The Smart Conference Room, developed by the ERC, is an advanced test bed designed for experiments in areas that range from energy efficiency and color controls, to occupant task estimation and human factors studies.

To commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Engineering Research Centers (ERC), the National Science Foundation (NSF) and IEEE-USA are co-sponsoring a reception on Capitol Hill on October 28. At the reception, 16 current, NSF-supported ERCs—including the Smart Lighting Engineering Research Center at Rensselaer—will showcase interactive demonstrations and research findings related to engineering discovery, technologies, and tools that have resulted in high-impact achievements and address national priorities.

“The NSF’s ERC program provides a very unique, highly interdisciplinary environment for training engineering students in cutting-edge research driven from a systems-level perspective,” said Robert Karlicek, director of Rensselaer’s Smart Lighting ERC. “By having students connect the dots between basic science, engineering, and real-world applications, they learn how to be successful in either academic or industrial disciplines faster than students who are isolated in narrowly confined research projects.”

In addition to the demonstrations, three finalists from the ERCs’ Perfect Pitch Contest will explain their research in the context of societal needs and the broader impact of their success. The event is designed to invite conversation among graduate students, researchers, industry representatives, and legislator/staffers. Indrani Bhattacharya, a graduate student in the Department of Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering at Rensselaer, will represent the Smart Lighting ERC.

“The ERC’s mixture of transformative research, system-level experimental test beds, active educational outreach, and strong engagement with global industry partners is a signature strength of all ERC programs, and the Smart Lighting ERC is excited to be part of this 30th NSF ERC celebration on Capitol Hill,” said Karlicek.