High Schoolers Use Arduino Kits to Design Safer Railroad Crossing Systems in Westchester, NY

 

The Digital Arts Experience held its first ever Design Challenge on Saturday, December 3rd. The challenge focused on rail safety, more specifically, developing safer systems for rail crossings. Given the increasing number of train accidents and in the light of the recent bills signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to require the state to study rail crossings and assess their safety, we felt that High School students would be the ideal candidates to innovate and improve the dated and ineffective technology that is currently being utilized.

The teams were provided Arduino Uno boards, which are inexpensive microprocessors, and simple buttons, switches, LEDs, motors, and sensors to create their systems. Teams from Putnam Valley High School, Mamaroneck High School, and Mt. Vernon High School registered to face this challenge. The teams had approximately five hours to design, build, and test their systems, and everyone at The DAE as well as the judges were absolutely blown away by what the teams created.

_mg_3743The students from Putnam Valley High School created a self-aware system with sensors and volumetric cameras that could assess a car or any other object on a track (i.e. a fallen tree, power line, etc.) and notify the train operator and MTA control room. What’s more is their design had multiple levels of redundancy that took human error out of the equation. For example, if the system detected a car on the tracks, the train operator, and MTA control would be notified. If the train started to approach the zone in which it could safely stop before colliding with the obstruction and the train operator did not start to slow down, the system would slow down the train automatically. This system was thoughtfully designed and excellently executed. Using the simple technology provided, they demonstrated exactly how their system would detect, communicate, and intervene when needed. It had layers of systems that constantly checked on each other to ensure that no matter what, an impact will be avoided.

_mg_3690The team from Mamaroneck High School introduced several innovative ideas with their design. To start, their design employed a super bright LED strip right before the crossing that would change colors from green to yellow to red as a train approached the crossing. This is a simple yet effective system because it is a universal system for drivers, rather than abstract signs and lights that are currently used. Their system also had an array of video cameras viewing the track from all sides so the train operator can view the crossing well before the train arrives there. In addition, their design used a system of lasers to detect if an obstruction was on the tracks. The lasers would detect when a car enters and exits a crossing, and whether the car is stuck on the tracks. In the case that a car is stuck on the tracks, the system will alert the train operator and MTA control. If the train is approaching and the obstruction hasn’t moved, their design incorporated a conveyor system that would physically move the car off the tracks.

_mg_3755The Mount Vernon team was just a single High School student due to a few no-shows on his team. What’s more is that the student did not have any prior experience with Arduino or electronics, yet he took on the challenge head on. His design incorporated simple ideas with tremendous effect. Firstly, his design incorporated extremely bright LEDs to light and indicate a crossing. Currently, crossings are not lit with any special lighting, they simply have the crossbucks sign. He also included a counter that would count down the time until a train arrived at the crossing. Finally, he included a pressure sensor that would alert the driver if there is a car on the tracks.

The judges were struck by the richness of the ideas and the degree to which the teens could implement them with the limited technology that we provided. Considering that they completed these designs in approximately 5 hours is a staggering achievement. In the end, the team from Putnam Valley High School took home the $500 prize, but each team left with prizes and a sense of fulfillment for not only completing this challenge but for creating designs that could potentially save lives.

The beauty of having high school students design these systems is that they have no preconceived notions of business, money, or government. They simply want to solve the problem. Each team showed incredible intelligence, focus, determination, and innovation and all of us at The DAE know that they are going to go on to do incredible things.  

_MG_3770.jpg

Rob Kissner (The DAE’s President & CEO) & Alan Brody (Founder of StartupPalooza) with the winning team.

 

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Summer STEM Camp 2016 at The Digital Arts Experience in Westchester, NY

Summer STEM & Tech Camp 2016 at The Digital Arts Experience in Westchester, NY

Class in Makerspace

3D Printing, Animation, Coding & Computer Programming, Electronics, Design, LEGO, Minecraft, Photography & more!

Enthusiastic Instructors

Our friendly staff is trained in a special DAE teaching methodology that allows our programs to be both fun and educational!

 

100% Hands On

All programs are 100% hands-on & project based. Our small group setting enables more individual attention from the instructor.

 

Collaborate

Collaborate with like-minded individuals & make new friends with similar interests. Leave with original projects that can be used in a portfolio.

 

Strictly Anti-Bully

We provide a safe environment for kids where creativity, uniqueness and originality is celebrated. There is a zero tolerance policy for bullying of any kind.

