ETC faculty member Shirley Saldamarco attended the Alpha Lab demo days and shared this article for the ETC Global News Page
ETC Spin Off company, digital dream labs made their presentation May 14, at Alpha Lab Demo Days, to Pittsburgh’s entrepreneurial community. Matt Stewart('12), CEO and Co-Founder, wowed the audience with his energetic illustration of dreamWare their “toy to tablet” learning platform. Also at Demo Day were Co-Founders Justin Sabo('12) and Peter Kinney('13), artist, Aaron Clark and intern, Corrine Charlton. digital dream labs was the final presentation of the day and as soon as Matt walked off the stage, the group was circled by investors wanting to learn more. Over 100 venture capital firms from across the country – and at least four from as far away as Abu Dhabi – were present for the event. It was very exciting to see the interest generated by digital dream labs.
dreamWare is a platform that bridges the gap between worlds: nostalgic, hands-on learning meets engaging, digital technology. Children solve simple sequence puzzles in real life that are transmitted wirelessly to a tablet or other electronic device for continued interaction. The product has been play tested with over 100 children ages 4-12; and the company has already secured 14 paying customers (and counting) for the Pilot Program, who will receive their hardware and software in August 2013. The premise of the game is the player must help an island full of dinosaurs before the island’s resident volcano explodes. To do this, the kids must send commands to the dinosaurs on screen using puzzle pieces that plug into the tray. Then they can watch the commands acted on screen. It looks like a high-tech ice cube tray and it hooks up to a Mac or PC or tablet and helps kids learn logic and sequence — basics for computer science. While the children are having loads of fun, they’re being exposed to STEM education and computer science in particular, through play.
dreamWare is the company’s second product release. The dreamTableTop, their flagship museum exhibit, is an interactive tabletop experience combining puzzle blocks with virtual environments. The experience teaches children abstract computer science principles by allowing them to explore different combinations of physical puzzle blocks.
Innovation Works AlphaLab program is an intensive, 20-week program for launching the next generation of software, entertainment technology and Internet-related companies. AlphaLab provides funding, free office space, and expertise to help companies rapidly develop their technology, gain early user feedback, develop go-to-market strategies, and move toward commercialization.
ETC student Poan Shen along with other M-ITI students submitted a application that focused on using innovative ideas to boost the usage of green energy. In this competition the Green Spark team put their emphasis on solar power.
Ericsson Application Awards are an annual, global competition for application developers on the Android platform. There are two categories: one for students and one for companies. Finalist for the competition will be announced on April 30, and the top two teams in both the student and company categories will be invited to the Awards Ceremony in Stockholm on May,22 to pitch their app ideas.
Congratulations to Poan and the students at M-ITI!
The 2013 Carnegie Mellon International Film Festival: Faces of Media will present 2012 Ukranian film, Gaamer, on Thursday, April 4th, at 7pm at the McConomy Auditorium in CMU’s University Center! The event will feature a discussion moderated by Ralph Vituccio, Director of Media Development in Communication Design and an Instructor in the Entertainment Technology Center at CMU, and a LAN party!
Gaamer follows Alexander, a young Ukrainian boy who spends most of his time playing video games, especially the shooting game ‘Quake’, where he is known by the name Koss. The enormous amount of time he spends at the computer screen pays off as Alexander’s immersion into the world of gamers leads him to a chance to become world champion of ‘Quake’. This coming-of-age film explores the alluring world of video games and Alexander’s struggle to bridge the gap between his deepening wired existence and the responsibilities of his often times mundane and uneventful real life.
Presented in conjunction with The Humanities Scholars Program @ CMU.
Regular Admission*: $5 seniors and students | $8 general
* $3 discounted tickets for groups of 10 or more
You can find additional info regarding Gaamer at www.cmu.edu/faces/#gaamer.
