Awards & Honors

Spitzer Students Win da Vinci Challenge

Fourth-year B Arch students Johannah Deegan and Zara Tamton deployed their expertise in coding and robotics, gained in Professor Frank Melendez‘s Responsive Architectures course, to win City College’s inaugural Art + Science Leonardo da Vinci Challenge.

The team created the winning artwork, entitled “Flock,” by using Arduino microcontrollers, a procedural text-based software, to build and program two robots to create human-like strokes and lines. The C++ language commanded the servomotors to rotate at varying speeds in different directions. The two rotating servomotors were attached to arms that drew the underlying ink layer with a pen. A vibrating robot painted the colored overlay by moving bristles that brushed paint along the page.

The challenge–a collaborative effort between the Division of Science and the Division of Humanities and the Arts–was the brainchild of alumnus John Cioffi ’72, a friend and supporter of the Division of Science. Cioffi graduated from CCNY with a degree in chemistry and later pursued a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Miami. Through his generosity, Deegan and Tamton received a $1000 prize.

The competition required teams of two or more undergraduate students to submit artwork expressing a scientific principle, concept, idea, process, and/or structure. A juried panel, using criteria based on both scientific and artistic considerations, selected the winners.

A ceremony will be held in the fall to officially award the prize and display the artwork of the finalists. Video of robots and masterpiece here.