TouchTomorrow

June 10, 2017 10AM - 4PM
at Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Rain or Shine!
Free and open
to the public.

WPI Research Exhibits

Check back often for updates to this year’s schedule!

Updated June 8, 2017

Download the official 2017 event map!

WPI Research Exhibits, Tours, and Activities

Please note that some activities occur at scheduled times and some will require advanced registration on June 10 as there will be limited seating. Please download the TouchTomorrow app for more information about how to sign up.

Alden Memorial

Music Perception and Robots
Categories: Technology, Engineering, Interactive, Robotics
Ages: All ages.
Organizer: Scott Barton

In WPI’s Music Perception and Robotics Laboratory, WPI Professor Scott Barton explores how we perceive sound and how musical technologies, such as mechatronic and robotic musical instruments, can allow listeners to experience music in new ways.

Open house from 10 am to noon with interactive demos every half hour.

Atwater Kent Laboratories

The Unconventional World of Soft Robotics
Categories: Engineering, Technology, Robotics
Ages: Grade K and up
Organizer: Cagdas Onal

Flexible, deformable robots may play a role in everything from robotic surgery to search-and-rescue missions. Learn about this area of robotics engineering and see soft robots and actuators in action.

3-D Magic of Biomolecules
Categories: Science
Ages: Grade K and up
Organizer: Arne Gericke

Using 3-D graphics, this presentation shows how the structure of biomolecules affects the functions they perform in our cells and the roles they play in disease formation.

Shows at 12 and 3 in Newell Hall (Room 116)

Robots Making Robots
Categories: Engineering, Technology, Robotics, Interactive
Ages: Grade K and up
Organizer: Kevin Harrington

See the labs were WPI students learn the fundamentals of robotics engineering. The theme of this year’s open house is “Robots Making Robots.” Watch 3D printers make robot arms and learn about the basics of robotics through a variety of interactive demos.

RasLabs: Bringing Motion to Life
Categories: Engineering, Technology, Robotics
Ages: Grade K and up
Organizer: Lenore Rasmussen

RasLabs produces Synthetic Muscle, electroactive polymer-based materials and actuators that contract and expand at low voltages. Having been tested on the International Space Station, these materials may one day be used in prosthetics, rehabilitative robots, and protective devices.

Discovery Crossing

Make a Splash!
Categories: Science, Technology, Engineering, Interactive
Ages: All ages.
Organizer: Paul Mathisen

Learn about buoyancy by building a boat from LEGOs and finding out what makes it float, or sink. See how many times you can toss a water balloon before it breaks.

Physics in Motion
Categories: Science, Interactive
Ages: All ages
Organizers: Doug Petkie, Hektor Kashuri

Learn about centrifugal force, angular momentum, electromagnetic forces (eddy currents, superconductor levitation, etc.), and other physical phenomena through a variety of fun, hands-on demonstrations.

Bio-Inspired Robots
Categories: Engineering, Technology, Robotics
Ages: All ages
Organizer: Marko Popovic

Students from the lab of WPI Professor Marko Popovic will demonstrate a robotic hand that can be controlled with your mind, a hydro-muscle-activated leg that can kick a soccer ball, a robo-dog, an exoskeleton with hydro-muscles and bones, and more bio-inspired robotic technology.

Mining Mars
Categories: Engineering, Technology, Interactive, Robotics
Ages: All ages
Organizers: Mike Ciaraldi and Markhour Team

Fresh from competing at the NASA Robotic Mining Competition at the Kennedy Space Center, where it won the Regolith Mechanics Innovation Award, Markhor: The Robotic Mining Platform will be on display. Designed by a team of WPI students, the robot is a prototype of a machine that may one day collect soil and ice samples on Mars to help establish and sustain a manned habitat.

 

The Energy Boom
Categories: Engineering, Technology
Ages: Grade K and up
Organizers: Lindsay Lozeau, Alex Maag, Avery Brown

Hydrogen fuel cells generate electricity from a chemical reaction combining hydrogen and oxygen. The only “waste product” is water. Chemical engineers at WPI are conducting research aimed at making these fuel cells more efficient as an alternative and renewable source of power. Learn about fuel cells from members of WPI’s new Chemical Engineering Graduate Organization and watch an “explosive and electrifying” demonstration that shows what happens when hydrogen and oxygen combine.
Demos every half hour between 10 and 4 (NOTE: demonstration includes one loud bang)

Aerospace Engineering at WPI
Categories: Engineering, Technology
Ages: Grade K and up
Organizer: Nikos Gatsonis

Students in WPI’s Aerospace Engineering Program conduct project work and research on all aspects of aviation and rocketry. They design and build fascinating aircraft and rockets, many of which are entered in national competitions. Stop by to meet our students and see some of their innovative work.

