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RIT sparks inventors' ideas

Schumer, Johnson, and Simone
Charles Schumer, United States Senator from New York, right, talks with William Johnson Jr., Mayor of the City of Rochester, left, and President Simone at the convocation of the commencement ceremonies on Friday evening, May 21. Schumer gave the commencement address; Johnson received an honorary degree for his contributions to RIT and the community.
Inventions come in many forms, from unusual devices to a newspaper's re-design to the latest Web software. At RIT, invention proposals have ratcheted up this past year, with more people connecting to facilities and think-tank settings in labs like RIT's Center for Digital Media.

Growing great ideas into successful ones for their creators fulfills a university objective: "A significant goal of this university is to have the public make use of our technology," says Stanley McKenzie, RIT provost and vice president for academic affairs. "Technology transfer is a key component to an institution like RIT."

On-campus invention proposals submitted this year to RIT's newly formed Intellectual Property Policy Committee cover a wide range of areas, such as optics, plastics, robotics, manufacturing processes and software design.

This past year saw the first licensing to a faculty start-up company--New Media Interactive Corp. Through RIT's Center for Digital Media, the group (Malcolm Spaull, Mike Yacci, Tim Wells, Nancy Doubleday, Steve Kurtz and Aaron Cloutier) has developed a CD-ROM for industry use in gaining control of the software development process. The Interactive CMM (Capability Maturity Model) is a six-hour, self-paced training program using human-design factors that tells a story through a computer instructor and two voice-only human characters. Xerox Corp.'s Engineering Excellence Institute funded the project.