The Center for Imaging Science at the Rochester Institute of Technology sponsors talks by faculty and research staff for student science and engineering organizations at other colleges and universities in the United States. We cover the speaker’s full expenses. Below please see a listing of the available speakers and their talk titles and abstracts. To request a talk click here or click the title of the talk.

In your request make sure to include your

  • student organization
  • college or university
  • contact phone and email
  • speaker/talk you are interested in
  • approximate date or dates for talk

Here are the talks currently available. Click the title to request that specific talk.

Tangible display systems
Jim Ferwerda
Bringing virtual objects into the real world  Tangible display systems are based on off-the-shelf mobile devices that incorporate accelerometers and webcams as standard equipment. Custom software allows the orientation of the device and the position of the observer to be tracked in real-time. Tilting or moving in front of the device produces realistic changes in the reflections and texture of 3D images rendered to the screen.

Using Thermal Infrared Imagery to Understand Things We Can't Normally "See"
Carl Salvaggio
Thermal infrared imagery allows us to visualize the temperature of objects we see in the world.  This technology provides the data we need to understand a bunch of real-world problems like how much energy is that power plant producing?, is that truck carrying a heavier load than we might expect?, how long ago did that car leave that parking spot, and what sort of gas is coming out

My life with fire: or, how I learned to stop worrying and love the flame
Bob Kremens
This talk covers the last 10 years of the RIT Wildland Fire Research program.  RIT studies wildland fire in laboratory and field settings using RIT- designed and built airborne camera systems and RIT- designed and built ground-based fire instrumentation packages. Recently our program has been extended to include structure fires and emergency management topics.  I will discuss the physics of combustion, instruments and observable phenomena, and the results of our 10 year field campaigns all over the United States.

The Use of the Blender Animation Open Source Project in Modeling Scenes for Quantitative Analysis of Imaging Systems in Remote Sensing
Rolando Raqueno
This talk discusses how an open source artist animation tool is being used extensively in the development of synthetic scenes and visualizing imaging science problems. Its use in imaging demonstrate the blurring between aesthetic realism and the fundamental physics that govern various scene and imaging phenomena. We discuss use cases in which the features of Blender application has been used as a visualization tool for other image simulation tools such as DIRSIG. We also highlight the physics and game engine within Blender that adds allows the definition of realistic motion scenarios to be streamlined. We will offer insight into the extensibility of the Blender package through the use of a Python programming interface for powerful visualization of scientific data, but also as an engaging platform for learning the Python language and programming concepts in general. Lastly we present the future potential of Blender in the context of other imaging problems such as surface microstructure, BRDF characterization, and fluid simulation and visualization.

Current Practices in Art Image Reproduction: Image Quality Experimentation
Susan Farnand
A project supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is in progress to evaluate current practices in fine art image reproduction, determine the image quality generally achievable, and establish a suggested framework for art image interchange. To determine the image quality currently being achieved, experimentation has been conducted in which a set of objective targets and pieces of artwork in various media were imaged by participating museums and other cultural heritage institutions. Prints made from the delivered image files at the Rochester Institute of Technology were used as stimuli in psychometric testing in which observers were asked to evaluate the prints as reproductions of the original artwork. The experimental results will be among the inputs used to construct general workflow guidelines for use in cultural heritage institutions to more consistently achieve acceptable image reproductions of fine art.

Solving over-grazing through rocket science: Extracting vegetation structure from 3D laser signals to address ecological challenges
Jan van Aardt
Vegetation structure can be quantified remotely using both active and passive sensing, but characterization of detailed structure, important to carbon inventory and conservation of structural biodiversity, remains elusive. A waveform light detection and ranging (lidar) research group within RIT's Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science is evaluating whether species-specific assessment of savanna woody and foliar biomass, crown structure, and woody cover can be mapped at various scales using waveform technology. These efforts will contribute to addressing the need to quantify structural diversity, its variation across landscapes, and its change due to management and climate impacts.

Emergent and Predictive Agent-Based Modeling in Remote Sensing
Michael Long
The Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science is well known for its remote sensing capabilities ( and can augment available information in catastrophic events, emergency response, and crowd dynamics.  Agent-based models are well suited for complicated systems such as an unfolding disaster, and consequently we are exploring increasing the predictive capabilities of remote sensing through agent-based modeling.

