Student wins award for building DJ mask

first_imgSenior Alexina Boudreaux-Allen won a paid trip to a music festival during the Red Bull Hack the Hits hackathon after building a mask for DJs and electronic music performers with a team of students. (Julia Mazzucco | Daily Trojan)A USC senior and two other students from Stanford University and Berklee College of Music won an all-expense paid trip to a mystery music festival at the Red Bull Hack the Hits hackathon from Oct. 12 to 15 thanks to their instrument invention, the Beat Mask, which was built in just 48 hours.The winning team, known as the USBs, comprises Alexina Boudreaux-Allen, a computer science student at USC, Raul Dagir from Stanford and Claire Lim from the Berklee. Boudreaux-Allen said that her team’s interests in music and technology inspired them to create Beat Mask, a mask for DJs and electronic music performers with a machine learning algorithm that transforms voice input into live electronically-produced music. “One of the things that we all had in common is that we’re all performers,” Boudreaux-Allen said. “We just wanted to see if we could find a way to make electronic performances to be more live-feeling, like for audiences.”The product was constructed from a $4 spray painting mask from Home Depot, Boudreaux-Allen said.Using a microphone from Apple earphones, Beat Mask picks up the wearer’s beatboxing and replicates it electronically. The USBs also installed LED lights that flash with the music and a gyroscope that captures movement and controls music effects.  “Being able to make something that can make a electronic producer have a more engaging set with their audience, we just thought that sounded hype, because we all perform,” Boudreaux-Allen added. The only instruction the five groups participating were given at the hackathon was to create anything that makes sound, according to Boudreaux-Allen. However, there were a few guidelines: instruments had to be a physical product and produce sound in a musical way. The criteria for a winning project included musicality, innovation, usability and awesomeness, according to Julie Covello, also known as DJ Shakey, one of the five hackathon judges. Beat Mask managed to pull together all aspects and pulled ahead with its high technicality and visual engagement, according to Covello. “It did have a high technical capability, which was incorporating the artificial intelligence and all that, which is great,” Covello said. “But I don’t want to see an instrument that only does that. It also looked really weird and unique. It had blinking lights on it, and it also had synth functions:you could turn a knob and you could filter a sound.”Matt Moldover, one of the five mentors in the music industry that helped teams over the 48-hour period, initially worried about the winning team because they spent the most time in the ideation stage. “Conceptualizing a mask as a musical instrument is something I don’t think I’ve ever seen before,” Moldover said. “It won in the novelty department and in the presentation department, and in the way they pulled it together.”The team worked through obstacles with machine learning with help from mentors like Moldover and USC alumnus Mike Gao, who specializes in the area of programming and software.“I’m a graduating senior right now, and I have no idea what I want to do with my life,” Boudreaux-Allen said. “But this hackathon … I thought it was freaking awesome  for multiple reasons, like one, you just get to like come up with an idea and just make it and see it all the way through. And that’s a really satisfying thing.”last_img read more

Syracuse tops UConn, 79-76, in wild affair to stay undefeated

first_imgPARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas — Trevor Cooney, Michael Gbinije and Jim Boeheim walked down the lobby of the Atlantis Resort to a hero’s welcome. Cooney was still in uniform, two large ice bags taped to both of his knees. He waved to the roaring orange-clad fans roped off just inches away. Boeheim high-fived a security guard, whose other hand was occupied with a camera phone, documenting the moment.When the head coach sat down for his press conference, he could hardly be heard over the “Let’s go Orange” roars that permeated throughout the hallway.“It’s like an NCAA (Tournament) game,” Boeheim said.Renewing a Big East rivalry for the first time, Syracuse (5-0) took the lead over Connecticut (4-1) on the back of three-straight 3-pointers in the second half and muscled its way to a 79-76 win in the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis. Syracuse fell down by 10 early and nearly gave up a 10-point lead late, but held on to defeat its first ranked opponent following a season where it had only two top-25 victories.Tyler Lydon scored 16 points and recorded 12 rebounds. Five players scored at least 13, and the Orange recorded 41 rebounds to UConn’s 33.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“Both teams are getting up and down at the end, making plays, scoring baskets,” Cooney said. “Those are the type of games you want to play in.”First a long Lydon 3 swished through the net to tie the score at 44. He allowed himself a small celebration running up the court after clanking a fade-away two off the rim just moments before.On the next possession Malachi Richardson hit a 3 from the corner in front of the SU bench with a hand in his face. When SU got the ball back 23 seconds after that, it was a wide-open Gbinije that drained a 3 on the opposite end. UConn coach Kevin Ollie called a timeout and a much larger celebration ensued. It was a 50-47 lead that would only grow and never be given away.Not when Rodney Purvis hit three 3s in less than three minutes to cut the lead back to two. And not when Cooney lost track of the clock and had to shoot a 35-foot 3 with eight seconds left in the game.SU had sustained the first UConn punch. When Sterling Gibbs scored on an easy outlet layup off a Cooney miss, it gave him eight points in the first three minutes and the Huskies a six-point lead. But by the time he stood isolated in the corner of the court, hands at his hips after recording his fourth foul with in the second half, it was clear that Connecticut had no answer for how SU would fight back.“(Syracuse) played a great game in the second half,” Ollie said, “really took it to us offensively.”Cooney didn’t realize that the shot clock was about to expire. Only when there were two ticks left did he heave a miss off the side rim. Tyler Roberson, who had muscled on the glass for four offensive boards, skied up for his fifth and final one. The ball spent the last three seconds of the game in the hands of Richardson, who heaved it all the way down court.The finish was anti-climactic in its sudden end, but antithetical to a game in which no one ever seemed dead. As the clock ran out and Syracuse celebrated, a rivalry was reborn, and Syracuse picked up a season-defining win.After the fanfare of the press conference and after his players began to leave the makeshift locker room, Boeheim went back out to the concourse and sat alone on an armchair big enough to be a throne. There was no one around him, no one to high-five. Just a moment to soak in, if only temporarily.“It was a great game,” Boeheim said. “I can’t say enough for these guys. It was just a really good win.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on November 26, 2015 at 7:47 pm Contact Sam: sblum@syr.edu | @SamBlum3last_img read more