Students contribute to community at area smart house

At a recent ribbon cutting ceremony in McKeesport, a new Blueroof research cottage was dedicated.

The facility will serve both as housing for the elderly and as an arena for research on smart technologies that are used to assist older individuals or those with disabilities to live independently.

Two PSUGA students who have helped in these efforts, Richard Knapick and Michael Figliolia, were at the dedication.

Figliolia, who received a BS in Information Sciences and Technology (IST) in 2008, is an IT specialist at Blueroof. He established "new information policies, networking technology, and database administration techniques" and also handles "the internal management application software."

Knapick, an IST major, interned at Blueroof and is now a part-time employee. He describes his responsibilities as "system and network wiring, sensor placement and integration, and testing" along with the "initial technology design and our first use of analog sensors" for data collection. Knapick also notes that "as a small company we work very much as a team, so it is difficult to isolate portions of the work we do into specific areas of sole responsibility. This may be seen as a disadvantage by some, but it allows us to cross many varied technology paths and consequently be exposed to a myriad of potential (and sometimes unique) solutions."

The students' experiences illustrate the opportunities available for PSUGA students to use what they are learning in the classroom to benefit the community.

Robert Walters, Professor of Engineering at PSUGA and Director of Technology for Blueroof, spoke at the ceremony, along with Professor Emeritus James Stewart and Chancellor Curtiss Porter.