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June 29, 1998 - Image 3

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1998-06-29

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Molday, Jrie 29,; '1 ~- TeMi1iankD' Dty-

Girl Scout
patch gets
By Christine Branson
For the Daily.
2.5 million Girl Scouts can add a
new badge to their sashes - one creat-
ed by a University professor.
Architecture Prof. Melissa Harris
said her work with local Huron Valley
Girl Scouts inspired the idea of the new
The Huron Valley Girl Scout
Council contacted Harris early last
year for assistance with designing
bathing facilities at Camp Linden.
Harris, with her class of architecture
students, conducted workshops for
approximately 50 girls.
The Girl Scouts received the
hands-on experience of creating and
implementing building designs.
"If they didn't like the placement
} of the showers or the sinks, they
moved them to a better location,"
Harris said. "It really allowed the
imagination to flow, while still learn-
ing about architecture."
Harris said that observing the girls'
enthusiasm while working on the
project encouraged her to create a
new patch for the Girl Scouts' mil-
lions of members.
"With the large membership, archi-
tecture can now be seen as something
for girls as well,' Harris said.
Harris said she felt many of the
scouts are unaware of the opportuni-
ties available to women in architec-
ture because the subject is often con-

Student M-Card
to change this fall

Architecture professor Melissa Harris created a merit badge for the Girl Scouts.
Scouts must complete requirements in various categories to obtain the patch.

By Jennifer Yachnin
Daily Staff Reporter
It doesn't slice, it doesn't dice but it
can be used to make calls, get cash and
gain access to University dining halls.
The M-Card - the official identifi-
cation for University students, faculty
and staff - was originally created to
reduce the number of access and identi-
fication cards students needed to carry
with them, said David Doyle, market-
ing and sales coordinator for M-Card.
"You could have up to five or seven
library cards," Doyle said. "It just made
complete sense to go to a single card so
students wouldn't have to carry so
many cards."
While the M-Card is used as a
library card, a meal card for dining
halls and access key for many resi-
dence halls, it also works as a phone
card. The card, which features a
CashChip, can also be used at a variety
of local businesses and as an
ATM/debit card when connected to a
First of America bank account.
"It is a multi-functional card, and
the nice thing about that is that most of
the features are optional," Doyle said.
This November, First of America
will become National City
Corporation. The bank is required to
give account holders a 30-day notifi-
cation of the transition.
"The notification of that will
affect the people that have a First of
America account" and not all M-
Card holders, Doyle said. "I don't
think they're going to do a
University-wide notification."
Doyle said the University is still dis-
tributing the most recent batch of M-
Cards, which feature hologram logos

"After the first of
November we'll
have to change all
the cards."
- David Doyle
M-card marketing and sales
across the front of the card.
"They won't change what is printed
on the card until it takes affect," Doyle
"After the first (of November) ve'll
have to change all the cards" by adding
the new bank name and ATM logos on
the back.
There are no plans to redistribute
cards to anyone, Doyle said, regardless
of whether or not they have a First of
America account.
"There are 77,000 cards out now,"
Doyle said. "That would be extremely
expensive to re-card everyone."
University officials have been
considering changing other details
of the card, including the holo-
grams, which make counterfeiting
more difficult.
"We're thinking about maybe chang-
ing the hologram," Doyle said. "We're
looking at different things, maybe the
possibility of over-lays that would make
the card more durable."
Doyle said counterfeiting of the
cards has not been a problem at the
"It's always a possibility, but we've
never seen much of it," said
Department of Public Safety
spokesperson Beth Hall.

sidered a man's field. "I realized that
architecture is popular among the
Boy Scouts, but nowhere in the Girl
Scouts' Handbook way architecture
mentioned,' Harris said.
In order to receive an architecture
badge, cadet (middle school) and
senior (high school) scouts must
demonstrate their interest in the field
by fulfilling 12 goals.
The requirements are broken into
four categories, including skill
builders, technology, community
service projects and careers.
For skill builders, scouts must learn
about types of architectural draving as
well as create their own design.
The technology category requires
the scouts to explore various innova-
tions in buildings, discover how to

make buildings environmentally
friendly and make their own structure.
To fulfill the community service
factor, scouts analyze construction in
their communities and attempt to solve
the problems they discover.
Careers consists of making portfo-
lios, visiting architecture professors
and preparing presentations about
Karen McClatcher of the Huron
Valley Council said the architecture
badge provides requirements that
allow scouts to advance their skills
and knowledge.
"Girls get a chance to discover new
fields and activities they enjoy,"
McClatcher said. She added that the
pursuit of the patch gives scouts "a new
sense of places."

'U, prof. awarded for new invention
& Associate Research Scientist Johann Bo'renstein improved on the traditional
walking stick for the blind with his award-winning GuideCane.

By Adam Zuwerink
Daily Staff Reporter
For many blind persons, a guide dog is truly man's best
friend, providing both navigation and companionship. But
guide dogs can cost at least S 14,000, making the familiar
white cane the most popular form of navigation.
Attempting to improve on the traditional walking stick,
Prof. Johann Borenstein, associate research scientist in the
epartment of Mechanical Engineering and Applied
echanics, has developed a robotic walking stick called
GuideCane, which uses sonar to guide the blind around
Similar in appearance to an upright vacuum cleaner, the
GuideCane runs on batteries, weighs eight pounds and con-
tains 10 ultrasonic sensors that send out signals in order to
detect obstacles and steer the user around them.
"I have been doing research in obstacle avoidance for 14
years," Borenstein said. "It occurred to me that the technolo-
gy could be applied for the blind about eight years ago."
After working with a system called NavBelt in which the
wearer receives audio signals through headphones,
Borenstein found that the user could not respond in time to
the signals received.
The breakthrough came with the design of GuideCane, in
which the movements of the device can be felt through the hand

and directional changes are completed faster and more reliably.
During a ceremony on June 6 at Disney World in Florida,
Borenstein was honored for his invention when he was pre-
sented the Discover Magazine Award for robotics. The
Discover Magazine Awards for Technological Innovation
were created to celebrate the outstanding innovations of our
time and specifically the scientists, engineers, and inventors
who too often are the unsung heroes of the technological age.
In addition to the Discover award, Borenstein's GuideCane
has been featured in many popular magazines and television
"I was initially surprised at the first wave of coverage in
August of last year," Borenstein said. "The GuideCane was
featured in Popular Mechanics, Popular Science and CNN
Headline News."
Currently in the prototype stage, improvements are still
being made. For instance, the GuideCane does not recognize
the empty space between table legs or glass doors as actual
Borenstein said he hopes to have the GuideCane commer-
cially available within three years at a cost of around S4,000
- still far below the cost of a guide dog.
But the project is currently inactive due to a discontinua-
tion of funding and the inability to find a new sponsor.
Borenstein said he hopes to find funding in the near future.

author of Women Who Run With the Wolves
,.: DR. ESTEs
Thursday, July 9 7:30pm
Mendelssohn Theatre
Michigan League Building
911 North University
University of Michigan $20
Friday, July 10 9am-4pm
Vandenberg Room
Michigan League Bldg. $90
Tickets are available now at: Common Language Books, Nicola's
Books, Crazy Wisdom Bookstore, A Woman's Prerogative, Ferndale.
Phone Orders and Information: 800-813-1376.

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