University of Pittsburgh
October 11, 2017

ACCelerate: ACC Smithsonian Creativity and Innovation Festival to Showcase University Innovators Addressing Global Challenges


PITTSBURGH—The University of Pittsburgh has participated in a yearlong process with the Atlantic Coast Conference, partner ACC universities and the Smithsonian Institution to create the first “ACCelerate: ACC Smithsonian Creativity and Innovation Festival.” Presented by Virginia Tech and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, the ACCelerate Festival is three-day celebration of creative exploration and research at the nexus of science, engineering, arts and design. Visitors to the festival will interact with leading innovators from ACC universities and engage with new interdisciplinary technologies that draw upon art, science and humanities to address global challenges.

Held at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., Oct. 13-15, from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. each day, the event is programmed by Virginia Tech’s Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology and the museum’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation.

The event is free and showcases the 15 universities of the ACC in an opportunity for the schools to display their work to each other and, more importantly, to the public. In addition to the 47 featured interactive installations, the festival will include panel discussions and performances throughout the three days.

The festival will be featured on all three public floors in the west wing of the National Museum of American History, located on Constitution Avenue between 12th and 14th Streets, NW, along the National Mall in Washington, D.C. There will be 47 interactive installations from across the 15 ACC schools around six thematic areas:

  • Civic Engagement
  • Arts and Technology
  • Sustainability and Environment
  • Biomimetics
  • Health and Body
  • Making and Advanced Manufacturing

Three Pitt projects will be featured at the festival:

  • As part of the Health and Body theme: BodyExplorer: A Next-Generation Simulator for Healthcare Training, Providing Hands-On Learning and Practice via Augmented Reality Visualization, by Joseph Samosky, faculty member in bioengineering; John O'Donnell, faculty member in the School of Nursing; and Pitt alumnus Douglas Nelson, who earned his PhD in bioengineering in 2017 and bachelor’s degrees in bioengineering and applied mathematics in 2009. Exhibitors include graduate students Brendan Weaver and Josh Heidecker of nursing and undergraduates Sarah Miccolis of nursing and Christian Mazur of the Swanson School. BodyExplorer is designed to help health care trainees learn anatomy and physiology and practice treating patients though interaction with an augmented reality-enhanced, full-body simulated patient.

In addition, on Oct. 13, Anderson and Cooper are scheduled panelists in separate conversations on “Inspiration and Personal Stories” at 2:30 p.m. at the venue’s Gateway Stage and at 4 p.m. at the Coulter Stage, respectively.