Keeping a Magnetic Resonance Imager Knocking
Joe Hornak
A magnetic resonance imager is perhaps one of the more complex pieces of diagnostic equipment found in a hospital.  Keeping it operating properly (knocking) can be a challenge because of its complexity and the pressure of every hour down, equates to the loss of one thousand dollars of revenue.  The recent development of quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques have made the task more challenging as the operating specs are more demanding than routine anatomical MRI.  This talk discusses some of the challenges of keeping a whole body magnetic resonance imager performing at a level suitable for quantitative MRI applications.

Mapping Complexity in Spectral Airborne Imagery with Application to Large Area Search and Change Detection
David Messinger
How do I find an "interesting" region in a large area image when I don't know what I'm looking for?  We use spectral subspace geometrical models and graph theory to map out the local complexity in airborne spectral imagery to aid in the large area search and change detection problems.

Hyperspectral Imaging Systems for Finding What Cannot Be Seen
John Kerekes
Imaging in hundreds of spectral channels from the visible through the infrared has been demonstrated to find objects that are smaller than a pixel. This talk describes the phenomenology, remote sensing technology, and image processing that enables finding the unseen.

Science, Engineering and Public Policy – Crossing the Great Divide
Stefi Baum
The connection between science, technology, politics, diplomacy, our nation’s future and the future of the international community grows ever more important, yet we to not provide students with any experience or education to help them navigate the myriad connections between science, technology and public policy. The author spent just under two years as a Science Policy Fellow at the US Department of State. She shares lessons learnt and critical steps for the future.

High frequency imaging and characterization of biological materials and artificial tissues
Maria Helguera
Ultrasound non-destructive evaluation uses high frequency ultrasound to interrogate materials without affecting their performance or structure. The overarching goal of this research is to develop a high frequency, pulse-echo ultrasound system to non-invasively image and characterize biofilms and artificial tissues.  Quantitative evaluation of the backscatter coefficient provides a measure of the mean backscatter cross-section per unit volume, i.e. the effectiveness with which materials scatter energy. Parameters such as thickness, viscosity, density, macrostructure and microstructure  are needed to understand image properties and design an efficient non-invasive protocol to identify different components within a sample.

Application of Modern Imaging Technologies to Historical Documents
Roger Easton
Modern imaging technologies have been applied to a wide range of historical documents, including first-millennium manuscripts that were erased and overwritten (the Archimedes Palimpsest and a Syriac manuscript by Galen), David Livingstone's diaries, and a middle-French manuscript in Dresden that was damaged during a bombing raid in World War II. The techniques that have been applied to these manuscripts and the results obtained are highlighted.

Monitoring Rift Valley Natural Hazards with Remote Sensing: Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and an "Exploding" Lake
Tony Vodacek
Lake Kivu, located on the border of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the world’s most unique lakes, and at the same time, potentially one of the most dangerous. The dangers of this Rift Valley lake arise from its unique density stratification that traps dissolved carbon dioxide and methane gas at depth. The gas source is the carbon dioxide evolving from the magma feeding the active Nyamuragira and Nyiragongo volcanoes just 10 to 15 km north of the lake. But the trapping is not permanent: the sediment record suggests that the lake has overturned with significant vertical mixing at least five times in the last 5,500 years. The sudden vertical mixing and release of gas to the atmosphere could lead to one of the largest natural disasters in recorded history. Remote sensing plays a significant role in understanding the hazard and monitoring change in this dynamic system.

Understanding the origins of solar systems: the modern astronomer's toolkit
Joel Kastner
Just a couple decades ago, we knew of one solar system in the universe -- ours. Since the mid-90's, however, astronomers have discovered hundreds of planets orbiting nearby stars. In parallel, we are gaining new insight into how these miriad solar systems, including ours, came to be. This talk presents an overview of selected techniques in modern astronomical imaging across the spectrum of electromagnetic radiation --- from radio waves through powerful X-rays -- and describes, in detail, specific cases in which these techniques are advancing astronomers' understanding of the origins of stars and planets.

Space Weather and the Colonization of Mars
Roger Dube
As NASA begins to finalize plans to establish a permanent human presence on Mars, it must begin now to address hazards and threats that will be encountered by colonists there. One of the hazards present on Mars that is not present on Earth is dangerous radiation from interplanetary particles emitted by the sun during solar storms. These storms can be so intense that potentially lethal doses of radiation and particle flux from solar events (such as flares and coronal mass ejections - CMEs) could threaten the basic viability of such colonies and impact electronic and communications infrastructure. To prevent or minimize damage, NASA has engaged the RIT Spaceweather Technologies And Research (STAR) Lab to develop an Early Warning System (EWS) for Mars. The STAR team is developing artificial intelligence and other advanced algorithms to monitor the activity on the sun and predict when such storms will erupt and strike Earth or Mars.