Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute


Matej Vakula, Yifei Peng, Rafael Marrufo

Landmine detection methods have not evolved since the days of World War II, and removal remains a dangerous and costly endeavor. Microbial Frontline Recovery proposes a series of kits using microbes to locate landmines and unexploded munitions left after military conflicts.

These kits use biosensors to detect landmines using bioluminescent bacteria and then apply bioengineered bacteria to buried landmines to neutralize their explosives and also recover the soil damaged by the chemical leakage from the mines.


Kathy High is an interdisciplinary artist working in the area of technology, science and art. She produces videos, photographs, writings, performances and installations about gender and technology, empathy, and animal sentience.

Her most recent art works include a video documentary about green or natural burials, entitled Death Down Under; and a performance/visual arts project called Blood Wars that uses white blood cells to test an individual’s strengths. These projects have allowed High to investigate areas such as decomposition and the immune system.

She has received numerous awards for her video works including grants from The Rockefeller Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She has been an independent curator for a number of years, having started the video exhibition program at Hallwalls Gallery in Buffalo, NY, and curated the Microwave Festival in Hong Kong, as well as television series (REEL NEW YORK on WNET) and video exhibitions internationally. Her work, “Embracing Animal”, was exhibited in “Becoming Animal” at MASS MoCA, North Adams. Her work can be found at



Nancy Diniz is a registered architect and researcher. Before joining RPI she held several academic positions in China, UK, Italy and in Portugal in the areas of Architecture, Interior architecture, Environmental Technology and Interactive Design. Her main research and teaching interests question traditional scale boundaries between design disciplines – Fashion, Product, Architecture and Computer Science. Lately she has been prototyping modular and scalable systems that go from people to envelopes of buildings, exploring notions of wearable and mobile materials with real-time environmental information exchange properties. Since 2002, her research has also included developing digital tools to assist conceptual design processes. She has worked with augmented reality, free-hand 3D virtual modelling, and creating tools that allow for time-based mapping, analysis and visualization of invisible, unquantifiable and temporal data. She has published and exhibited her work widely and is part of the scientific and technical committees: of ISEA, ASA, ACHIM, HCI, Sigradi, eECADe, CAAD Futures, and CAADRIA conferences.


Banner image: Michael D. Beckwith, The Leeds Library