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On the Bright Side

June 3, 2014

Student builds rig for Met museum

An Otsego County man was among seven Rochester Institute of Technology students who designed, built and installed a portable camera rig last month for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

For some of the engineering students, including Zachary Sostack, of Cooperstown, it was their first time inside the internationally recognized museum.

Sostack, who just graduated from RIT’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering with a degree in mechanical engineering, was one of the students who created the custom Vertical X-Y Camera Rig for the museum, according to a recent media release.

Over the past year, the students worked with Susan Farnand, assistant researcher in the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science at RIT, to upgrade a stationary, ceiling-mounted camera rig in the museum’s imaging studio, the release said.

But it soon became evident that the museum also needed a mobile rig to photograph the larger, more permanent works of art on display, such as tapestries and textiles.

Seeing this need, Farnand proposed the rig as a possible Multidisciplinary Senior Design Project. All seniors are required to complete one of these.

The students in Sostack’s group visited the museum in October to meet with its representatives and discuss the design requirements for the portable imaging equipment rig.

“It was pretty cool to be up in their photo lab,” Sostack, 22, said. “They showed us all the projects they were working on.”

From there, it was up to Sostack and his six group mates. They spent the first semester designing the rig, Sostack said. The second semester was spent ordering parts, building the rig and testing it.

On May 15, the aluminum and steel rig made its permanent home at the museum after the students brought it there and installed it, Sostack said.

“It worked well,” Sostack said. “After all the work we put into it, it was great to see the end product in the museum.”

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