NTID AlumniNews

NTID creativity and innovation on display at Imagine RIT April 29

Attendees at Imagine RIT interact with an exhibit
Matthew Sluka

Thousands of visitors converged on the RIT campus April 29 to experience the future through multimedia presentations, exhibits, hand-on demonstrations, research projects, performing arts, and more at the annual Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival. NTID was well represented among the more than 350 interactive exhibits throughout campus.

RIT/NTID alumni enjoyed the experience of attending the festival and discovering amazing things.

“I flew here from Florida for an NTID Alumni Association Board of Directors meeting and brought some friends to explore Imagine RIT,” said Megan Albertz, ’15 ’18 RIT/NTID alumna and NTIDAA board member. “It was exciting to see ideas for startup companies and projects created by students, which inspires me. It was a cool event to attend.”

RIT has hosted the annual event since 2008, showcasing exhibits that blend technology, arts, and design.

“I have been working here at RIT for over 10 years now and I really enjoy Imagine RIT festival and see all the cool things that our students created and developed on campus,” said Brittany Coyne, ’12 ASLIE alumnae and a current interpreter for the NTID interpreting team. “It’s been a great event every year.”

Among the exhibits by RIT/NTID students, faculty and staff were: 


Visitors of all ages had the opportunity to meet NTID Regional STEM Center (NRSC) and Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind (AIDB) staffers while checking out Boomer, the STEM bus, a modified RV that brings STEM activities to schools. Projects showcased in the STEM bus included:

  • Gravitra: An opportunity for people to build their own marble runs and experiment with gravity, magnetism, and kinetics. Participants created their own roller coaster systems and tested their designs with marbles. 
  • Robotics: Visitors learned how to control a robot from the tips of their fingers and explored robotics and coding with Dash robots. 
  • Programming: Participants explored coding and programming with a variety of hands-on activities at built-in workstations on the bus.


PopSign and IRIS Projects 

Exhibitors showcased PopSign and IRIS projects focused on developing solutions for accessibility. According to Allison Benz, marketing communications specialist for NTID Center on Access Technology:

“PopSign is a smartphone app designed to facilitate the process of learning American Sign Language for parents of deaf children, but it is available to download for all people who wish to learn ASL. IRIS is an ongoing project to integrate TRS within a smartphone’s accessibility settings so that a deaf person can make accessible phone calls directly on their smartphones.”

Visitors came to their booth to see the future of accessibility.

1001 Black Inventions – Virtual Play Production/Interactive Activity 

NTID Sunshine 2.0 presented 1001 Black Inventions through an eye-opening virtual and interactive play to educate the audience about the achievements of brilliant Black inventors. The goal was to raise awareness of the significant role Black ingenuity plays in society and everyday life. The play was performed by the Sunshine 2.0 members. 

An exhibitor at ImagineRIT conversing with a young attendee


Discovering ASL in our Diverse Deaf Community

This exhibit highlighted various aspects of the Deaf community and showcased various sign languages, including ASL, Mexican Sign Language and ProTactile ASL. Visitors had the opportunity to learn more about the Deaf and Deaf Blind communities through simulation. 

Storycraft: Multimedia Stories that Engage, Enrich and Empower 

This exhibit featured multimedia storytelling projects that engage and empower audiences and provided information about unique storytelling workshops developed through the Center for Engaged Storycraft at RIT that were open to visitors of all ages interested in crafting a multimedia story. 

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