Four weeks marks the day. I had to learn how to script. As a second year Architecture student I found this quite challenging, but all I wanted was to make my 3D mental picture come alive in Unity just like the professors had enticed us with as they introduced what should be the finished product in four weeks time. It was tough, and took lots of time outside of class working with a very patient Design Communications professor to accomplish animating certain objects in this Unity simulation of the MTCC. We were working in groups, which made it much more practical to get things done and delivered on time.
The goal of the project was to model part (or all) of the MTCC (you could manipulate the layout of the building if you wanted) in Rhinoceros (a 3D modeling program) to the highest relevant level of detail, which you would then export into Unity (a game development program and powerful rendering engine). Once in Unity, you would have to set up lights, cameras, a skybox, and assets (for example: scripts), in order to make the MTCC come to life. Some took it a step further and actually made miniature games to play!
This past week we all sat in lower east core of S.R. Crown Hall and took turns projecting our “video games” onto the large projector screen, awaiting review from our professors and one sit in judge. It was a great experience, all reviews went well and there were quite a few laughs exchanged!
Taylor Thompson, Architecture
Here at IIT, there are many opportunities for students and faculty alike to innovate. The first example that comes to mind is the Idea Shop, a prototyping lab that has two different types of laser printers, a laser cutter, CNC milling machines, a vacuum former, 3D scanners, as well as various more traditional shop tools. Getting started in there is as easy as walking in and asking the shop manager, John Welin, to show you around to get started. If you’ve ever heard of the X-cube, sold in shops around the country now, that was an invention prototyped in the Idea Shop.
Another chance to step up and make something new are the IPROs that are part of the degree plan of every IIT student. An interview with an IIT alumnae who now works for ComEd (the largest electric utility company in Illinois) as a hiring manager shed some light on the role IPROs play in looking for jobs and internships. Paraphrasing, this former IIT student stated that IPROs are one of the things employers look at most when hiring IIT students, as IPROs are essentially semester-long projects to solve real-world problems presented by academia and companies alike. It isn’t uncommon to be working on an IPRO sponsored by a company and then be offered a job or internship at the company if you produce good results in your project. Some students and faculty have even turned their results from IPROs into their own start-up companies!
It’s safe to say that if every opportunity to innovate on campus were shared, this post would be way too long. Therefore, I’ll end on this note: IIT has begun its plans to make a new innovation center, the Ed Kaplan Family Institute for Innovationn and Tech Entrepreneurship, which will host the Idea Shop, IPROs, and its Entrepreneurship programs all in one place. The building is anticipated to open its doors in 2017!
Written by Adam Denchfield, Applied Physics