Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) was founded in 1829 and adopted its current name in 1944. Today, in addition to its home in New York, RIT has partnerships on nearly every continent and overseas campuses located in China, Croatia, Dubai, and Kosovo.
Signature Research Areas
RIT research covers these general areas; in addition, each of the university’s colleges conducts its own significant research.
Founded in 2020, the Global Cybersecurity Institute at RIT is a world-class facility dedicated to cybersecurity including secure systems, software, devices, and technologies of the future, while providing resources to commercialize methods, algorithms, software, devices, and designs to launch scalable entrepreneurial ventures.
A team of researchers is working to bridge the cybersecurity gap in vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications. They hope their work can be used to help roll out V2V technology in a safe and secure way as soon as possible — and eventually for use in self-driving cars. They created a prototype of secure V2V communications that uses software-defined radios to represent vehicles that can exchange messages. The team implemented integrity verification and vehicle authentication to ensure that those messages are legitimate and tamper-resistant, while preserving privacy. They also designed and built a visual interface that renders these communications in real time, allowing researchers to track the actions that each vehicle makes in a simulated scenario. The students sought to create a wireless testbed that future research teams can use to investigate secure V2V communications.
This research area brings together physics, math, computer science, and engineering to understand and develop cutting-edge imaging systems such as satellites and detectors that record, process, display, or analyze image data.
The Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science is dedicated to pushing the frontiers of imaging in all its forms and uses. The center’s Laboratory for Multi-wavelength Astrophysics fosters the utilization and advancement of cutting-edge techniques to improve human understanding of the origin and fate of the universe. Research in detectors and imaging systems focuses on the development of novel imaging systems, primarily for astronomical applications. Significant research has been conducted on the use of Digital Micro-mirror Devices in multi-object spectrometers for astronomical imaging systems. Additional work in optical systems includes research into the use of ultrafast lasers for the development of novel photonic detectors and other surface polishing applications.
The Multidisciplinary Vision Research Laboratory combines expertise in eye tracking instrumentation, cognitive science knowledge of the human visual system, and computer vision to understand how the eye-brain system works as well as how to leverage that knowledge into novel computer vision systems. The research is supported by the PerForM Lab with both full motion capture and multiple AR/VR system capabilities. Additionally, active research into computer vision and deep learning approaches for applications from 3D scene understanding to active learning frameworks is ongoing. Scientists from RIT and the University of Rochester aim to use virtual reality to help restore vision for people with stroke-induced blindness. The team developed a method they believe could revolutionize rehabilitation for patients with cortically induced blindness. Built-in eye trackers in virtual reality headsets will allow patients to ensure they are fixated on the correct spot and doing eye exercises properly.
The Digital Imaging and Remote Sensing Laboratory (DIRS) encompasses projects from system design and calibration for NASA Earth-observing satellites, to the development of imaging systems to fly on small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for precision agriculture.
The NanoImaging Lab is home to four electron microscopes and focuses on two major research themes: using imaging science to improve the performance of electron microscopes computationally, and using the tools of imaging science to characterize materials at the micro and nano scale using electron microscopy.
The Magnetic Resonance Laboratory is devoted to solving real-world problems with magnetic resonance. The laboratory has several pieces of specialized magnetic resonance spectroscopy and imaging instrumentation.
Personalized Healthcare Technology
The Personalized Healthcare Technology (PHT) research area develops technologies to diagnose and treat myriad health conditions.
A team has developed a noninvasive heart monitor that notifies people with early signs of COVID-19 symptoms. VPG Medical, a local startup with ties to RIT and the University of Rochester Medical Center, developed the home-based wellness tracker called HealthKam. The app runs on Android devices and uses the embedded front camera to track the device user’s heart rate while they use the device as they normally would, thereby providing continuous monitoring without requiring the user to take action or buy a device in order to be monitored. Heart rate goes up as fever, one of several symptoms of the coronavirus, increases. The app, while not meant to be a diagnostic tool, can provide the user with valuable information on heart rate.
