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Seeing colorful STARS

4:38 PM  Sep 18th, 2014
by Michelle Tedford

We’re expecting a raiding party from Apple any day now.

Keigo Hirakawa, they are coming for you.

At today’s STARS symposium, the engineering professor joined colleagues from across the University in condensing years of research and reams of data into 20-minute bites to be consumed by a hungry audience whose members dine at tables of many disciplines.

The results were insightful and, in Hirakawa’s case, colorful.

His innovation improves what our visual filter, the eye, sees by manipulating color arrangement and intensity. To demonstrate, he flashed on the board two images of St. Joseph Hall — one with a traditional pixel arrangement, and one using his method.

“Which do you prefer?” he asked, throwing his arms wide with exuberance for opportunities to improve imagery in what he sees as the sweet spot of colored pixel research.

It was contagious.

Joe Haus talked of climbing mountains in his theoretical search for a new way to harness energy, which challenges how low — or small — you can go.

Michelle Pautz likened local environmental regulators to the Lilliputians, illuminating an oft-maligned group of workers.

Christian Kiewitz, in a smart suit and maroon tie, stepped beside his PowerPoint presentation, lifted his fists and let loose a “whee-hee.” The reason for his enthusiasm? His hypotheses regarding abusive supervisors and workers’ fearful silence proved correct. (The celebration was for the research, not the bad bosses.)

At STARS each year, faculty and researchers share what makes them excited and give us perspective on why we should be excited, too. It could be cleaner jet fuels, or more fulfilled sophomores, or insights into Alzheimer’s disease, or many, many more opportunities.

It could also be because we have a community that celebrates their excitement enough to spend part of a beautiful day with them in a darkened auditorium.

And if there are future celebrations, you know we’ll be there, too. Said Hirakawa, “If Apple calls me about this technology for the iPhone 7, I’ll retire from UD.” Whee-hee.

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