Yale Undergraduate Rover Association

Yale Undergraduate Rover Association

Though the semester is just beginning, the Yale Undergraduate Rover Association (YURA) has already been seen experimenting on science hill, laser cutting, and performing tests in the CEID. The team competed against 20 other schools at the University Rover Challenge last May, and after a strong start plans to go back again this year with a revamped arm, wheels, chassis, and soil sampling system. The competition involves four different tasks: soil sampling, equipment servicing, astronaut assistance, and terrain traversal.

PremieBreathe

PremieBreathe

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) the deaths of 3 million babies and women are preventable. WHO also estimates that 80% of all newborn deaths result from preventable and treatable conditions. A team of students at Yale has addressed this problem by creating an affordable device for the developing world. Their system, a humidified high flow nasal cannula created in the CEID, is meant to help premature and neonatal babies breath, getting them past the first 28 days of life, when many of these infant deaths occur. The team, PremieBreathe, aims to create an alternative to the devices running upwards of $5000 that can be found in hospitals across the US.

Final Presentations of CEID Classes

Final Presentations of CEID Classes

With the end of fall semester came the conclusion of the three classes taught in the CEID this past term: Medical Device Design and Innovation (BENG/MENG 404), Musical Acoustics and Instrument Design (ENAS 344/MUSI 371), and Mechanical Design Implementation (MENG 489). These presentations brought interested Yale community members into the Center over the course of three days.

Yale Aerospace Rocket Launches

Yale Aerospace Rocket Launches

“We have continuity. Alright, K1110 lightin’ up in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Ignition.” The bright red Archimedes, a prototype multistage rocket, shot into the air straighter than any launch current team members remembered. This past Saturday, November 15th, the Yale Undergraduate Aerospace Association (YUAA) took two of their project teams, the rocket competition team and the multistage team, to the CTRA launch field in Cobleskill, NY to test their rockets.

Twinkling T-shirts

Twinkling T-shirts

The CEID has always been a great place to find exciting science and engineering in unexpected subjects. This past Wednesday’s brand new workshop, Twinkling T-shirts, uncovered yet another of these opportunities. CEID Design Fellow Ngoc Doan led participants in designing their own shirts with a little extra flare.

Hacking Health

Hacking Health

This past Saturday October 11th, the CEID filled with people from all corners of campus to address problems in healthcare and global health. The CEID was the second venue for Hacking Health @ Yale, which began at the Yale School of Medicine and finished at the Yale School of Management. Organized by Yale’s Center for Biomedical Interventional Technology (CBIT), InnovateHealth Yale (IHY), and the Biomedical Innovation Student Club, with help from the CEID and MIT Hacking Medicine, the event focused on innovation and entrepreneurship within the space of healthcare.

Virtual Reality in the CEID and the CEID in Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality in the CEID and the CEID in Virtual Reality

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Activity in the CEID has picked up so quickly that it is difficult to imagine that just a few months ago, the classes and clubs now filling the space had not started up for the year. However, it was anything but empty in the summer months; from June through August, the CEID Summer Fellows filled the Center. In its second year, the CEID Summer Fellowship program took on a wide variety of exciting projects, from interactive art made with printed circuits to a green climate control system for the Solar Decathlon. One team, Hack Reality, is currently working to install a station in the CEID to share their summer’s work with the wider Yale community. 2

Hack Reality is a team composed of two members of the class of 2016, Derek Gritz, an economics major, and Kevin Tan, a physics major. Using Oculus Rift glasses and an Xbox Kinect, the pair created an interactive virtual reality environment. In their world, not only can you visualize images in 3D through the Oculus, but you can also grab, throw, walk, and more. Because of all the hard work Hack Reality is doing interfacing software, it will ultimately be pretty simple; the Kinect senses your movement, the computer makes it a reality, and the Oculus lets you experience it.

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Derek and Kevin hope that this tool may become useful in architecture, by giving designers an easy and intuitive way to actually understand how different materials, items, and colors would look in context.