Learn More

 

Visit our Summer STEM Camp Page to view more specifics:

http://www.thedae.com/summer-stem-camps/

To view the full schedule & register:

https://campscui.active.com/orgs/TheDigitalArtsExperience

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT – “My Experience at The DAE”, Victoria H., Age 11

August 21st, 2014- White Plains, NY, The Digital Arts Experience Inc. (The DAE) provides After School, Summer and School Break tech programs for kids and teens in Westchester County that are both educational and fun!

For this entry, Cristina asked Summer Camp helper Victoria to answer a few questions about her past, present and future thoughts on The Digital Arts Experience. Her answers are listed below.

After School & Saturday programs for kids & teens in Westchester County at The Digital Arts Experience in White Plains

2D Flash Animation student work from Summer 2014 camps: After School & Saturday programs for kids & teens in Westchester County at The Digital Arts Experience in White Plains.

 

Q. In your own words, what is the Digital Arts Experience?

A. The Digital Arts Experience is a creative environment for everyone. It is an amazing place for you to create digital items. Whether you want to create a website, direct your own movie or program a video game, the Digital Arts Experience is the place for you!

Summer Programs programs for kids & teens in Westchester County at The Digital Arts Experience in White Plains

Instructor Matt Lewis showcasing student work. Summer Programs programs for kids & teens in Westchester County at The Digital Arts Experience in White Plains run all the way through the end of August.

 

Q. Why do you like the DAE?

A. I like the Digital Arts Experience for many reasons. I love to work with the staff. They help me with my work, and they are just so awesome! Also, when it comes to the digital world, the possibilities are endless! 3D Printing, Music production, animation, even game programming–they have it all!

Print your own objects! 3D Printing and Scanning programs for kids & teens in Westchester County at The Digital Arts Experience in White Plains

Print your own objects! 3D Printing and Scanning programs for kids & teens in Westchester County at The Digital Arts Experience in White Plains

 

Q. What are some things you’ve learned at the DAE?

A. I learned so many things at the DAE. I learned how to make a movie with special effects, how to create my own music, and I even learned how to cross reality with animation!

 

Q. How do you think the DAE has helped kids and technology?

A. The DAE has taught kids many things. In all the classes I’ve ever taken, each kid there would learn something new. Whether it was learning how to do stop motion or how to make hilarious scenery, we would all learn something really cool. The teachers taught us how to make many things with certain software. (Final Cut Pro X, AfterEffects, Photoshop and more) And now that I know, I use it every day!

Parents, guardians, friends and family gather around for the Student Showcase, where students display the work they've created during camp and classes.

Parents, guardians, friends and family gather around for the Student Showcase, where students display the work they’ve created during camp and classes.

 

Q. What do you see in the future for the DAE?

A. I see many things in store at the DAE. I have a feeling it will become very popular. In my vision, the DAE will be well known for amazing classes. Whether it’s learning how to 3D print or how to create a music composition, I see great things for the DAE.

The Digital Arts Experience staff - 6 of whom recently received CPR, AED & First Aid certification includes Rob Kissner, President & CEO, Cristina Calabrese, Director of Operations & Co-Founder, Emily Angell, Scratch Instructor & Event Planner, Jess Hachigian, Director of Community Relations, Nick Sceusa, 3D Animation guru & Celina Bertoncini, Animation, 3D Printing & Scratch summer instructor.

The Digital Arts Experience staff – 6 of whom recently received CPR, AED & First Aid certification includes Rob Kissner, President & CEO, Cristina Calabrese, Director of Operations & Co-Founder, Emily Angell, Scratch Instructor & Event Planner, Jess Hachigian, Director of Community Relations, Nick Sceusa, 3D Animation guru & Celina Bertoncini, Animation, 3D Printing & Scratch summer instructor.

To view the schedule of classes for the upcoming Fall, check out: http://bit.ly/1tW12yy.

For questions or comments, feel free to send us an e-mail at info@TheDAE.com.

The Digital Arts Experience

170 Hamilton Avenue, Suite 100

White Plains NY, 10601

(914) 644-8100

www.TheDAE.com

facebook.com/TheDAExperience

Summer Tech Camps in Westchester off with a Blast!

The Digital Arts Experience (The DAE) Summer Tech Camps in Westchester, White Plains, NY– July 7th, 2014 marked the beginning of The DAE’s summer programming. With afternoon and morning sessions, the programs are flexible with your busy summer schedule!

