IMA Makers Take on Carnival

Oct 21 2016

Eight projects by talented IMA makers, including a screaming robot and a multi-functional smart chair, turned out to be attention getters at the 2016 Shanghai Maker Carnival last weekend.

Star projects that lit up the crowd during the end-of-semester show in May, such as Richard Lewei Huang’s Cardboard Shikumen and Joseph Young’s Robot Arm Mark II, joined more than 100 other creations designed by technology enthusiasts all over China. The two-day event is organized annually by DFRobot and Knowledge & Innovation Community (KIC).

It is at least the third time that the IMA community has participated in this gathering. Matthew Belanger, Assistant Professor of Interactive Media Arts and Associate Director of IMA, said the carnival has provided a good opportunity for students to exhibit their works, to show what they are doing at NYU Shanghai and to get feedback.


“Unlike a gallery, where there is always an expectation and people can only engage in a specific way, the carnival offers a very welcoming and friendly environment, where genius ideas are embraced and become possible,” Belanger said.

Among the exhibits, the Smart Chair, devised by sophomore Xincheng Huang and junior Shiyun Chen, received special attention from the crowd.  

According to Huang, the chair, which combines healthcare and entertainment, connects to the computer through a software that allows users to switch the chair's working modes.

“When set to the ‘health mode,’ the chair will detect the user’s sitting posture and alert them with buzzes and vibrations if they are sitting in an unhealthy way,” Huang said.

“The second mode is ‘game mode’ as the chair is connected to a flappy bird game. Basically, the user will control the bird on the screen to fly up or down or dodge obstacles by changing his sitting posture, as the two distance sensors on the chair can detect whether the user is leaning forward or backward,” he said.

Senior Nicholas Sanchez titillated the audience with a screaming robot named “Sleepy.” “If left alone in the darkness, Sleepy will blissfully slumber on. But, should you bother it and turn on the lights, Sleepy will wake up and scream at you,” Sanchez said.

According to Professor Belanger, IMA will host its next end-of-semester show on December 13. This year, however, their main focus will be on the graduation of  the inaugural class, as senior students have already began launching their capstone projects.