When RIT converted its degrees to semesters in 2010, the University mandated a few requirements for all programs. To graduate, all students at RIT had to complete several writing classes, both in their program and in general education , perform research in their field of study on a agreed upon topic, and complete a capstone project. These three activities were universal requirements for every RIT student.

This semester, students toured the George Eastman Museum‘s technology “vault” with curator of the technology collection Todd Gustavson. Pictured above, Todd(left) discusses the very first DSLR cameras produced by Kodak, Canon and Nikon. The technology collection has more than 65,000 items and is arguably the world’s largest.
Students in the class also visited and toured Visual Dx, a medical informatics company in Rochester. Visual Dx produces a searchable image data base that is used for the diagnosis of various diseases. Pictured above RIT alumni Ashley Atwater and Heidi Halton discuss how the company is now performing research exploring how image analysis or gait studies might become new products.

When the photographic sciences program converted its degree and curriculum to the semester format, students initially took only a one semester capstone class. This meant that students had to propose and produce a credible – and department approved – project in only one semester or 15 weeks. After watching students participate and struggle, the faculty decided to revise the curriculum and proposed a one year class. It was felt this would allow the students more time to research their ideas before producing the project. In August, the first class of the now two course sequence was unfolded. To be honest, there have been some bumps getting students engaged in being independent learners, but over the course of the last three months, we have all learned and we have turned a corner. Shared below are some excellent examples of the subjects and research papers some of the students are interested in.

Celestial Tracking and Imaging by Charlotte Guthery
This Celestial Tracking and Imaging project will focus on creating a device to improve photographers’ ability to perform high quality astrophotography easily and at a low cost. The device will consist of three parts. The first part will be a physical tracking device, able to connect to a DSLR camera and tripod. The device will be able to easily move the weight of a camera and lens, with mobility to point to any location in the sky. The second part will be the back end programming of tracking. Instead of using conventional tracking methods (calculating the speed of the object, or using the velocity of Earth’s rotation), this project will use image processing to locate the object of interest on the sensor and constantly refresh to keep the target centered. The last part is an automatic finder in the form of a phone application. Not only will this app be able to control the entire device’s tracking, it will also allow users to input coordinates or the name of a celestial object. The app will then communicate with the physical device and automatically find the object with the camera. You can read Charlotte’s entire research paper by clicking the following link. guthry_ResearchPaper

Interactive Digital Camera Application by Meghan Connor
21st Century learning, understanding, and thinking is centered on the Internet. People are driven to learning via accessibility, ease of use, efficiency, helpfulness, timeliness, interactivity, and application. The digital camera is a major object of interest today. It is used more than ever. Interest in photography and the digital camera has increased proportionally. Using the knowledge developed in the past four years as an Imaging and Photography Student at the Rochester Institute of Technology, I hope to combine the interactive and accessible educational methods of web applications with the digital camera. Linking these two considerations will bring forth an educational and application-based tool that is the first of it’s kind: an easy-to-use interactive 3D digital camera website application for higher education and industry applications in the areas of imaging, photography, electronics, and optics. You can read Meghan’s entire research paper by clicking the following link MeghanConnor_CapstoneResearchPaper

Optical Flow Estimation and Cube Projections Facebook Surround 360
by Nick Franco
Optical Flow and Cube mapping are the two best ways to keep file sizes and
processing to their optimal levels when working with 360 3D. While traditional 360
images use an equirectangular format, a group that I am working on faces the issue that has always plagued normal video, file size and speed. Cube mapping is great for a normal 360 video and 3D 360 by reducing size by 25%. Optical flow is the extra step that allows for stereo from a 360 video and more frames for a seamless playback and stitching for motion. This makes the need for 120 fps seamless video to the eye to only need standard 60 or 30 fps playback. This project will explore how to improve this new technology. You can read Nick’s proposal by following this link franco_Research Paper

You can also see a video of Nick working that was produced by Noah Breakman

Creation and Implementation of Open-Sourced Sensory Substitution Device for the Visually Impaired by Andrew Palmer
This paper will outline the proceedings and procedures for furthering an
understanding into the construction and implementation of using open-
sourced hardware needed to create a sensory substitution device to aid the visually impaired. Utilizing the large dynamic range of the human auditory system, the translation of images to sound through signal proceeding provides a promising method to aid visually impaired individuals. By incorporating current open-sourced software and hardware, this device will aid individuals who are visually disabled, as well as provide a greater wealth of knowledge for those conducting research on a variety of topics within the field of neuro-imaging. You can read Andrew’s proposal by following this link palmer_Capstone_FinalPaper_V2

Image by S. Beats

Becoming a Diatomist by Alessandra Suchodolski
This paper will serve as a guideline for my capstone project. It will discuss, notable diatom arrangers of the past and present, and how to collect, clean, arrange, mount, and illuminate diatoms in order to create a composite photograph of a diatom arrangement. The art of arranging diatoms was very popular in the Victorian period, but it has declined in popularity. There aren’t many practicing diatom arrangers alive today. A very existent fear is that this beautiful form of art will be lost in history if people lose interest to the point where there are no practicing diatom arrangers left in the world. My goal of this project will be to learn all aspects of arranging diatoms. This will involve collecting and cleaning diatoms in order to arrange and photograph them. I expect this project to be full of obstacles, since I have never arranged diatoms before. I will have to be flexible and knowledgeable of other alternate processes in order to achieve the end goal of creating a diatom arrangement. I have researched not just one, but many methods of cleaning and preparing slides of diatoms. There are many articles describing different diatom arrangers’ processes. This will allow me to have backup plans if my original plan doesn’t work out.
You can read Alessandra’s proposal by following this link  AlessandraSuchodolski_CapstoneResearchPaper

Creating a Low-Cost, Portable, Non-Mydriatic Fundus Camera by Daniel Beim
Fundus cameras are a key part of an ophthalmic practice’s equipment and they can be used to locate and document a variety of ocular defects with relative ease. As common as they, fundus cameras are often times bulky and expensive pieces of equipment that may not be feasible for smaller offices. This might prevent many populations who may be at risk from getting the help they need. Additionally, most systems are mydriatic systems which means that they require the patient’s eye to be dilated, placing further restrictions on the likelihood of smaller practices investing in a system.

The creation of a low-cost, portable, non-mydriatic system would allow for the device to become much more accessible, allowing for more practices and organizations to own a device and perform tests to document and diagnose more patients. This is especially important with the worldwide prevalence of diabetic retinopathy, which can occur as a result of uncontrolled diabetes and may lead to blindness if left untreated. The implementation of a low-cost, portable system would allow for at-risk populations to get examined for the defect and determine if they need to seek treatment, helping to reduce the risk of blindness. My aim is assist this year’s Multidisciplinary Senior Design (MSD) team in the creation of their fundus camera system, using my knowledge of ophthalmic systems gathered from my time in the ophthalmic photography class and my co-op this past summer at the Manhattan Eye, Ear, & Throat hospital. I will provide design advice as well as assist in testing the system, acting as an “expert buyer” and evaluating the system’s clinical feasibility. You can read Dan’s proposal by following this link  Beim_Capstone Research Paper