook stays in the lab notebook. In addition just getting the information into the lab notebook in the first place is problematic. A digital user interface would be much more appropriate to support such processes. Hence our proposition to create an electronic version of the laboratory notebook: The iLabNoteBook.