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To conclude the summer project, the Hack Reality imported the Google SketchUp files created by Charney Architects LLC, who designed the CEID just a few years ago. The pair incorporated changes made in the Center since its original design, from the material of the tables to little hints of each of the summer fellowship projects. Now they aim to make this tool available to the public and are finishing setting up a working station in the CEID by the end of the term. When it is complete, any CEID member will be able to put on the Oculus Rift and walk into a simulated CEID, where they can immerse themselves in a virtual, interactive CEID experience.

Musical Acoustics and Instrument Design

Musical Acoustics and Instrument Design

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Since its beginning, the CEID has been pushing the bounds of engineering at Yale. This term, the Center continues this endeavor as it hosts the only course cross-listed in both music and engineering. The course, Musical Acoustics and Instrument Design, is taught by the CEID’s own Dr. Larry Wilen and the Department of Music’s Konrad Kaczmarek. The class covers topics ranging from the physics of sound waves to the design of musical instruments. The students aren’t just learning how these instruments work and building them; they are designing instrument after instrument and actually playing them! 1

The CEID fills with sounds when the class meets. The first project involved building a xylophone in class and developing resonators for homework. After working on the xylophone as a group, the class moved on to strings. They started simple with a pluckable one-string instrument in class. However, out of class, they turned to CorelDRAW and the laser cutter to design and make their very own violins, ukuleles, and more. The class table filled with instruments of all shapes and sizes: some that are plucked, some played with a bow, and others whose strings are simply hit. Each instrument is unique and produces a unique sound. From percussion to strings, the course has covered it.

In their most recent project, the students have taken inspiration from saxophones and other woodwinds to build an instrument with the general shape and sound of a clarinet. The group learned where to position finger holes in order to play certain sounds, and the physics of mouthpieces, as they built their own.

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The students in the course aren’t just engineers: the course has attracted many musicians, with a large contingent of music majors, a cappella singers and ensemble members. The interdisciplinary nature of the course has gotten the attention of YaleNews, and even of the attendees of the NYC MakerCon. Check out this YaleNews article to see a performance on the xylophone and hear more about how the course has helped set a trend of collaboration between the arts and sciences.

Musical Acoustics and Instrument Design has brought together a whole new variety of people into the CEID, and their xylophones, guitars, and woodwinds resonate throughout the space!

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CEID Workshop Kickoff

CEID Workshop Kickoff

Fall 2014 Engine Workshop

With the beginning of a new school year comes a whole new set of exciting happenings in the CEID, including classes, clubs, projects, and, of course, Wednesday Workshops! To kick off the year, there have been a few old favorites, including Bulldog Bot’s Night Light Workshop and the CEID Engine Teardowns, as well as new workshops, such as the SolidWorks workshop run by the Yale Undergraduate Aerospace Association (YUAA). Many of these workshops are taught by CEID staff and members of clubs affiliated with the space. 1

In the semester’s first workshop, participants went from no knowledge of voltage or current to building their own night lights in a matter of hours. After a quick overview of circuits, Bulldog Bots members and workshop instructors Chris Datsikas (‘16) and Bernardo Saravia (‘15) had the group soldering LEDs and resistors to protoboards. After some hard work and quick learning, everyone went home with homemade lights.

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The following week, CEID Aides Riley Rice (‘15) and Genevieve Fowler (‘16) brought back the ever-popular Engine Teardown workshop. The workshop was so popular last year that staff made sure to get two more engines so that more people could participate. Attendees got their hands dirty, taking apart engines piece by piece and asking questions each step of the way.

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YUAA’s Jeff Gau (‘16) and Bolun Liu (‘16) led a group that spilled out of Dunham computer lab in last week’s SolidWorks workshop. In the course of an hour, everyone had made their very own picture frame, ready to be 3D printed on the MakerBots in the CEID. A large portion of the group stayed late to learn some more advanced skills and to further customize their frames with special patterns and dimensions.

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CEID workshops are meant for anyone, not just engineers, looking to learn about technology, engineering, and design. Undergraduates, faculty, and everyone in between are welcome to sign up. In the past, topics have included chocolate tempering, the science of bubbles, and musical instrument acoustics and construction. Be sure to check out next week’s workshop, in which you will get to program your own Android apps with no prior experience using MIT’s App Inventor!