Fuller Laboratories

Play Videogames Designed by WPI Students
Categories: Technology, Interactive
Ages: Grade K and up
Organizer: Dean O’Donnell

Try our games developed by students in WPI’s Interactive Media and Game Development program.

Watch Student-Directed Animations and Game Trailers
Categories: Technology, Interactive
Ages: Grade K and up
Organizer: Dean O’Donnell

Sit back and relax while you watch animations and computer game trailers produced by students in WPI’s Interactive Media and Game Development Program.

PEACE of Mind in Cybersecurity
Categories: Science, Technology, Interactive
Ages: Grade 6 and up
Organizer: Craig Shue

Cybersecurity is the science of understanding and defending against cyber threats. WPI Professor Craig Shue develops tools that help organizations better manage and protect their networks from attacks. He will demonstrate a current project called PEACE (Policy Enforcement and Access Control for End-points), developed with support from the Department of Homeland Security, that lets network operators better control who has access to the system.

Goddard Hall

Experience Biochemistry: Glowing Reactions
Categories: Science, Interactive
Ages: Grade 5 and up
Organizers: Arne Gericke, Destin Heilman

In this 45-minute interactive lab activity you will learn about fast enzymatic reactions, catalysts, and bioluminescence as you work with luciferin, ATP, and luciferase to create the light-generating reaction that makes fireflies glow.

Room is limited; sign-up required.
The activity will be offered at 10, 11, 12, 1, 2 and 3.

Experience Chemistry: Make a Raspberry-Flavored Solar Cell
Categories: Science, Interactive
Ages: Grade 5 and up
Organizer: Arne Gericke

In this 45-minute interactive lab activity you will build a raspberry-flavored solar cell (a dye-sensitized photovoltaic cell that uses raspberry juice and titanium dioxide).

Room is limited; sign-up required.
The activity will be offered at 10, 11, 12, 1, 2 and 3.

Separations
Categories: Science, Interactive
Ages: Grade K and up
Organizers: Jill Rulfs, Mike Buckholt

How many ways can things be separated? Through hands-on activities, learn about some of the laboratory techniques biologists use to separate materials as they study living systems. Build a hand-operated centrifuge and separate liquids from solids. Use alcohol, water, and paper to separate the pigments in markers (chromatography). Separate DNA from strawberries.

Learn about Electrophoresis

Categories: Science, Interactive
Ages: Grade K and up
Organizers: Jill Rulfs, Mike Buckholt

Sign up for a special activity in which you will learn about electrophoresis by separating Kool-Aid into its component colors using electric current.

Room is limited; sign-up required.
This activity will begin at the top of each hour between 11 and 3.

On the Wall: Digital Measurements
Categories: Science, Interactive
Ages: Grade K and up
Organizers: Jill Rulfs, Mike Buckholt

See how your hands may serve as a predictor of behavior and performance. Measure and graph your relative finger length—or digit ratio—an indicator of hormone levels during development that affect brain as well as finger differences.

Digging Worms
Categories: Science, Interactive
Ages: Grade K and up
Organizer: Jagan Srinivasan

Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans), a transparent nematode (roundworm) that lives in soil environments, is used as a model system in biological research. See if you can find these creatures in soil samples, and then learn about research at WPI on how the worms smell chemicals in the environment and how we can use chemical attractants to catch them.

Microfluidics and Biomedical Engineering
Categories: Science, Engineering, Interactive
Ages: Grade K and up
Organizers: Dirk Albrecht, Laura Aurilio, Kyra Burnett

Microfluidics is a way of moving, mixing, separating, or processing very small volumes of fluids. Learn about a number of biomedical applications of microfluidics and take home your own microfluidic device to use as stamp (while supplies last).