Instructor Pete Monsanto of FlyLifeImages.com teaching a Digital Photography course

Instructor Pete Monsanto of FlyLifeImages.com teaching a Digital Photography course

For Summer Session 1, the Morning programs are:

  • 3D Minecraft Animation
  • 3D Printing
  • Digital Photography
  • Sound FX and Digital Music Production
  • Stop Motion Animation
  • Visual FX & Video Production

And for the Afternoon:

  • 3D Animation & Modeling
  • 3D Printing
  • Digital Photography
  • Game Programming with Java (x2)
  • Game Programming with Scratch

 

Morning session runs from 9:30AM – 12:00PM, and Afternoon from 1:00PM – 3:30PM. This summer marks the 2nd year that The DAE has been running tech programming for kids and teens. Compared to last year, the enrollment has nearly tripled!

summer-tech-camp-westchester-ny

President and founder Rob Kissner welcomes the students and goes over the ground rules on the first day of camp.

The Digital Arts Experience runs summer programming all the way until the end of August in 1 and 2-week long programs. To find out what programs are still available, check out their registration page at:  http://bit.ly/1jL46Wh or schedule a tour at by giving a call at (914) 644-8100 or e-mailing info@TheDAE.com!

Other summer programs include Graphic & Web Design, Intro to Computer Programming with Processing, Electronics using Arduino, 2D Flash Animation, Songwriting and more! Be sure to check out what is still available before classes fill up.

We hope to see you with us at The DAE this summer!

 

Digital Music Summer Camp in White Plains Westchester NY

Digital Music Summer Camp in White Plains, Westchester NY at The Digital Arts Experience. Spring & Summer options, no prior musical experience required.

New Digital Music Programs in White Plains, Westchester NY at The DAE

Digital Music Programs & Summer Camp in White Plains, Westchester NY at The DAE

TITLE

Music for Minecraft 

Ages 8-12

DESCRIPTION

Do you love Minecraft? Do you spend so much time breaking and placing blocks that you wish you could do more with your favorite game? Well now you can!  

  • write music to compliment your game 
  • create sound effects with foley
  • create a whole new sound for YOUR Minecraft and gaming experience!

Come have fun and learn some cool tricks of how to enhance your gaming experience in this unique music program!

WHEN

Session 1: July 7th – July 18th, 9:30AM – 12:00PM

Session 2: July 21st – Aug. 1st, 1:00PM – 3:30PM

Session 3: Aug 4th – Aug 15th, 9:30AM – 12:00PM

Session 5: Aug 25th – Aug 29th, 1:00PM, 3:30PM

Click here to register or learn more: 

https://campscui.active.com/orgs/TheDigitalArtsExperience#/selectSessions/629501


TITLE

Songwriting and Production 101

Ages 10+

DESCRIPTION

Did you ever wish you could write a song like Taylor Swift? Justin Timberlake? Rhianna? Will.i.am? Katy Perry? Pharrell? Lorde? Eminem? One Direction? Miley Cyrus? Jay Z? Beyonce? Ariana Grande? Pink? Or any other of your favorite performing artists and bands? 

This summer, learn how to write like the pros WITH a professional producer/composer and songwriter! Get hands on experience writing in a professional music studio and learn how to create catchy memorable lyrics that you’ll have your friends singing along to like you’re the next number one artist on Billboard’s Top 100!

WHEN

Session 1: July 7th – July 18th, 1:00PM – 3:30PM

Session 2: July 21st – Aug. 1st, 9:30AM – 12:00PM

Session 3: Aug 4th – Aug 15th, 1:00PM – 3:30PM

Session 5: Aug 25th – Aug 29th, 9:30AM – 12:00PM

Click here to register or learn more: 

https://campscui.active.com/orgs/TheDigitalArtsExperience#/selectSessions/629501


TITLE

Intro to Digital Music Production

Ages 8-12

DESCRIPTION

Whether you are a singer, in a band, play a musical instrument, or are just curious how to create your own sound effects, this class is for you! Students will work in our professional Recording Studio and learn how to use the soundboard and software (GarageBand, Logic Pro X). You’ll create and record your own music and sounds, as well as learn how to edit & mix!

WHEN

Session 4: Aug 18th – Aug 22nd, 9:30AM – 12:00PM

Click here to register or learn more: 

https://campscui.active.com/orgs/TheDigitalArtsExperience#/selectSessions/629501


TITLE

Music Studio Composition & Production

Ages 13+

DESCRIPTION

Are you thinking of starting a degree or career in the music industry? Are you starting your music degree in the fall? If you want to get a jumpstart in learning professional music composition and production or you want to see if this is the degree or career for you then this is your program!