CEID Class Final Projects

CEID Class Final Projects

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The students in the design-based classes taught in the CEID have been presenting their final projects this week and last. The students in these classes ave been working all term to both acquire the skills to solve the problems they faced and fully understand the problem. Once the infrastructure for innovation was laid, the students began designing and prototyping solutions. IMG_0132

In MENG 491, Appropriate Technology and the Developing World, the problem Instructors Joe Zinter and Robert Hopkins posed vaccine delivery in developing countries as the challenge for the class to address. Students dove into “the last mile” problem and learned about the final leg of the journey of vaccine delivery where the system does not guarantee safe delivery of unspoiled vaccines. There was also a focus on ways to encourage mothers to actually vaccinate their children once the clinics have these vaccines. The result was four student teams, each with solutions to different issues with vaccine delivery in the developing world.

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The solutions included a system for alerting clinicians when the vaccines have fallen out of the proper temperature range and rethinking the packaging of vaccines. These two teams aimed to prevent vaccines from spoiling be either becoming to warm or cool and becoming unusable in addition to letting clinic workers know when vaccines were unusable to prevent delivery of the now dangerous drug. Another team designed a single use, modular vaccine system for waste reduction, and ease to the patients. A fourth and final team designed an app and bracelet to track, store, and make available to doctors information about which vaccines children had received with RFID scanners. Additionally they have begun to lay the infrastructure to actually implement this system and plan to travel this summer to receive feedback on their system for the doctors, patients, and mothers currently involved.

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The ENAS 118 class has also been hard at work solving design challenges Yale based clients from the Peabody, Yale Farm, Marsh Botanical Gardens, the Yale Art Gallery, and the Math 115 course posed to them. The products this class of mostly inexperienced freshman came up with were amazing! One Yale Farm team designed a ‘Postman’ a simple wooden post with some electronics to monitor the temperature and humidity of the covered beds throughout the winter and colder months which would connect to wifi save information to a database, and alert the client when the cover should be lowered or raised. Other projects included an irrigation system for the Marsh Botanical Gardens and a computer game “Polar Plunge”, for the Math 115 class. One Peabody team designed an informative game about ants and the way they follow paths of pheromones to engage children in an otherwise adult centered photo exhibit. As younger students, the chance these potential engineers got to experience the design process, learn how to use the resources in the CEID, and get a taste of actually creating something was critical to building up the next class of innovators.

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The Green Engineering and Sustainable Design class will present their final projects this coming week. In this class, Professor Julie Zimmerman has encouraged a focus on modular design with sustainable parts that can easily be disassembled and reused at the end of its life. One student group is making a bike lock that will attach through a flower pot. The product has an unobtrusive design and components that can easily come apart. Make sure to come by the CEID next week to hear about their projects!

Yale Aerospace on the Move

Yale Aerospace on the Move

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Floating blimps and giant rockets have filled the CEID this week. The Yale Undergraduate Aerospace Association have been preparing their second and third rockets of the year, Omega and Chronos, to launch this weekend in upstate New York while also putting the final touches on their blimp for the ASME Lighter than Air Competition. IMG_3395

Friday the entire organization will mobilize. Two cars and a U-Haul will head to the URRG launch carrying three rockets and eleven team members. The UAV team will be launching the Omega for the first time. This 15 ft, 14 in diameter rocket is big enough to fit YUAA members inside, and, yes, this claim has been tested. They plan to fly the 100 lb rocket to 1500 ft on a L220 motor, one of the highest level you can launch in the northeast. In future launches the Omega will house a UAV in the form of an RC plane. The team has been hard at work designing and implementing a scissor wing mechanism so that the wings will fold parallel to the body to fit inside the rocket.

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The Rocket Competition team has built a smaller but equally impressive rocket, Chronos. At the URRG launch, Chronos will fly to about 2500 feet as a test for its 10,000 ft flight this summer. The team will be testing portions of their payload, a system to measure the effects of relativity during the rockets assent.

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The Lighter than Air team will be taking their angry birds blimp to Philadelphia where they will fly it through an obstacle course carrying a payload. Apart from the balloon shell, the team built the blimp from scratch, fighting gravity to stay afloat. In addition to helium, the blimp will use fans and a flapping tail fin to navigate through the air. Matthew Brady (’17) will pilot the craft.

