Technology Students Build Innovative Device to Help Protect Classroom Confidentiality

Published: August 27, 2012

Students in Queensborough’s Department of Engineering Technology put their lessons to work, constructing a device to help balance the needs of the school’s classroom video system and intellectual privacy.

Camera DisablerThe group worked together to build the Keyboard Initiated Camera Disabler Auto Reactivator, or KICDAR, for use in any lecture hall or classroom. The device allows a faculty member to temporarily restrict the video security camera during a lecture, protecting the confidentiality of classroom discussion.

“As technology – including social media – evolves at lightening-speed, it is important that faculty and students be able to safeguard their intellectual privacy,” said Professor Stu Asser, chairman of the department.

The device ensures that the security camera returns to operational status after a faculty member leaves the classroom.

“When the camera is turned off the system will automatically turn the camera back on at the end of the class,” said Jerry Sitbon, chief college laboratory technician and adjunct lecturer.  “LED indicators and a short beep display the camera status.”

The unit is programmable and allows faculty members to de-activate and re-activate the camera with a wireless keypad. The camera disablers will be placed in more than 100 lecture halls and classrooms.

The successful initiative is the result of many hours of undergraduate research and hands-on application under the mentorship of Mike Metaxas, assistant professor and microcontroller software designer, and Jerry Sitbon.

“Jerry and I designed the project to include a group of technology students,” said Professor Metaxas. “What a wonderful opportunity for our students to experience what it’s like to work in the real world.”

“I want to specialize in electronics,” said student José Ramirez, a member of the construction team. “I really liked contributing to the completion of such a unique invention.” José plans to graduate in January 2013 and continue his studies in technology at a four-year college.

Participating students honed their skills in electronics, computer technology and multimedia as well as building work stations, assembling parts and learning micro-soldering techniques.

“QCC is at the forefront of using current, off-the-shelf technology,” added Professor Metaxas. “We’ve taken apart an existing device, modified it to suit our needs and then rebuilt it to operate in a cost-effective way.”

Following are the names of additional team members who collaborated on the project:

Fabrication Technical Assistance:
Klebert Andujar and Kevin Fraser, Engineering Technology Laboratory Technicians

Construction Team Students:
Romulo Trocino                                   
Raghav Verma                                       
Jose Ramirez                                          
Ryan Tam                                                

Assistant Construction Team Students:
Gilberto Constantinez Jr.
Andriy Sernetskyy
Suleyman Savci
Young Si Choi
Carlos Garcia                                         
Byungil Tak

Stuart M. Asser, Chairman
Department of Engineering Technology