A sus­tain­able urban housing pro­to­type, a sensor-​​laden shirt that tracks exer­cise effec­tive­ness and an inter­ac­tive com­puter game for people with phys­ical dis­abil­i­ties were among the stu­dent and fac­ulty research projects show­cased Thursday at RISE:2012, the university’s research, inno­va­tion and schol­ar­ship expo.

The event — spon­sored by the Center for Research Inno­va­tion (CRI) and the Office of the Provost — high­lighted the breadth and depth of inno­v­a­tive thinking at North­eastern across many dis­ci­plines. Held in the Cabot Phys­ical Edu­ca­tion Center, the event fea­tured nearly 400 posters — the most ever for the annual showcase.

At an awards cer­e­mony fol­lowing the event, Provost Stephen Director called this year’s expo the most suc­cessful to date.

The quality of research has been ter­rific, and even more impres­sive is the pre­sen­ta­tions that you put together to get your ideas across,” Director told the stu­dents at the cer­e­mony. “You could solve the world’s most impor­tant problem, but if you can’t com­mu­ni­cate that to the out­side world, it could have no impact.”

Awards were pre­sented to under­grad­uate and grad­uate stu­dents in seven cat­e­gories. Four of those awardees were fur­ther rec­og­nized with RISE (Research, Inno­va­tion, Schol­ar­ship and Entre­pre­neur­ship) Awards — a new honor this year rec­og­nizing out­standing research in four cat­e­gories: research, inno­va­tion, schol­ar­ship and entrepreneurship.

Pres­i­dent Joseph E. Aoun pre­sented the RISE Awards, which were accom­pa­nied with $1,000 grants. Aoun lauded the stu­dents’ efforts and rec­og­nized their fac­ulty and industry men­tors who have helped cul­ti­vate their inno­v­a­tive and entre­pre­neurial spirit. “What we are doing here is not only not divorced from reality. It’s going to change reality,” he said.

Many stu­dents pre­senting research said they were inspired to meet emerging chal­lenges of the 21st cen­tury, par­tic­u­larly in the university’s top research themes of health, secu­rity and sustainability.

Nicholas Tra­pani, a senior archi­tec­ture major, designed a modern res­i­den­tial tower for Dudley Square in Boston’s Rox­bury neigh­bor­hood with space ded­i­cated for year-​​round farming meant, as he put it, “to bring agri­cul­ture back to the urban environment.”

Meaghan Hitt, a senior phys­ical therapy major, was part of an under­grad­uate team that designed an early physical-​​therapy edu­ca­tion and inter­ven­tion plan for breast-​​cancer sur­gical patients. Hitt said the project, which includes an instruc­tional booklet and DVD, addresses a major need for patients who suffer from an impaired range of shoulder motion and increased fatigue after surgery. “We’re looking to steer the research in this direc­tion,” she said.

For his part, PhD can­di­date Jef­frey Breugel­mans took an inter­dis­ci­pli­nary approach to tack­ling a soci­etal chal­lenge. Col­lab­o­rating with engi­neering and physical-​​therapy fac­ulty, he designed an inter­ac­tive com­puter game for people with phys­ical dis­abil­i­ties that incor­po­rates eye-​​tracking tech­nology and a glove embedded with sen­sors to move the char­acter through the game using finger motions.

The plat­form, he said, could allow people with arthritis to com­plete hand exer­cises in an engaging way, while also allowing their doc­tors to mon­itor their progress via the dig­i­tally col­lected data.

Com­puter games offer the same vir­tual abil­i­ties to any user. You just need to give someone access to that envi­ron­ment,” said Breugel­mans, who took home the RISE Award in research.

Mel Bern­stein, senior vice provost for research and grad­uate edu­ca­tion, said RISE:2012 high­lighted the university’s “com­mit­ment to high-​​quality schol­ar­ship, research, inno­va­tion and creativity.”

CRI Director Tracey Doden­hoff said the center was founded last year to foster an inno­va­tion and entre­pre­neur­ship ecosystem across the uni­ver­sity. She said CRI is plan­ning sev­eral new ini­tia­tives including pilot proof-​​of-​​concept and com­mer­cial­iza­tion funds and a fair this fall to match start-​​up com­pa­nies with stu­dents seeking jobs and co-​​ops.

Inno­va­tion is a cat­a­lyst. Entre­pre­neur­ship is a mindset. We’re here to con­nect the two,” Doden­hoff said.