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Light and Sound Interactive conference and expo debuts September 12-14

July 28, 2017
man wearing a virtual reality suit and gogglesLucian Copeland, cofounder of the University of Rochester student group NullSpace VR, models the 2016 Mark IIB prototype of their virtual reality suit -- a low-cost, full upper body haptic feedback system for virtual reality applications. (J. Adam Fenster / University of Rochester)

Event will bring together innovative technologies and start-ups in imaging, virtual reality, games, film, and music.

The first-ever Light and Sound Interactive (LSI) event, a three-day conference, expo, and career fair focused on light- and sound-based technologies and their applications, will take place September 12 to 14 at the Joseph A. Floreano Riverside Convention Center and Hyatt Regency in downtown Rochester.

LSI will highlight innovations in augmented and virtual reality, interactive media and games, film, audio and music, imaging, displays, health care, optics, and photonics. Keynote speakers, panel discussions, workshops, demonstrations, hands-on events, trade show exhibits, networking activities and a career fair will all be part of the mix.

LSI is being put on by the University of Rochester and the Rochester Institute of Technology with major funding provided by the Wegman Family Charitable Foundation. Platinum sponsors include Corning Inc., the Optical Society of America (OSA), Eastman Kodak Company, and Empire State Development. Gold and silver sponsors include Graywood Companies Inc., Nixon Peabody LLP, Optimax, Navitar, Syntec Optics, Mosaic Microsystems, Canandaigua National Bank & Trust, The Pike Company, Nazareth College and Monroe Community College.

“This conference has outstanding potential to nationally showcase the region’s and the University of Rochester’s innovation and research in optics, photonics, imaging, and audio engineering, all of which are improving lives around the world and advancing the frontiers of human knowledge and technology,” said University of Rochester President and CEO Joel Seligman. “The University of Rochester and RIT are tailor-made to cohost this conference and I look forward to joining with our area sponsors, industries, and institutions this September.”

“RIT is excited to be a partner in this event, which also speaks to our core strengths of working at the intersection of technology, the arts, and design,” said RIT President David Munson, who will be a keynote speaker. “LSI will feature RIT researchers who are pushing the boundaries in light and sound technologies. This is an ideal opportunity to showcase that greater Rochester is a world-class leader in these interdisciplinary fields that will continue to shape creativity and innovation for years to come.”

Rochester is the perfect fit for LSI. The region is not only the birthplace of disruptive technologies such as the digital camera, it’s also home to the University of Rochester’s Institute of Optics and its world-renowned Eastman School of Music, as well as programs in audio and music engineering, and digital media studies; and RIT’s School of Interactive Games and Media, School of Film and Animation, the MAGIC Center, and Center for Imaging Science. Rochester is also home to more than a hundred companies in the optics, imaging, and photonics industries—the largest such cluster in the country.

Mark Bocko, chairman of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and director of the Center for Emerging and Innovative Sciences (CEIS) at the University of Rochester, which founded and is producing LSI, said, “The event will bring together some of the most exciting technologies and start-ups in the world’s fastest-growing industries, including virtual reality, gaming, film, and music – all of which have deep connections to academic and industry hubs in Rochester.”

Paul Ballentine, executive director of CEIS and producer of LSI, said LSI is inspired by the success of South by Southwest Interactive in Austin, Texas, an offshoot of the world-renowned SXSW Music and Film festivals. “With a strong, long-term vision and a can-do spirit, LSI can do the same for Rochester as SXSW Interactive did for Austin,” he said. “If you’re a light and sound technologist, animation artist, musician, game developer, or want to be—or simply want to explore the mix of creativity and technology—we want you at LSI.”

The first-ever LSI is being held in the days preceding the 2017 KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival, September 14 to 23, which attracts 60,000 visitors.

In addition to the convention center and Hyatt hotel, LSI satellite events will take place at the Eastman School of Music and the RIT MAGIC Center.

The timing of LSI also coincides with New York State’s $10 million accelerator challenge, Luminate. The competition, managed by High Tech Rochester, will accelerate the boldest start-ups in the optics, photonics, and imaging industries. Deadline for applications is Sept. 15, the day after LSI ends. For details, visit

Registration for LSI is free for the first 100 registrants and $150 afterwards. Students at all levels, from high school to graduate studies, may register for free at any time by showing a valid student ID when picking up their badge.

More information, including a detailed event program, can be found at

Follow LSI on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using the hashtag #LSI2017 for the updates.

Sponsorships are still available for LSI. For more information regarding opportunities, contact LSI at (585) 275-1990 or
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For more information contact:
Paul Ballentine, Producer
Light and Sound Interactive
585-748-1408 office

Megan Connor Murphy
Tipping Point Communications
585-339-8379 cell

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