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USM Students Work on Maine Communications Invention

Robert Stone, James Colony, Jesse Altman and Richard Deane Best

Recently, Newfield Design, Inc.’s Robert Stone and James Colony approached the University of Southern Maine Campus Ventures program for assistance in writing computer code for a new invention, the Expandable Remote Control System (ERCS).

ERCS, invented by Stone, allows communication to take place between different levels of a single organization or between several organizations. This aided communication will allow public safety organizations to communicate seamlessly during natural or national disasters using a software program, a base transmitter and an Ethernet connection, without replacing existing equipment.

Housed in USM’s College of Science, Technology, and Health (CSTH), Campus Ventures connects students with companies who are in need of technical assistance. For Newfield Design, Campus Ventures assigned Richard Deane Best of Kennebunk, who is doing post-graduate work in computer science, and senior computer science major Jesse Altman of Winthrop to work with the company, giving the students the experience of writing code for a real company after studying the theoretical world of databases in the classroom. Their work helped Newfield Design Inc. win a “Juice 3.0 Pitch” contest grant of $100,000.

Both students appreciate the practical experience of being able to create a database. Best says that, “Classes give practical knowledge allowing me to do this, and working together with people on this project was a good experience.” Likewise, Altman felt that working with Newfield, “…gave me a practical application of what we learn in class, but this is real!”

The Campus Ventures collaboration with Newfield Design recently came to a close with a December 16 presentation for the CSTH administration. 

Photo Cap:

(L-R) Robert L. Stone, CTO Newfield Design, Inc. ; James A. Colony, CEO Newfield Design, Inc.; Jesse Altman, USM computer science major from Winthrop; and Richard Deane Best, USM computer science post-graduate student, from Kennebunk.