Learn the basics on a college level and be confident when you walk into your major in the fall! Or, be confident that this is the career path for you! Work with a professional music composer, studio musician, arranger and producer that has and continues to work on hit television shows for major networks, blockbuster films and with world renown composers and performing artists!  You will work in The DAE’s state of the art music studio learning how to use Logic Pro to create professional songs and music compositions for film, television, commercials and even video games!

WHEN

Session 4: Aug 18th – Aug 22nd, 1:00PM – 3:30PM

Click here to register or learn more: 

https://campscui.active.com/orgs/TheDigitalArtsExperience#/selectSessions/629501

Ring in the New Year: Family Friendly New Year Activities in Westchester

The Digital Arts Experience is excited to support the New Rochelle Downtown Business Improvement District and our friends at Harquin Creative Group by helping Ring in the New Year on December 31st at New Roc City.

Ring in the new year new rochelle

According to NewRochelleNY.com the festivities are set to begin at 10:30 am and will feature face painting, arts and crafts, martial arts and sports demonstrations, snacks, clowns, magicians, games and more. At noon, 325th Anniversary Chair Marianne Sussman and committee members will join radio personality Jimmy Fink of 107.1 The Peak to ring in 2014 in true Times Square fashion with a thrilling release of thousands of festive, brightly-colored balloons!

Ring in the New Year Balloon Drop

If you’re looking for a fun, family-friendly way to spend your new year (where you won’t be out too late!), definitely check out Ring in the New Year tomorrow, bright and early!

Ring in the New Year Kids

An Hour of Code in Westchester: If this girl can learn computer programming, so can you.

Written by Emily Angell, Event Coordinator & Recording Studio Manager at the Digital Arts Experience, White Plains, NY.

I’ll be the first to admit that the term “coding” terrifies me, conjuring images of sitting in front of a computer for hours being forced to do math and look at numbers and logic statements, where inevitably I will fail at the most basic of tasks.

Fast forward to code.org‘s challenge for Computer Science Education week.  I began watching the creative and yes, somewhat inspiring videos all about learning to code, and how enjoyable it could be. And how beneficial! In addition to that, a couple of months ago we rolled out our first Game Programming with Java class at the DAE, where the kids literally build their own Rocket Launch game using Java (which can also be used in practical applications like coding elevator systems).  So I thought to myself, Okay Em, it’s time to get with the program.

Pun.

I began watching the first tutorial.  I learned single FORWARD and TURN commands that would help the angry bird get the pig.

Hour of Code

And poof! Just like that I’m gratified. My angry bird got his pig. Mission accomplished.  8 lines of code in and I was on a roll, thus feeling compelled to go on.

Hour of Code

Suddenly, Mark Zuckerberg appears onscreen to tell me about loops, or simply repeating a command.  The repeat command allows the user to specify the number of times a command should repeat.  In a sense it encapsulates any command or series of commands inside of it, saving hundreds or even millions of lines of code.

Hour of Code

Next, Chris Bosh appears in a video explaining the REPEAT UNTIL box.  Which specifies that any command or series of commands inside of it repeat until a designated event or command takes place.  In this case, the commands were to repeat until the zombie reached the sunflower.

Hour of Code

I must also mention the genius of this particular intro to coding… the zombie proclaimed “braaaaaains” every time he reached the sunflower and that was just flat out encouraging for me.  But you don’t have to take my word for it… (just visit code.org).

Hour of Code

Next I explored IF statements. Basically, I would specify that the zombie would move forward.  Then, I would include that it should move left IF there were an option to do so.  Bill Gates did a nice job of explaining it to me.

Hour of Code

Lastly, we came to IF ELSE commands. I specified that the zombie should move FORWARD in the maze.  IF the zombie could move LEFT, it should. ELSE the zombie should move RIGHT (if it was unable to  move FORWARD or LEFT).  These basic commands enabled me to navigate the zombie maze with a very simple set of commands.  The crazy thing is, that these coded commands can be applied to something as small as an angry birds game, or as big as a Mars ROVER expedition.  My mind is still unboggling itself.

Hour of Code

Victory!  The first hour of code under my belt!  What’s funny is that I’m intrigued by how creative I can get with coding… which was something I would have never thought of before this moment.

Moral of the story: step outside of your comfort zone.  Try something new. Parents: encourage your kids to try to it too.  Kids: DO try this at home!