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Spitzer students win Art + Science Leonardo da Vinci Challenge

Johannah Deegan and Zara Tamton
Art + Science Leonardo da Vinci Challenge winners Johannah Deegan (left) and Zara Tamton.

Architecture majors Johannah Deegan and Zara Tamton are winners of the inaugural Art + Science Leonardo da Vinci Challenge, a collaborative effort between the Division of Science and the Division of Humanities and the Arts, at The City College of New York. The team won for their artwork entitled “Flock,” which was created by using their expertise in coding and robotics, gained in Professor Frank Melendez' Responsive Architectures course.

Open to all undergraduate students, teams of two or more students submitted artwork expressing a scientific principle, concept, idea, process, and/or structure. A panel, using criteria based on both scientific and artistic considerations, named Deegan and Tamton, from the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture, winners.

The challenge 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 team created “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.

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

 About The City College of New York
Since 1847, The City College of New York has provided low-cost, high-quality education for New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. Today more than 16,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in eight professional schools and divisions, driven by significant funded research, creativity and scholarship.  Now celebrating its 170th anniversary, CCNY is as diverse, dynamic and visionary as New York City itself.  View CCNY Media Kit.



Ashley Arocho

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