Ingenuity 2018 Recognizes Influential Individuals and Celebrates Student Innovation

June 5, 2018 - Ingenuity 2018 opened with Gregory Washington, dean of the Samueli School of Engineering, welcoming everyone to this sixth annual celebration of activity and technology at UCI. He praised the event’s showcased projects as products of “the smartest and most innovative group of students.” Indeed, the award-winning projects represented top work from the School of Engineering and from the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS). Washington was also pleased to introduce technology leader Bruce Horn, Intel Fellow and CTO for the Saffron Technology Group, as the evening’s keynote speaker.

Technology leader Bruce Horn reviews those who “laid the groundwork” during his keynote.Dean Marios Papaefthymiou and ICS Ingenuity Award winner Arthur Hitomi.

Addressing the roughly 250 people gathered at the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center, Horn focused on computer-augmented intelligence. He started with J.C.R. Licklider’s vision of coupling human brains and computers and highlighted those who had “laid the groundwork,” from Ivan Sutherland to Steve Jobs. He talked about researchers’ drive to make the world a better place — not “merely to sell more stuff” — and discussed various challenges, such as leveraging context and advancing both stable and dynamic learning. He asserted that the future of intelligent agents resides in their ability to “know everything about us,” which will involve negotiations in cyberspace and the resolution of countless ethical issues. “The real work has barely started,” he concluded, challenging the innovative UCI students to build on the foundation created by past innovators.

Marios Papaefthymiou, dean of the School of ICS, then took the stage to introduce the Ingenuity Awards, which honor individuals who have had a tremendous impact on the schools of engineering and ICS by devoting not only material resources but also significant amounts of time to help advance the academic programs. Papaefthymiou presented the 2018 ICS Ingenuity Award to alumnus Arthur Hitomi(B.S. ’96, M.S. ’04, Ph.D. ’10), who is president, CEO and co-founder of Numecent. Hitomi is a recognized figure in the areas of application virtualization and streaming and is former chair of the ICS Dean’s Leadership Council and an ICS Hall of Fame inductee.

Dean Gregory Washington and Engineering Ingenuity Award winner James Peterson.

Dean Washington then presented the 2018 Engineering Ingenuity Award to James Peterson, chairman and CEO of Microsemi Corp. As Washington noted, “Jimmy P. is a true hero in Orange County. He’s a staunch supporter of education who has backed numerous campuswide activities.”

Informatics Professor Hadar Ziv, who has been teaching the capstone project class for over a decade, then introduced the student projects, which ranged from games to products that target parking and safety concerns to prototypes that aim to protect kids. According to Ziv, “Ingenuity continues to grow in the number of students, and the projects exhibit increasingly diverse elements — drones, copters, mobile health, games of chance, cybersecurity — from increasingly diverse sources — engineering design projects, informatics capstone classes, game competitions, and both for- and non-profit organizations.”

A student representative from each team gave a brief project presentation. The showcased engineering projects included the following:

  • CounterAttack — a cloud-based service that uses machine-learning to automate the real-time detection of card counting in casinos (Brandt Bucher and Rudy Aquino).
  • Flapping MAV — a nature-inspired quadflapper that uses an active pitching micro air vehicle (MAV) mechanism (Bao Pham, David Nguyen, Branson Davis, Haocheng Yu, Wai Hnin Oo, Andrew Iwamoto, Johnson Ly, Chenxi Ji, Samuel Hince, Brian Nguyen, Brandon Tong, Patrick Zhu, Evan Gillett, Brian Sun, Ashkan Sadeghifard, Lanjun Qi, Hamid Sharifinejad, Alejandro Aguilera, Nathan Cabezut and Fernando Pablo Quevedo).
  • Rehab Robotics — a robust, low-cost, low-power patient-operated wheelchair with rehabilitation capabilities for stroke patients in developing countries (Marlayna Montenegro, Nick Talebi, Michael Chavez, Matthew Gonzalez, Dalton Conroy and Caitlin Callaghan).
  • SPIRO — a wearable, game-based therapy device designed to mimic therapeutic respiratory maneuvers in a motivating setting, increasing patient adherence and accountability (Evelyn Vasquez, Lucy Zhuang, Truc Dinh, Nini Nguyen, Zhen Wan and Alex Nguyen).
  • Syroto Bioprinters — a bioprinter prototype that aims to scale up testing assays for research in drug development (McKell Davis, Ethan Lieberman, Derek Lublin, Alex Schmidt and Sydney Minar).
  • Watch Dog — an autonomous drone security system for college students on campus that could potentially replace the current blue light emergency phones (Onalli Gunasekara, Farah Arabi, Kelly Hong and Floranne Ellington).

The showcased ICS projects were as follows:

  • Adigami — a functioning web application for database management and connection and a corporate website of the same design language that leads new and existing Adigami clients through a more consistent user experience (Tianyi (Kelly) Zhang, Xiaoyu Wen, Xiaosong Weng, Hayden Todd and Kelvin Man).
  • Alpha Beta Python — a prototype application developed for Team Kids, a non-profit organization, and its “Kids Are Heroes” initiative, which aims to better connect kids with their communities (Atrina Pebdani, Eric Chou, Ricky Shields, Andrew Blake and Byron Padilla).
  • CrewView — a cross-platform AR/VR app for scenic design that will change how people communicate and collaborate in 3D design practices (Ke Jing, Christopher Ayuso, Max Collins, Melisse Yutuc, Aparajita Marathe, Fernando Penaloza, Tyler Scrivner and Hannah Tran).
  • SendGrid — a “bloom filter” that filters out unnecessary queries made to the SendGrid database, improving performance for SendGrid and its customers (Vinh Lam).
  • SkyFarm —a mobile turn-based game where the player uses time-travel switches and pickups to solve puzzles and progress to the next level (Christopher Ayuso, Mengfan Wang, Pafoua Fang and Dong Phan).
  • Team ID — an IoT parking monitor system that utilizes an edge device to monitor parking spots and notify users (Tiffany Lee, Nathan Sou, Lansen Zhao, Yujie Ding and Abhimanyu Tripathi).
  • IdentifiTech — an iOS application that enhances patient engagement and demonstrates the future of healthcare mobile service (Eamon Sheehy, Emil Mombay, Nick DiGeronimo, Kenzo Makitani and Yuda Chen).


Student demos during the outdoor reception: Flapping MAV (left) and SkyFarm (right).

“The project presentations were well-attended and well-received,” says Ziv, “and the guests continued to visit the students’ demo stations until the very end of this successful event.”

The demo stations were part of a cocktail and hors d’oeuvre reception set up on the outside patio after the presentations (additional photos are available online). The attendees watched live demos and tested out products, while the students networked and enjoyed this celebration of their ingenuity.

— Shani Murray, Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences​

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