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Pre-Proposed Projects

Pre-proposed project Areas (2018-2019)

Below are some suggestions of project areas that you could be a part of if you joined Project Ignite. In the bullet points, we list some directions the project could take, but ultimately the direction will be up to you and your teammates. If none of these interest you, consider proposing your own project!

If you’re thinking about proposing your own project but you’re not sure where to start, our advice is to start with your own life. What inconveniences do you face on a day-to-day basis? What solutions might exist to these problems? We're excited to see what you come up with.

You could also view archived projects from past years.

Style Transfer with Machine Learning

Style transfer is a technique for transferring the artistic style of one image on top of another image. For example, you can make a normal photo of a landscape look like Van Gogh’s “A Starry Night.” What are ways to apply this technique to make new discoveries?

  • Could similar techniques be used to transfer style across mediums? For example, could we style an image to match the mood of a literary piece? What about a piece of music?

  • How can we make style transfer more accessible to everyday photographers?

  • Possible areas: machine learning, computer science, art, music

See some more examples:

Save the environment, and so can you!

Problems related to the environment and sustainability are numerous, even at the local scale. What problems are evident in your local community—is recycling pickup convenient? Are people informed about things like composting and reducing use of single-use packaging? Could people use new technology to make their lifestyles more sustainable? In answering these questions, this project could take many directions:

  • Devising a “smart” household appliance or item that makes it easier to have a sustainable lifestyle.

  • Developing a policy proposal for your local government with detailed statistics and an actionable plan.

  • Possible focuses: design, prototyping, engineering, public policy


If you're an artist, why limit yourself to just one medium? All kinds of awesome art arises when sounds and visuals, or sound and objects, are combined. In this project, we want to dive into music visualization, and see what cool stuff we can do! Some ideas:

  • Make some kind of mechanical device which moves or draws or paints according to the music it is hearing

  • Build a digital music visualizer, which takes sounds and generates lively graphics to complement

  • Build an augmented reality or virtual reality app for visualizing music

  • Possible focuses: sound design, augmented/virtual reality, computer graphics, visualization


People hold a lot of misconceptions about the physical world. One way to get a better idea of the world is to put these misconceptions to the test. Discovery Channel’s show MythBusters brought these misconceptions to task, but there are still myths out there. This project could focus on:

  • Formulating questions about scientific phenomena in a certain field (neuroscience, molecular gastronomy, optics) and putting them to the test.

  • People hold a lot of misconceptions about psychology, too. You could try to collect evidence to confirm or deny phenomena in the social sciences.

  • Possible focuses: experimental design, natural sciences, social sciences

Sleep Science

You’d think that for all the sleeping we do, we’d be pretty good at it. Not so fast! There are many directions that you could go with a project aimed at improving our sleep habits:

  • Develop an iPhone or Android app for tracking and giving advice about sleep habits.

  • Study the effect of different sounds on people’s mental and physical condition. Design or record a suite of sounds that can help achieve more restful or peaceful sleep, or that can be used as more effective alarms.

  • Possible focuses: experiment design, sound recording, statistics, app development, neuroscience


Conlangs, or “constructed languages,” are languages consciously devised by humans instead of naturally evolving over time. Famous examples include Klingon in Star Trek and Elvish in Lord of the Rings. You might have heard of Esperanto, which is the most widespread example of a conlang being used in the real world for communication. Some questions to explore might be:

  • The Internet has brought a wide community of people together, but language still stands as a barrier between some communities. How could a conlang bring together a fractured Internet community?

  • What would music and literature look like in a conlang?

  • How could you develop a curriculum to teach a conlang to students?

  • Possible focuses: linguistics, education, music

Design a new sport

Sporting events have been known to draw some of the crowds, but have you ever wondered what brings so many people there? In this project, you could answer this question and more by analyzing existing sports, developing improvements to known sports, or even coming up a new sport with its own rules and equipment. Directions you could go include:

  • Exploring game design as it applies to the physical world

  • Designing and manufacturing equipment for a new sport.

  • Using statistics to predict team or individual success in sports and determining the degree randomness plays in this success

  • Using data to improve the way sports are played/viewed

  • Possible focuses: design, prototyping, statistics, anatomy/biology, psychology, math

Backyard Ballistics

How do you launch things far? Really, really far? Which objects are aerodynamic? Which aren’t? Directions include:

  • Designing and manufacturing launchers (such as trebuchets) for vegetables or other objects.

  • Learn about how to apply physics to improve the design of a launcher.

  • Possible focuses: physics, prototyping, 3D-printing, engineering

Become a 21st-century Playwright

Take theatre in an altogether new direction. What are ways that we could enhance the theatregoing experience? What are aspects of writing a play that have never been explored before?

Possible focuses: creative writing, lighting/sound design, art, engineering