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With all of YUAA out at competitions, you think the CEID might empty out, but between final presentations and other fast approaching competitions, the CEID will not quiet down for a second!

2D to 3D Workshop

2D to 3D Workshop

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This past Wednesday CEID Design Aide Catherine Jameson (’16) lead the first 2D → 3D Workshop. The workshop pushed participants to think outside the 3D printer. Instead participants used the laser cutter, Xacto knives, and the shopbot to cut two-dimensional material into shapes that can be transformed into a 3D structure. IMG_9917

The workshop began with a brainstorm of where you might see the 3D emerging out of 2D. The ideas suggested ranged from Chairigami and forms of architecture to balloons and curling crocheted scarves. The group then constructed a chair of their own using parts cut on the shopbot. Reports were that the chair was quite comfortable!

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The participants then broke off into groups either playing with foam core to create small structures from the flat surface or working on creating an outline of their own profile using Adobe Illustrator. Once everyone had had a chance to trace their profile the faces were cut out on the laser cutter. Using notched pieces of wood each participant then fit their heads onto bodies with laser cut bendable wooden necks.

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On top of gaining a new understanding of the possibilities of flat surfaces through folds, cuts, and notches, everyone also left with an entirely wooden bobble head!

The Integrated Graduate Program in Physical and Engineering Biology

The Integrated Graduate Program in Physical and Engineering Biology

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The CEID is a haven for students who have a passion for creating and innovating, but the students are not limited to undergraduates or mechanical engineers. Through the Integrated Graduate Program in Physical and Engineering Biology (IGPPEB), graduates studying biology can learn about the CEID’s resources and pursue projects that interest them. This Wednesday evening, Paul Muir sat at the Makerbot station. Paul is studying synthetic biology and created a program in Matlab to convert data on the shape of proteins into stl files. The proteins can then be 3d printed in the CEID and will be used in classes to demonstrate how different proteins fit together.

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When asked about her project, Catherine McGuinness, excitedly bounced over to the back corner of the CEID where she pulled out a test tube rack that she designed to easily dip test tubes in liquid nitrogen, and then 3-d printed herself. Catherine is a first year grad student with an interest in cytoskeletons and motor proteins. She studied physics as an undergraduate and is also working with Breakthrough New Haven, a program for high potential middle school students, to make components for a physics module. She designed a car, its wheels, and axles in Solidworks. She then printed these parts on the Makerbot and Objet and cut a track using the laser cutter. The students will be able to perform experiments, testing how various tracks and weight distributions effect frictional forces and how the car moves.

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Jennifer Gains and Jerimiah Johnston, who study computational biology and molecular biophysics respectively, have programmed and constructed a 3D scanner. Much of the structure of the scanner was either laser cut or 3d printed right in the CEID, and the team has also been working to write code that will interpret data from the laser and construct a 3d model of the object being scanned.

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The students all commented on how they loved the interdisciplinary and collaborative nature of the class. Jeremiah in particular noted that the class provides an opportunity for “wetlab people to do something in a workshop.” If you see any of these projects being worked on in the CEID, don’t hesitate to ask questions; the group is eager to share!

It's a bird... It's a plane... It's Creative Thinking!

It's a bird... It's a plane... It's Creative Thinking!

Final Planes

“Make a paper airplane,” Ian Gonsher said addressing the crowd containing engineering undergrads, architecture students, neuroscience researchers, and Chemistry graduates. Ian is on the faculty at the School of Engineering at Brown and led this week’s Wednesday Workshop, titled Throwing Paper Airplanes at the Moon. The group set to work, most beginning by folding an 8.5 by 11 inch piece of paper down the middle. The result was a fairly similar group of conventional looking planes with flapped wings and pointed noses. The group lined up, Ian counted down, and plain white paper flew, or in many cases flopped, through the air and to ground. IMG_0012

One grad student was asked which plane he thought was most successful. He pointed to the one that had traveled the farthest, giving the distant as the reason for his choice. In response Ian crumpled up a piece of paper and threw it farther than any of the planes had traveled. “But its not a paper airplane,” responded the grad student. Throughout the workshop, Gonsher pushed the participants the challenge their perceptions of a successful airplane and its performance. The workshop focused on rapid prototyping, and after a few iterations, Ian even began to suggest that some of the airborne objects were no longer airplanes.

