By: Diane Stirling
If you’re interested in exploring future technologies, you’re likely to enjoy the opportunities presented by “Future Fridays,” a series of newly-launched demonstration events being presented by the New Explorations in Information and Science (NEXIS) class.
Hosted at the School of Information Studies (iSchool), the first “Future Friday” program is scheduled this Friday (November 1) from noon to 3:00 p.m. The open house-style event takes place at the NEXIS Lab and adjacent areas on the third floor of Hinds Hall. The event is open to the public, and all students, faculty, and staff are welcome to attend.
This week, the work of iSchool sophomore Arland Whitfield, who has expertise building and piloting unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs – or “drones”), will be featured. He will explain the technology and talk about his work. Visitors will be able to wear a set of goggles that displays a live video feed from drones flying overhead. Information about the Skyworks Project, a new organization forming to explore the future of UAVs, also will be available.
Other technologies which can be viewed and demonstrated at the event include the Leap Motion device and Google Glass. iSchool Assistant Professor of Practice (and NEXIS Class instructor/NEXIS Lab leader) Anthony Rotolo will discuss his recent use of Google Glass while lecturing in classes as a way to view real-time Twitter updates. That effort was made possible through the work of student developer Aidan Cunniffe, who will also be at the event to discuss how he created those real-time Twitter feeds. Other student NEXIS lab members also will be present.
The event is a “direct extension of the NEXIS lab mission, which is to explore emerging trends in technology; to help others connect around those technologies; and to invent the future,” according to Rotolo, who teaches NEXIS Class as an exploration of emerging technologies.
The “Future Friday” open house events also offer students who are interested in becoming part of the NEXIS team the opportunity to get acquainted with technologies they might have heard about, but not have had an opportunity to experience.
“We are trying to create informal conversation around these things, and to spark interest in trying new technologies to see how they might apply to the concepts students are learning in school,” Rotolo explained. “It’s walk in, walk up, experience what’s there, talk to those at their demonstration stations. I keep calling it a show-and-tell because I think that’s what it’s really going to feel like.”
Another Future Friday is scheduled for the first part of December, Rotolo said.
Students who are interested in taking NEXIS Class and speaking with Professor Rotolo about the class also are encouraged to attend. NEXIS Class was offered for the first time this semester, and also is scheduled again in the spring semester.