On Tuesday October 29th the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation hosted an Innovation Expo to showcase the university’s innovative projects. The program hosted a variety of both student and faculty led projects, programs, resources, and activities centered on innovation and creativity. The event encouraged students to learn, connect, create, and explore the different opportunities the university has to offer.
The Innovation Expo hosted students and faculty members across all disciplines at the university, including learning communities, the Center for Career Development, and even puppetry. Among the participants was OPIM Innovate, showcasing some of the technologies frequently used in the daily demos. Students were able to use Google Cardboard to experience Virtual Reality from their phones, and for students more interested in VR, OPIM Innovate had set up the HTC Vive. The HTC Vive is one of the department’s most advanced virtual reality opportunities complete with headset, backpack, and controllers, for students to achieve a completely immersive virtual reality experience. This attracted a wide array of students to Innovate’s technologies, and student volunteers were able to elaborate on Innovate’s mission and some of the other products the department has to offer.
Aside from virtual reality, OPIM Innovate brought some of their IoT technologies from the aquaponics IoT course OPIM 4895. Based on the Department of Natural Resources and Engineering, and their need for a sustainable farm, OPIM Innovate connected with the Splunk Mobile Team to develop a technologically savvy aquaponics facility. The facility they created tracks dissolved oxygen, water temperature, pH levels, and electricity usage through Splunk. In order to view the most recent data, the students in the course use QR codes from their phones or tablets and place them on sensors that will display the data on an augmented reality dashboard. The system will also send alerts if something were to go wrong, like alarming changes in temperature or if a door is left open at the end of the day.
Another hit at the Expo was the drone first person experience. As Associate Dean Bob Day flew the drone outside, students were able to wear the headset and see UConn’s campus from a bird’s eye view. The Mavik drone is equipped with a headset that connects to the camera of the drone, so someone wearing the headset can see what the drone sees.
Although the table’s most popular attractions were Virtual Reality, Drones, and the IoT plants, the table was still equipped with examples of 3D printed projects, Microcontrollers, and promotional material on the Innovate initiative. Student workers made sure to hand out fliers describing the four pillars of Innovate — demos, projects, workshops, and tech kits. All of these opportunities help develop students’ knowledge on up and coming technologies with hands on learning experience outside of the classroom.
Thanks to everyone who volunteered and expressed interest! We hope to see you in the Gladstein Lab soon.