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Chris Datsikas’ (’16) first plane did a front flip reliably every time it was flown. Ian found this interesting and brought it to the attention of the group. In the next iteration a few planes played off this concept of flipping, and after a few more prototypes, the same grad student who originally picked the farthest traveling plane as the best had constructed a paper object that spun as it fell vertically.

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With this move away from horizontal flight, the playing field was open. People began drawing on the pieces of paper and digging into the pile of nonpaper supplies that had been in front of them the whole time. A discussion of the release method of the “planes” resulted in a dart-like flying object launched by blowing through a straw. This circular shape inspired Alex Carillo ('16) to make a plane out of a hollow truncated paper cone, with the hope of creating a simplified design for a paper airplane that glides well.

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The workshop took a step away from the usual problem solving, specific goal oriented approach of many projects, and instead emphasized a creative process where the outcome and its function are fluid. Gonsher inspired a room full of adults to step away from the bounds of what they knew and playfully create beyond the constraints of a paper airplane.

CEID Office Hours

CEID Office Hours

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Mark your calendars! The CEID recently began hosting weekly office hours with a variety of professors. The office hours have been and will continue to be times when you can simply walk in to the CEID and ask all of your questions. The faculty are ready to talk about research, STEM fields, academia, or careers, but are also well equipped to answer questions on just about anything. Since the program’s beginning in mid February, the CEID has welcomed biomedical engineering professor Stuart Campbell, computer science professor Brian Scassellati, CEID Director Eric Dufresne, CSSSI Data Librarian Kristin Bogdan, and EE Research Support Specialist Kevin Ryan. The group has experience modeling human development by building robots and using all of the research resources available at Yale.

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The CEID has been lucky to have Kevin Ryan hold multiple sets of office hours over the past few weeks. Ryan has offered advice on senior projects and club projects, and shared exciting insights on engineering developments from his experience in the field. Ryan has experience as a R&D engineer and has developed code and designed circuit boards for Motorola.

Office hours will continue throughout the spring semester. Stop by to ask questions and learn an interesting fact or two!

Ardiuno Workshop

Ardiuno Workshop

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Tiny tank robots, dubstep DJing, and quadcopters: these projects featured in the CEID blog were made possible by one type of microcrontroller, an Arduino.. With the guidance of CEID aide, Alex Carrillo (’16), fifteen lucky CEID members got a chance to dive into the world of Arduino programming and wiring on Wednessday at the second Arduino Workshop. IMG_9630

After some background on basic circuitry, the workshop participants broke up into smaller groups. Starting with only a Sparkfun Inventor kit and a little bit of extra hardware, they were able to construct three wheeled vehicles that would respond to commands imparted by code they wrote on their computers and then uploaded to the Arduino. After connecting some wiring, attaching wheels, and sending commands, they instructed their robots to travel following a line of black tape.

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The flashing, pin-covered boards provide an easy interface between code written on a computer and the physical world, translating commands into action. Code can actually be uploaded to an Arduino, so its only dependence on the computer is for power. At any point the computer could be replaced with a nine volt battery and still run perfectly making these boards the perfect tool for fast and easy prototyping.

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Tiny Tanks

Tiny Tanks

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“It's so cute!”

The recognizable voice came from the back of the CEID. Alex Noonan (’14) was not referring to an adorable puppy, but a tiny, treaded, soon to be robot just the right size to fight in your hand.

Alex Noonan, Sam Samuelson (’14), and Spencer Alexander (’14) are designing, programming, and constructing a swarm of twelve tiny tanks to create a cooperative robotics system. The bots will independently whizz around, using sonar, photodiodes, IR sensors, and color detection to navigate and locate a specific payload to push.

