Notre Dame joins ACCelerate: ACC Smithsonian Creativity and Innovation Festival

Author: Jessica Sieff

ND Experts

Tracy Kijewski-Correa

Tracy Kijewski-Correa

Engineering; Keough School of Global Affairs

ACCelerate: ACC Smithsonian Creativity and Innovation Festival
ACCelerate: ACC Smithsonian Creativity and Innovation Festival

Students and faculty will put their creativity and ingenuity on display as they showcase ongoing projects in civic engagement, health, design and technology during the ACCelerate: ACC Smithsonian Creativity and Innovation Festival.

The festival, taking place Friday-Sunday (Oct. 13-15) at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., is a three-day event celebrating creative exploration and research in science, engineering, arts and design. Researchers at the University of Notre Dame will join the 15 universities of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) with interactive displays highlighting their work.

Notre Dame’s featured projects include:

  • The Notre Dame Artisan Project – For the past decade, art and design students under faculty guidance have worked with the Association for Craft Producers, Nepal’s largest fair-trade craft organization, to design and prototype new products. Their work has resulted in more than 1,500 new products, upward of 90 percent sample rates by global buyers, expansion of buyer networks beyond traditional fair trade channels, and most importantly, a significant increase in sales and more employment for artisan groups.
  • Speech-Based Concussion Assessment – Researchers developed an iPad-based “reading test” that captures the speech responses of youth athletes to assess the likelihood of a concussion. Each recording undergoes a series of speech feature extraction steps, and machine learning techniques are used to evaluate changes of these acoustic features compared to the baseline recording. The tool has so far been used on more than 2,500 college and high school athletes (including over 100 concussed individuals) leading to more than 10,000 recordings, which are currently being studied to identify the optimal feature combination to maximize concussion detection probability.
  • PACK: Rapid Shelter System – PACK reimagines the challenge of delivering shelters to remote locations. Traditional approaches focus on delivering all-in-one shelters, but various factors limit the success of these initiatives. PACK differs by proposing to aid an often unskilled civilian population to quickly and easily build structurally sound shelters using bamboo, a locally available material in many earthquake-prone regions.
  • Making Music – Engineering students and faculty have collaborated with Grammy-nominated music ensemble Third Coast Percussion and composer Glenn Kotche, drummer for the Grammy-winning band Wilco, on a series of educational and performance projects that explore the relationship between the STEM fields and the arts, designing custom acoustic and electronic instruments built around a restricted set of pitches. Called WAVES, the educational program is for all ages and uses oscilloscope and spectrum analyzer apps to visualize music dynamics, pitch and timbre.
  • Delivering Safe Housing Through Collaborative Innovation – Researchers engaged with displaced populations in Haiti that have continued to struggle with recovery from a devastating earthquake in 2010 and, more recently, Hurricane Matthew. Collaboration revealed how a new residential housing technology could be coupled with process innovations to enable local actors to deliver safe, affordable and dignified housing despite Haiti’s limited economic capacity and frail institutional systems. The housing technology centers on a panel and frame system that complies with international building standards for wind and earthquakes, while holistically considering non-engineering constraints.


Faculty will also participate in panel discussions and performances. A performance by Third Coast Percussion, “Making Music” will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday (Oct. 14) on the Flag Hall Stage. Tracy Kijewski-Correa will discuss “Interdisciplinary Thinking and Collaboration on the Coulter Stage at 2 p.m.

The festival is free and open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. both days. Forty-seven interactive installations from across the ACC will focus on themes of civic engagement, arts and technology, sustainability and environment, biomimetics, health and body, and making and advanced manufacturing.

Contact: Jessica Sieff, assistant director of media relations, 574-631-3933,