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MIT student blogger Mitra L. '07

We all campus for iCampus by Mitra L. '07

Innovation and Entrepreneurship: We all love iCampus! (~8 pictures)

I’m not quite sure under what category to file this entry, since it’s partially Random, potentially Social, and relatively Academics. Fine, “Academics” it is.

The MIT Outreach Initiative “seeks to disseminate innovative educational technology tools that can make a significant, sustainable difference in how well and quickly students learn, how much they remember, and how fast they can shift from absorbing facts and concepts to creating new ideas and solutions themselves.”

Well, that’s quite a lofty goal, isn’t it? The Outreach Initiative with which I am most familiar is iCampus, which is funded/sponsored by Microsoft. Undergraduates, graduates, and/or faculty submit proposals for something cool that will achieve iCampus’s goals, and if all goes well, they get funding to make their dream a reality.

MIT strategy
* To transform the classroom experience to promote active learning;
* To promote the intellectual commons;
* To foster new modes of inter-institutional collaboration; and
* To build the extended university community.
Microsoft goals
* Create new interactive learning models for project based science, mathematics and educational technology learning;
* Build tools that define the cutting edge of excellence in teaching, with a focus on creating experiential learning environments;
* Publish educationally innovative content for wide-scale distribution; and
* Develop educational utilities (Web services for learning) that assist in assessment, administration and content management.

Okay, here are some examples of cool projects:

” We connected a computer to a stationary exercise bicycle and wrote software that reads input from the bike, and sends output to the bike. We can read RPMs, calories burned, etc, and can tell the bike to increase or decrease resistance. We wrote two unique computer games that entertain the person exercising on the bike while motivating them to push themselves harder.

“In one game, you pedal to make a hot air balloon float over mountains while you collect coins and shoot random targets. Pedaling controls your movement. In the second game, you are a spaceship that flies around and shoots down incoming enemies. You move around freely with a joypad, and pedaling instead charges up your energy meter. The energy meter is depleted every time you take a shot. So, the more you shoot, the more you have to exercise.

“Our games automatically decrease or increase in difficulty depending upon your game playing skill and your physical fitness level. We call it our “Difficulty Management System” (DMS)”


“A hands-on, student-made museum exhibit teaches visitors about fluid flow as they move like scuba divers through a virtual underwater environment and interact with realistic-looking animated fish.

“The exhibit–an 8-foot-by-4-foot custom-built kiosk with a display on an LCD screen controlled by a luminescent blue trackball and buttons that allow you to zoom in or out, get background information and change the kind of fish you’re watching–will open in the Hart Nautical Gallery in Building 5.”


This is a personal favorite. Basically, MIT has this extensive system of shuttles (SafeRide, TechShuttle, etc.) that transports students around the Boston and Cambridge area, but with bad weather or traffic, the buses can get off schedule. ShuttleTrack lets you track, in real time, where each shuttle is so you can plan accordingly.

Here is a more comprehensive listing of the projects

–Which are your favorites?
–What would YOU create?

8 responses to “We all campus for iCampus”

  1. Stephanie says:

    I love shuttletrack. I must dial that number at least once a day, either to find out if it’s worth it to wait for Tech Shuttle, or see if I’m going to make the next SafeRide across the river.

    And I’d never heard of that biking program before, but it’s pretty awesome looking! Hooray for healthy video games!


  2. nehalita says:

    I saw Topobo on the Discovery Channel about a month ago and fell in love with it. It’s definitely my favorite… if anyone goes through the comprehensive site, make sure you check it out and see the videos:

    it’s definitely worth 2 minutes =)

  3. as says:

    How do you guys afford the MIT tution fees???

    Does everyone expect to pay it back from a higher expected income??

    It really must put a burden on most families

  4. Mitra says:

    Actually, MIT has a 100% needs-based financial aid program, and will meet your family’s demonstrated financial need in full, using grants, loans, and work-study. About 70-75% of MIT students receive some financial aid from MIT.

    For tons more information about this, visit Daniel Barkowitz’s blog at

    He’s the Director of Financial Aid and has detailed posts about how MIT calculates these numbers.

  5. Ryan Tang says:

    LOL! its MITRA. i cant believe you’re blog is on the MIT admissions like… homepage. =D i doubt you remeber me. one of those math kids… with darren, anderthan and them.

  6. Dave says:

    I’ve heard of the biking program, personally I’d rather just run and reserve my video game time for purely useless pursuits grin

  7. Michael Wu says:

    Aww MIT nerdiness! I love it.

    Hi Mitra! I think you know of me?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Hi Mitra, I’m looking for Bhoomi Dave / Mitra Dave. These are long-lost friends of fact, I used to teach Bhoomi some lessons in Maths almost a decade back.

    I’d simply be delighted if it’s the right person.