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What makes this project different from many others is that these robots are not meant to be ultra smart and integrated. The group aims to create a system where each robot will act autonomously without communication with each other or a remote. The robots move around in a manner similar to ants. The insects respond to a hormone, like the bots responding to color and objects in their paths. The individual ant does not know much, but as a group, the ants can accomplish complex tasks. Similarly, the bots start with no knowledge of the arena other than that the payload is red and reflective. They do not learn and have no memory; they simply react instantaneously to conditions they see. “Intelligence arises from the system itself,” Sam says, rather than a compounding of knowledge of the surroundings.

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Why not allow for memory and more intelligence, or maybe some communication between the robots? These little guys are meant to be cheap both in terms of hardware and processing so that they are usable in all different types of conditions. For example, let’s say we thought, “wouldn’t it be easier if, as soon as one robot found the payload, it could communicate its position to the others?” This sharing of information would require an antenna on each of the bots capable of communicating a directional signal. The robots would then have to navigate to the specific point communicated, and their range would be limited by the antenna. These extra steps actually make the system more complicated than if the robots searched independently.

Be careful where you step as you walk around the CEID; the team hopes to have their first official prototype by the end of next week!

Musical Instruments Workshop

Musical Instruments Workshop

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If you were in the CEID Wednesday the 12th, you are well aware the first ever Musical Instruments Workshop was a huge success! By the end of the two hours, the workshop participants were serenading CEIDers with their new acrylic flutes.

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Hanoi Hantrakul (’15) and Dr. Larry Wilen have been working for months to design a workshop which teaches the basic physics of acoustics and allows participants to create their own recorder-like flutes on the laser cutter and in the machine shop.

Did you know the laser cutter can cut and engrave circular objects? The CEID laser cutter has a rotary stage meant to engrave pieces like vases and mugs. Larry and Hanoi created a special device to hold the tube which would become a flute into place. The rotary function allowed students to create a design on CorelDRAW which was then engraved on the flute. The workshop also took advantage of the mill using a CNC program to cut holes in the tube. The wooden mouthpeices were carved using files and then inserted into the tube, completing the flute.

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Soon after the flutes were finished, the CEID was filled with the tunes of Merry Had a Little Lamb, Do- Re –Mi, and more.

CEID Musical Instruments Workshop from Yale CEID on Vimeo.

MFA Photoboxes

MFA Photoboxes

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Each year the photography MFA class receives a thesis book comprised of their work. Each year, one graphic design MFA student is selected to design this book; however, as photography students’ projects have shifted towards installations and pieces that integrate photography in different ways, the book has changed as well. IMG_9280

Joao Doria is a graphic design MFA student from Brazil who likes the way his discipline combines problem solving and artistic work. Doria has been selected to create the “book,” which will take the form of a box, to hold the works of the photography MFA students this year. The projects include designs on cloth and sets of instructions for making a piece. Doria makes the box out of one continuous piece of 2D cardboard, taking advantage of the etch function of the laser cutter to create folds. Once the three dimensional shape of the box is finalized, Doria will create a design for its outside.

Yale Undergraduate Rover Association

Yale Undergraduate Rover Association

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If you have been in the CEID lately you are bound to have seen a wooden contraption with six legs and a boxy frame. The insect-like vehicle is a prototype for a rover conceived and built by the Yale Undergraduate Rover Association (YURA). Last May, Brian Clark (’16) saw an article about college students building a Mars rover to compete in Utah at the University Rover Challenge. Since then, he has been working with Ashton Wackym (’16) to form an organization with the goal of building a rover to represent Yale at this competition. Their efforts materialized as YURA. Students with backgrounds in subjects ranging from engineering to political science have teamed up to approach the multifaceted challenges posed in the competition rules.

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The University Rover Challenge puts a fifty kilogram limit on the vehicle and poses design challenges including terrain traversal, astronaut assistance, soil sampling to test for life, and equipment servicing. YURA’s rover is based loosely on current Mars rover designs and uses Rocker-Bogie suspension to passively react to the ground. Pat Wilczynski (’16) has designed a robotic arm with five degrees of freedom, and they will soon be laser cutting its parts. At the end of the arm will be a hand designed at Yale’s very own Grab Lab. The parts for this hand were printed on the Dimension just this past Tuesday.

Look out for YURA in the CEID this week as they begin fabricating their competition rover!