The following is a re-post from the Tartan, Carnegie Mellon's Student Newspaper since 1906
Carnegie Mellon teamed up with the National Security Agency (NSA) to create a high school hacking competition known as “Toaster Wars,” which takes place April 26 to May 6.
Sponsored by the NSA and supported by Carnegie Mellon’s own hacking group, the Plaid Parliament of Pwning (PPP), Toaster Wars has been developed into a high-profile hacking competition.
It came into being through a large amount of effort put forth by PPP and the Entertainment Technology Center (ETC).
Formed in 2009, the PPP is self-described as a security interest group. According to Tyler Nighswander, senior computer science and physics double major and also one of the PPP’s leaders, the group often creates and competes in Capture the Flag hacking exercises.
“We create security puzzle type things for exploitation, hacking, et cetera,” Nightswander explained. “Then we go in, break into stuff, and hack into things.”
The PPP’s adviser and an assistant electrical and computer engineering professor David Brumley notes the PPP’s success. “PPP is actually ranked in the world for security research groups, even [among] professional teams.” It has competed in various contests, and its next competition is to be held in South Korea. “A lot of people would be interested in computer security from this opportunity,” Brumley said.
As a part of the Toaster Wars competition, high school hackers will be given a scenario in which they are told to use their hacking skills to repair a robot from space and to figure out some of his secrets.
According to the competition’s official website, “The competition is a series of challenges centered around a unique story line where participants must reverse engineer, break, hack, decrypt, or do whatever it takes to solve the challenge. The challenges are all set up with the intent of being hacked, making it an excellent, legal way to get hands-on experience.”
Kaiyang Zhang, a master’s student in entertainment technology who helped create the Toaster Wars competition, said, “We think it’s a bit hard for high school students to give a theme and get them interested, so they can learn it and progress.”
Danielle Corporon, a master’s student in entertainment technology, feels that, “We chose to develop the game for all ages, so kids, for example, don’t think its limited to younger kids.”
The competition, therefore, was developed to encourage high school students to participate in and enjoy the competition. Additionally, the contest will also help students “learn how to identify security vulnerabilities and perform real-world attacks.”
The hope is that it will also encourage interest in computer science and its applications to cyber security.
“Learning computer science in school is important to real-life situations,” said Tim McMullan, a master’s student in entertainment technology.
Brumley agreed and added that he has expectations for more people to be interested in cyber security.
“A lot of people [are] interested in computer security. Our college kids have siblings, [so] hopefully we’ll have [more] people interested.”
In addition to their financial sponsorship, the NSA has also been a vocal supporter of the Toaster Wars hacking competition.
NSA representative Vanee Vines told the Associated Press, “America increasingly needs professionals with highly technical cyber skills to help keep the country safe today — and to help the country meet future challenges and adapt with greater agility. When it comes to national security, there is no substitute for a dedicated, immensely talented workforce. We need the best and brightest to help us out-think and defeat our adversaries’ new ideas.”
Toaster Wars has gained national attention for its efforts, receiving coverage from major news outlets such as NBC News.
On February 8th, 2013 more than 500 educators -- superintendents, technologists, artists, principals, afterschool directors, librarians, museum directors, and ed tech entrepreneurs -- gathered at Carnegie Mellon University to “level up” Pittsburgh’s six-year old Kids+Creativity Network. As leaders forging ahead in re-imaging what constitutes outstanding learning for children and youth in our nation the ETC is happy to help. Not only is the ETC in the video from The Grable Foundation and The Benedum Foundation, promoting the Pittsburgh region and its schools, libraries, museums, community centers, and airwaves powerfully re-connecting to kids, sparking new interest and passions to learn, we help develop projects with many of the other places featured.
Visit our project websites to see the BrainSTEM and KiTES projects sponsored by Elizabeth Forward School District; the Lazer Mouse, Take Shape and Digital Dream Lab projects, sponsored by the MakeShop at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh; and the Mad Dash and Fredutainment projects, sponsored by the Fred Rodgers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media