Hands-on Biomedical Engineering
Categories: Science, Engineering, Interactive
Ages: Grade K and up
Organizers: Tiffiny Butler, Kris Billiar

Build your own mechanical grabber and see our first-place student project winners and their innovative design. Learn about the function of the cardiovascular system as you build a simulated heart. Come see how researchers at WPI are using spinach leaves as scaffolds to grow new heart tissue.

Gateway Park, 50 Prescott Street

CANCELLED – Biomanufacturing Education and Training Center Tour
This event has been cancelled. Please visit the BETC at next year’s TouchTomorrow event.

Fire Protection Engineering Lab Tour
Categories: Engineering, Technology
Ages: Grade 6 and up
Organizer: Ray Ranellone

WPI’s Department of Fire Protection Engineering, one of the leading graduate programs in in the United States, features a state-of-the-art fire research laboratory. The FPE Fire Science Laboratory has testing capabilities ranging from bench-scale all the way up to two-story residential structures in the large scale lab. Find out how fire research is undertaken at WPI, and come watch fire demonstrations while learning about the physics of fire.

Tours start at 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 1:30, 2:30, and 3:30; each is limited to 25 people.
Sign up in the lobby.

Gateway Park, 60 Prescott Street

Tour WPI’s Biomedical Engineering Laboratories
Categories: Science, Technology, Engineering
Ages: Grade 3 and up
Organizers: Glenn Gaudette, Kris Billiar, George Pins, Marsha Rolle, Jeannine Coburn

Learn about WPI’s cutting-edge research in biomedical engineering as you tour five laboratories in WPI’s Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center. You’ll learn…
• how engineers are using spinach leaves, with their built-in vasculature, as scaffolds to grow engineered tissue to repair damaged hearts.
• how mechanical forces affect cell soft tissues, helping them stay healthy or promoting the onset of disease, such as disease of the heart valves.
• how engineers are developing clinically translatable tissue regeneration and drug delivery strategies and three-dimensional, in vitro human disease models, using biologically-derived biomaterials like silk.
• about the design of biomaterials and implantable scaffolds that will help to regenerate tissue and organs, such as cardiac and skeletal muscle or tissue engineered skin.
• about how researchers are to designing, fabricating, culturing and analyzing cell-based engineered vascular tissue.

Tours leave every half hour between 10 am and 2 p.m. Sign-up required.

Gateway Park, 85 Prescott Street

Controlling Robots with Gestures
Categories: Science, Technology, Robotics, Interactive
Ages: Grade 3 and up
Organizer: Jane Li

Try out a motion capture system that can be used to record the motion of the whole body for use in controlling a robot’s movement. Meet our robot Nurse, Trina, a tele-operated robot can learn from human demonstration.

The Technology of Autonomous Vehicles
Categories: Science, Technology, Robotics, Interactive
Ages: Grade 3 and up
Organizer: Jie Fu

Learn about robotic technology that will make tomorrow’s autonomous vehicles possible. Explore perception, planning, and control as you observe test drives in both a 1/10-scale self-driving race car and autonomous cars in a game simulator.

The Robot Artist
Categories: Science, Technology, Robotics, Interactive
Ages: Grade K and up
Organizers: Odell Dotson, Jie Fu

CARP (Custom Autonomous Robotic Painter), developed by a team of WPI undergraduates, is a robot that makes paintings based on photographs. The system uses image decomposition techniques to dissemble the images and then reconstructs them as artworks.

Surgical and Assistive Robotics
Categories: Engineering, Technology, Interactive, Robotics
Ages: Grade K and up
Organizer: Greg Fischer

Tour the Automation and Interventional Medicine (AIM) Lab and learn about research on surgical robots that are designed to work inside MRI scanners, try out the Da Vinci surgical robotics system, learn about an assistive device that helps stroke victims regain use of their arms and hands, and see a robotic penguin that can be used in therapy for children with autism.

Higgins Laboratories

Keeping Things Cool in Space
Categories: Engineering
Ages: Grade K and up
Organizer: Jamal Yagoobi

WPI Professor Jamal Yagoobi and his students will provide guided tours of the Multi-Scale Heat Transfer Lab, featuring NASA-funded research on two-phase heat transport systems that the lab is developing and testing for cooling satellites and spacecraft. An experiment demonstrating the new technology was recently installed in the International Space Station for an 18-month test. Another major experiment will fly to the station in 2020.