Researchers and clinicians are developing computational systems for creating individualized 3D imaging of a patient’s heart. With these 3D heart models, clinicians now have a noninvasive way to study their patients, helping improve patient care for cardiac arrhythmia and other heart diseases.
Another noninvasive technology may provide complementary testing options to reveal breast tumors hidden behind dense tissues. The noninvasive, cost-effective method uses infrared technology that is both comfortable and reliable. Thermography does not induce radiation like mammography does and there is no contrast material like with an MRI. The system consists of an infrared camera on a track mounted underneath a cushioned table. It is angled and can be adjusted as the clinician moves it to take images.
A new approach enables supercomputer simulations of the heart’s electrophysiology in real time on desktop computers and even cellphones. A team from RIT and Georgia Tech developed the approach that can help diagnose heart conditions and test new treatments. In hospital settings, the real-time models could allow doctors to have better discussions with their patients about life-threatening heart conditions.
New 3D printing techniques are providing a way for RIT researchers to create platforms to help regenerate human tissue that allows the body to heal itself more effectively. This work could reduce the need for human organ donations in the future. Compatible combinations of polymers and biomaterials can be successfully used to fabricate scaffolds — 3D-printed structures that signal the body to begin its own tissue regrowth. Bioprinting uses the additive manufacturing principles of building three-dimensional parts layer-by-layer.
Researchers in this area develop and commercialize advanced photonics technologies for processing information and energy.
The Center for Detectors designs, develops, and implements new sensor technologies through focused laboratories. The Nanopower Research Labs works on applications of nanomaterials in energy and photonics. Research is focused on the development of new materials and devices for power generation and storage as well as novel materials for photonic and optoelectronic applications.
The Semiconductor and Microsystems Fabrication Laboratory provides facilities and support for programs in microelectronic engineering, microsystems, and related disciplines. The facility also provides industrial affiliates in the semiconductor and microsystems industries with applied solutions in microdevice design, process development, microsystem integration, and prototype fabrication.
Researchers from RIT’s Future Photon Initiative, in collaboration with the Air Force Research Laboratory, have produced the Department of Defense’s first-ever fully integrated quantum photonics wafer. Wafers are used to mass produce integrated circuits or microchips. The microchips produced by this wafer will help to explore how photonics can be used to develop quantum computers.
Golisano Institute for Sustainability (GIS) aims to make industry more sustainable through approaches and technologies that minimize the use of materials and energy while maximizing outcomes. Research focuses on resource recovery, sustainable manufacturing, energy systems, transportation, and mobility.
New technologies are emerging that can be used to recover and recapture the embedded value typically lost when products reach the end of their lifecycle. A large focus of research explores this area, where digital data technologies can be leveraged to inform smooth production, recovery, and remanufacturing of common consumer goods.
The Institute provides tools and expertise to understand and evaluate a design so engineers know how it will perform before it goes into production. Computer simulations of product use, manufacturing processes, and end-of-life scenarios shed light on how designs and parameters affect success, allowing companies to make the right engineering choices.
GIS develops and integrates advanced machine-level sensors that relay data on process performance, product quality, and equipment health. It also creates networking solutions that connect machines in an Internet of Things, providing system-wide monitoring that helps manufacturers make decisions to improve throughput, minimize downtime, and reduce costs.
Focus areas include smart and connected factories, autonomous systems, energy systems, microgrid control and integration, alternative and renewable fuels and power systems, intelligent or smart transportation technologies and systems, vehicle health monitoring technologies, and autonomous transport for people and goods.
The Intellectual Property Management Office (IPMO) manages RIT’s intellectual property portfolio and seeks to bring that IP to the marketplace through licensing or assignment. These technologies represent a wide diversity of market applications and range from invention disclosures to issued patents and from early-stage technologies to market-ready products and services.