The magazine of the Case Alumni Association
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Newsmakers

AI maestro

With a popular video series, alumnus shows everyone how to orchestrate AI marvels

How does a computer recognize the difference between a dog, a cat and a banana you ask? Alex Schepelmann, ’09, MS ’10, PhD, has the answer—and more.

In a brisk, upbeat video posted to YouTube recently, he explains the basics of “probalistic image classification”— computer applications that help a camera to find the faces in an image, or that train self-driving cars to see the white lines. But that’s not all. He also explains to his 40,000 subscribers how they might use image classification technology to enhance their own inventions and innovations.

That’s the big idea. Schepelmann is the creator of “Super Make Something,” a YouTube channel that shows amateurs how to create artificial intelligence projects using basic machine learning techniques. There’s some math in his instructions, and algorithmic equations to fathom, but plenty of fun, too.

He’s a robot wizard with the flare of an entertainer.

Schepelmann, a native of Germany, earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering at Case and his doctorate in robotics from Carnegie Mellon University.

On Case Quad, he worked with Professor Roger Quinn in the Biologically Inspired Robotics Lab and was part of the team that created an award-winning autonomous lawnmower. His master’s thesis focused on using computer vision to identify grass and obstacles in a camera stream.

Now, he’s a Technical Fellow—focused on robotics and computational modeling—at ZIN Technologies, an engineering consultancy and aerospace contractor in the Cleveland suburb of Middleburg Heights. He works on robotics projects with partners at the nearby NASA Glenn Research Center. In his free time, he creates content for his channel, which is based out of his home in Cleveland.

“I want to show people that AI can be really fun and easy to learn,” he told Nvidia, a leader in graphic processor units. “With YouTube, it’s now possible to reach an audience of any background or age range on a large scale.”

Schepelmann’s YouTube channel started as a hobby. It’s grown to reach more than 2 million total views on videos that explain 3D printing, robotics and machine learning. 

The instructions can get pretty technical, but the viewers keep coming back, no doubt inspired by his optimistic sign-off: “Thanks again for watching, now go super make something.”

“I want to show people that AI can be really fun and easy to learn. With YouTube, it’s now possible to reach an audience of any background or age range on a large scale.”

Alex Schepelmann

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