Tours take place every hour on the hour. Room is limited.

Olin Hall

A Virtual Tour of the Universe
Categories: Science
Ages: Grade K and up
Organizer: Germano Iannacchione

Ride along on a 40-minute journey from the Earth to the edges of the known universe in a show that employs computer graphics and NASA images.
Shows for all ages at 10, 1, and 3; shows for younger audiences at 11 and 2.

Rubin Campus Center

ASSISTments: Improving Learning through Scientific Research
Categories: Science, Math, Interactive
Ages: Grade 6 and up
Organizer: Cristine Heffernan

Learn about and try out ASSISTments, a nationally recognized online tool used by teachers and students to improve instruction and student learning. The system was demonstrated at the White House in December 2016.

Building Tomorrow
Categories: Technology, Engineering, Interactive
Ages: Grades Pre-K, Grades K-5, Grades 3-8, Grades 6-12, Adult
Organizers: Cynthia Bergeron, Paul Mathisen, Jessica Rosewitz

Learn about a zero-net-energy house WPI students designed for the Solar Decathlon. See how tall buildings react to earthquakes. Manipulate the landscape with the augmented-reality sandbox. Build spaghetti bridges and test them for structural stability. Learn about bio-inspired materials, and more in this showcase for civil, environmental, and architectural engineering.

Salisbury Laboratories

Graspable Math
Categories: Science, Math, Interactive
Ages: Grade K and up
Organizer: Erin Ottmar

One of the obstacles to learning mathematics is becoming comfortable with algebraic notation. Professor Erin Ottmar taps into our natural abilities to manipulate objects to develop innovative teaching tools that make math intuitive and fun.

Play EstimateIT!
Categories: Science, Engineering, Technology
Ages: Grade K and up
Organizer: Ivon Arroyo

The Wearables for Learning project at WPI is investigating mathematics learning in elementary and middle school via motion-packed games in which students are guided by electronic devices that act as “wearable tutors,” communicating cues that advance the games while helping students learn math concepts. EstimateIT! is one example. In the game, students use clues presented on a smartphone to search for objects that fit the specified criteria, equipped with only simple measuring tools.

MathSpring Demo
Categories: Science, Engineering, Technology
Ages: Grade K and up
Organizer: Ivon Arroyo

MathSpring is an adaptive, personalized intelligent tutoring system developed by scientists at WPI and the University of Massachusetts Amherst that automatically assess students’ math skills, affective states, and metacognitive states. It responds to students on the spot and reports strengths and weaknesses (for individual students and the whole class) in real time to the teacher as students are working on the computer. Come inside and learn more about the system from WPI Professor Ivon Arroyo and her students.

Journey to MARS: Asteroids, the Celestial Chariots
Categories: Math
Ages: Grade K and up
Organizer: Mayer Humi

To send humans on deep space missions we will need to solve a number of challenges, including how to protect astronauts from radiation. Professor Mayer Humi will present the novel idea of using Near Earth Objects (asteroids) as space vehicles. These celestial chariots would serve as radiation shields for astronauts on deep space missions, like trips to Mars.

Sports and Recreation Center

Spark Your Imagination
Categories: Engineering, Technology, Interactive
Ages: All ages
Organizer: Jim O’Rourke

Learn about electricity and electrostatics in this “hair-raising” set of demonstrations performed by Jim O’Rourke, department manager/adjunct professor in WPI’s Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, and Sparky Junior, a Van de Graaff generator.

Washburn Shops

Advanced Manufacturing Technology
Categories: Engineering, Technology, Interactive
Ages: Grade K and up
Organizer: Torbjorn Bergstrom

Visit the HAAS Technical Education Center to learn how CNC (computer-numerical control) machines and other advanced manufacturing technology (including robots, laser cutters, and 3-D printers) in action. You might even get to manufacture your own souvenir.

Living in Our Materials World

Categories: Engineering, Technology, Interactive
Ages: Grade K and up
Organizer: Diana Lados

Through interactive demonstrations using liquid nitrogen, carrots, Play-Doh, gumdrops, paper airplanes, and high-magnification cameras and microscopes, learn about crystal structures, materials properties like ductility and brittleness, and the work of WPI’s materials science and engineering teams.

Demonstrations every 15 minutes between 10 and noon