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.  

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

 

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Are High School Students Smarter than a Railroad Engineer?

(White Plains, October 24th, 2016) The Digital Arts Experience in White Plains, Westchester, NY announces the first teen challenge that tests the creativity of High school students using ultra-low cost technology to bring significant tech solutions to infrastructure problems.

This one day “hackathon” in December, at their center in downtown White Plains will host teams from area high schools that will compete to build a better railroad safety systems using extremely low-cost sensors and controllers.

The contest will be mentored by science teachers who will shepherd the students through the usage of Arduino controllers, inexpensive sensors and a simple programming language.

“The accessibility of powerful, low cost technology coupled with the uninhibited, innovative minds of the youth of today should make this an exciting event,” says DAE Director, Rob Kissner. “High Schools students are extraordinarily creative and technically inclined and may provide us with new ideas and insights that completely change the way we look at public safety in all industries.”

“The great thing about youth is that they are not beholden to the past and bring really fresh thinking,” says co-organizer Alan Brody, a tech entrepreneur, startup coach and author.

The Future – Collisions Anywhere
The kinds of ultra-cheap technology the teens will develop in this one day contest could be used anywhere that a collision is possible, such as with pillars in parking lots, shopping carts and parked cars and even with aiding the elderly or the blind.

The grand prize of $500 is being donated by the Brody family of Edgemont in honor of Ellen Schaeffer Brody and the victims who were lost or injured at the tragic incident in Valhalla in 2015.

ABOUT THE SATURDAY NOVEMBER 12th PROGRAM

The Challenge
Each team will have the same set of tools: an Arduino Uno microprocessor, various basic sensors (light, pressure, temperature sensors, etc.), and various simple output devices (LEDs, buzzers, motors, etc.). Teams will design, build and test their systems in real world scenarios with aid of mentors throughout the process.

The Cost of the Tech
The total cost of each construct is expected to be under $50 – in some cases as low as $20.

Free to Participate
This challenge is open to all high school students and is free to participate. DAE will provide all controller and sensor equipment although students are free to supplement if they wish.

To participate go to tinyurl.com/ArduinoTeenChallenge.

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Summer STEM Camp NY – Science, Technology, Engineering & Math in Westchester

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Summer STEM Camp NY – Science, Technology, Engineering & Math in Westchester, NY at The Digital Arts Experience:

Join us next Tuesday, May 17th for Open House from 5-7PM! Stop by at any time to explore our facility, meet our friendly staff of instructors, and learn about our exciting, cutting-edge Summer STEM camps for kids.

We will have our facility set up like a trade show with instructors at different stations so that you can ask questions and view student work!

Our Summer STEM Camps begin July 5th and run all the way through to Labor Day. Students can choose to attend for a half day – either morning or afternoon, or a full day with lunch break in the middle. Sessions run for 2 weeks total, but you can opt to only attend 1 week depending on your schedule.

So stop on by and check out what we are all about this coming Tuesday!

 

The Digital Arts Experience

170 Hamilton Avenue, Suite 100

White Plains, NY 10601

(914) 644-8100

www.TheDAE.com

 

SUMMER STEM (1)

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

Summer STEM Camp 2016 schedule now live!

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White Plains, Westchester, NY– The Digital Arts Experience’s (The DAE) 2016 Summer STEM / Tech / Computer Camp schedule is now live! Programs range from:

  • 3D Printing
  • Animation
  • Coding & Computer Programming
  • Electronics
  • Design
  • LEGO
  • Minecraft
  • …and more!

Still in the process of filling out the schedule, The DAE has a solid base of their “bread & butter” programs already available for registration. By following this link, you’ll be directed to their Summer STEM Camp website where you can learn much more specific details about camp such as dates, times, prices and even find the early bird discount code.

Students can choose to enroll for 1 or 2 weeks for either a full or half day. To view individual registration pages for each session, click the respective links below:

To view the entire schedule as a whole, follow this link.

Last summer, The DAE had nearly 200 unique students attend their Summer STEM programs. Also, with some new classes and updated curriculum, kids are sure to have lots of fun while learning valuable information.

For the past three and a half years, The Digital Arts Experience has provided quality, accessible technology education to kids and teens of Westchester, Putnam, Fairfield and Rockland Counties.

With classes for young beginners like Game Programming with Scratch, Stop Motion Animation and Digital Drawing, to intermediate and advanced classes in Electronics, Game Programming with Python and Java, 3D Printing, 3D Animation and 3D Game Design, The DAE is the area’s authority in STEM/STEAM Education. They will also be rolling out several new programs in January which include 3D Character Modeling & Sculpting, Wearable Technology and 3D Jewelry Design.

The DAE also brings unique curriculum and teaching methodology to schools, community centers and private groups in the area. Working with over 25 schools in Westchester, Connecticut, The Bronx, and Manhattan, and seeing literally hundreds of kids each week, The DAE is able to do this and much more with their revolutionary mobile classroom: The Digital Arts Express.

 

2015 Midsummer Highlights at The DAE

Midsummer Recap

Before we relive the highlights of the first part of the summer, there’s still plenty of time to end your summer at the Digital Arts Experience. Summer Session 4 runs from August 17th to the 28th, and we end our summer camps with Summer Session 5 from August 31st to September 4th. If you can’t make it for the summer, don’t worry because Fall Registration is currently live and the The DAExpress is taking bookings for Minecraft birthday parties.

Class in MakerspaceOur summer kicked off with a record high number of registrations for Summer Session 1 compared to previous years. We greatly enjoyed the packed facility and buzzing energy that brought along. On the last day of the first session, the DAE hosted a celebration for our 3 year anniversary!

DAE 3 Year PartyIn addition to enjoying good food and company, attendants heard the DAE announce two new ventures: DAELearning and DAE Makerclub. DAElearning will be an online subscription based site that provides members with interesting, educational videos on Programming Languages, 3D Printing, Mac Basics, and much more.Members of DAE Makerclub will have complete and unlimited access to our facility including labs, 3D printers, and more.

DAE Makerclub

Then Summer Session 2 came along and broke the record the previous session had just set. This high number was partially due the numerous kids who reenrolled in our classes. Our site was at max capacity with every single computer being used! Summer Session 3 started smoothly and is currently going on. Check out a student made short film below.

Late Summer Computer and STEM Camp in White Plains of Westchester at The Digital Arts Experience

Summer STEM Camps

We’ve got you covered! While other camps end before August does, The Digital Arts Experience’s computer and STEM summer camps in White Plains of Westchester County, NY, keep on going into the first week of September. Listen to President Rob Kissner talk about how you should end your kids’ summer.

With courses in 3D Printing, Animation, Graphic Design, and more STEM subjects to choose from, your child is sure to find a program that they are interested in! Allow your children to finish their summer at the most fun and educational summer camp in Westchester.

For more information visit our:

YouTube Channel: http://youtube.com/digitalartexperience

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/TheDAExperience

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheDAExperience

Website: http://www.TheDAE.com

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