Adrian Boteanu / Sun Staff Photographer

April 20, 2017

Project Teams Shine in BOOM Showcase

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The BOOM showcase for innovations in digital technology — sponsored by Cornell Computer and Information Science and Engineering — aimed to demonstrate the creativity of Cornell students in problem solving as well as the benefits of teamwork on Wednesday.

The showcase was supported by industry giants such as Disney and Verizon, who participated in sponsorships of $6,000 or $3,500, which contributed to $500 cash prizes awarded to 12 selected projects at the showcase.

The showcase, at which 46 graduate and undergraduate groups presented projects, was in its 19th year of displaying projects pertaining to games, robotics and phone apps, and undergraduates took center stage in two of the more popular exhibits: the Cornell University Autonomous Underwater Vehicle and the Cornell Mars Rover.

The Autonomous Underwater Vehicle team works with robots that complete obstacle courses underwater without guidance from the students, according to Cora Peterson ’19 and Kevin Guo ’19. Students do all the paperwork, funds, programming and building themselves, and they will compete in a national competition in San Diego this July, where they hope to win for the seventh year in a row.

“It’s a really great experience that you wouldn’t necessarily get in a class,” Peterson said about the club. “We are like a mini company.”

“It’s really cool to have something end-to-end run by us undergraduates,” Guo added.

The annual People’s Choice Award — which is awarded to the project that garners the most votes from event attendees — was given to the Cornell Mars Rover. This project, also run completely by undergraduate students, competes in a national competition in Utah this June, according to team member Mariana Licon ’19.

The Mars Rover must be be designed, built and operated by the students to complete a “variety of field tasks that actual Mars rovers face on missions to the Red Planet,” according to the CMR website.

“It’s really fun and you get to do more hands-on engineering than just classes,” Licon said.

Licon added that she hoped the showcase would generate more interest in engineering, especially for women.

“I’m really hoping that that gets more kids, and especially girls into engineering,” she said. “We want to showcase it, let people see what we’re doing [and] get people more excited about that too.”