An FCAD display table with RUBIX catalogue handouts provided for guests at the event (Yara Kashlan/ Ryersonian Staff)

The hitchhiking robot co-created by a Ryerson assistant professor is still missing its head.

That was one piece of information that emerged Nov. 4 during the Faculty of Communications and Design’s (FCAD) first-ever RUBIX showcase.

The event took place at the school of image arts and was meant to share the projects of various FCAD members with the Ryerson community.

The nine schools that make up FCAD were represented, and 26 exhibitors displayed the latest developments of their work — including an intricate paper shoe collection and a ‘Global Campus Network.’

HitchBOT was present, but only in spirit — a cardboard cut-out of the bot was on display at the event with its co-creator Frauke Zeller, who is an assistant professor in the school of professional communication.

She updated the status of the real robot.

While hitchhiking in the U.S., it “unfortunately was violated and damaged,” said Zeller. “We are still missing the head … we are still missing the electronics inside.”

The team hasn’t decided what it is going to do next, Zeller added.

But things are a little more certain for RUBIX.

According to Marie Crosta, director of communications and special projects for FCAD, it will turn into an annual event and be even bigger next year.

“The goal of this event was to showcase some of the projects in existence and show each other,” said Crosta, adding that it gave other schools in the faculty a chance to build opportunities to collaborate.

The theme of collaboration was echoed throughout the evening. Mohamed Lachemi, who will become Ryerson’s interim president next month, said the event “also encourages collaboration and development of synergy between the groups.”

Lorella Di Cintio, associate professor in the school of interior design, was at RUBIX to talk about her research project titled ‘The Paper Shoe Project’. It consists of several designs of shoes made from paper.

“We do a lot of work looking at mathematics, geometry, folding, and looking at the inherent strengths of material,” said Di Cintio. “Our hope is to translate some of these designs to other countries where there are infectious diseases, and looking at low cost (and) fair trade shoes,” said Di Cintio.

The shoes are still prototypes, said Di Cintio, “so there are some areas that we still need to work out.”

Another project on display was the Global Campus Network (GCN), which allows students in different countries to team up on a project using satellite communication.

“We developed this technology sort of like Skype, but there is no delay, so they were able to do all kinds of interesting things, such as they created a ballet in different cities around the world…” said Richard Grunberg, GCN’s executive director.

Grunberg, said the project is meant to engage young people around the world in the collaborative process of media creation.

Lachemi says this showcase opportunity is part of building Ryerson’s reputation. “I think we have to show the community around us this is what our talented faculty and students can do.”

This article was published in the print edition of The Ryersonian on Nov. 11, 2015.

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