Announcing the Duke STEAM Challenge finalists

We are pleased to announce that the Duke STEAM Challenge received 22 applications from teams comprised of a total of 72 Duke University students ranging from first year to PhD students.  Our judges had the arduous task of narrowing the field of applications to the 10 Duke STEAM Challenge finalist teams. The 36 students on the 10 finalist teams are now in the process of further developing their projects that will be showcased at the Live Pitch Session on Saturday, January 18, 2014.  This final Challenge event will take place in the Lecture Hall of our new co-sponsor, the Nasher Museum of Art, and is open to the public.  Finalist teams will present their work to an interdisciplinary panel of judges, with the winning team receiving a grand prize of $10,000, second place receiving $3,000 and third place receiving $2,000.

The Duke STEAM Challenge finalists have backgrounds in almost 30 unique subject areas including: Economics, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Biology, Global Health, Public Policy, Arabic, Neurobiology, Chemistry, Biomedical Engineering, Cultural Anthropology, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Music, Visual Arts, Mechanical Engineering, Experimental and Documentary Arts, Environmental Science, History, Physics, Neuroscience, Math, Statistics, Environmental Policy, Political Science, International Comparative Studies, English, Biophysics, ISIS certificate and Markets & Management certificate.  That’s quite a STEAMy list!

Learn more about the Duke STEAM Challenge finalist teams in their team project descriptions below:

Ambassadors for Change:ORSOur goal is to increase usage of Oral Rehydration Therapy (ORT) to treat Diarrhea. We want to use artistic tools (like cartoons) to educate adolescent girls of Terai, Bihar in India about ORT. We also want to facilitate effective communication between health care workers and the local communities by developing an sms application. We will bridge STEM and the creative arts to bring social change.

Audisee: An Interactive Crowdsourced Audio MapAudiSee is an audio app that acts as an ever-evolving world soundscape. Users around the globe can upload audio clips capturing their surrounding environment. This enables people to connect and share similar experiences through a different medium, focusing more on the emotions derived from hearing rather than seeing.

BrushStrokesBrushStrokes is an initiative that uniquely combines art therapy and health education in order to both help young stroke victims express the complex emotions associated with surviving stroke at such a young age and raise community awareness about the increasing prevalence of young stroke. By taking an artistic approach to a problem generally associated with epidemiology and public policy, this project bridges two distinct disciplines, creating a unique solution to an important problem.

Doppler Operated-Remotely Effected-Musical Interface (DO-RE-MI)DO-RE-MI explores new ways for translating movement into sound by mapping Doppler radar frequency shifts into musical phrases.  In doing so, we will create new opportunities for artistic expression, STEAM education and target classification. Consisting of a Duke-developed indoor Wi-Fi radar, a PC, and speakers, the DO-RE-MI system could be an interactive museum exhibit or the centerpiece of a dance performance choreographed to create, rather than follow music. Furthermore, signal processing insights gained through the development of DO-RE-MI could one day improve methods in non-cooperative radar target classification.

Duke BioDiv Project - The BioDiv project seeks to create a community that looks at the diversity of life around them with a new-found curiosity. Our plan is to develop an interactive Biodiversity app that can connect Duke students to a database of knowledge about our local ecosystems as well as encourage the practice of citizen science. We hope to add a level of ecological awareness that is all too often lacking on campus and in higher education in general. Combining the visual arts with biology and computer science makes complex ideas more relatable and easier to comprehend, and this goal has truly allowed us to draw on the diverse range of our group’s talents.

Mantis HeadturnerThe Mantis Headturner is a 4 beam moving head light system designed for local DJs and small venues.  Uniquely catering to the community event market, the Headturner is the only light that brings together high end effects and full control (via phone application) in a low price and portable product.  It’s a powerful and technically advanced system for the musical artist who’s ready to become an artist with light.

Music in a Different LightIn an age defined by communication, music is a language that crosses cultures; those who cannot hear or understand it risk missing out on a core human experience. Music in a Different Light allows these people to access this experience by providing an alternate means to appreciate music: visually. The project entails transforming the sounds of Duke a Capella group Lady Blue into lightwaves, which will be superimposed onto a stylized video of the group to be distributed to the community at large.

SUNscapingSUNscaping aims to accelerate the electrification and global inclusion of isolated communities in rural Uganda.  This project is centered around a multi-lingual manual designed to teach concrete skills alongside the underlying concepts of solar technology to enable technology exchange and ensure program sustainability.  Ultimately, this economically-sustainable system of solar electrification will be applied to provide Internet access where previously unavailable.

Tomorrow’s HERitageIn 2012, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported that women represent a mere 24% of the STEM workforce; concurrently, the Celluloid Ceiling reported in 2012 that women comprised only 9% of all directors working on the top 250 domestic grossing films and East London Fawcett’s (ELF) art audit also found that not a single woman appeared on the top 100 art auction performance lists in 2012.  The Tomorrow’s HERitage project seeks to tackle the underrepresentation of women in the art and science fields head-on by creating an interactive exhibition of their work as a platform for lively discussions, community exchange, and experimental modes of presentation.

Touching MathTouching Math aims to bring out hidden math and science potential in students by using 3D printing to make 3D visualization accessible. Topics in calculus, geometry, physics, chemistry, or biology which involved three dimensional concepts are normally hard for students to deal with, but a curriculum built around engaging and aesthetically interesting models would be able to spark students’ interest. The project combines math, science, education, design, and the visual arts.

1 comment

Impressive projects all. Well done Duke students!

Kudos too to the innovative Duke STEAM Challenge for pushing the boundaries of STEAM scholarship and research!