On Friday, February 22nd, OPIM Innovate co-hosted the Totally Teched Out Late Night Event in collaboration with UConn Late Night. In the Student Union, Room 104, a number of students from different academic backgrounds interacted with emerging technologies such as virtual reality headsets and leading software like Splunk Enterprise and HP Reveal. While many students walked in without prior knowledge of OPIM Innovate, they left with a piqued interest regarding what the initiative has to offer.
During the event, the Innovate Room was set up so that students could get a mini demo of all the technologies up for use. After signing in, students were first introduced to HP Reveal, an augmented reality application that superimposes digital images and video onto the real world. Then, they were introduced to Splunk Shake!, a Splunk Enterprise demo developed by Innovate’s Nathan Hom (’19 Management and Engineering for Manufacturing) which captures real-time data generated from shaking your phone. From there, students branched off into virtual reality demos or drone flying, either utilizing virtual reality headsets like Google Cardboard, the HTC Vive, and the Lenovo Mirage Solo, or flying drones of different shapes and sizes. The room was filled with rotor blade buzzing, laughter, and sounds of awe triggered by virtual reality immersion.
For some students, the Innovate Room at the Totally Teched Out Late Night Event was the first time they had ever encountered some emerging technologies or software. Xiaofeng Gong (’20 Mathematics and Economics), for example, had never heard of Splunk Enterprise before being introduced to the software by Nathan Hom. “After the Shake! demo, Nathan enthusiastically gave me a brief introduction to Splunk Enterprise since he saw that I was so interested. His enthusiasm and the software’s ability to monitor machine learning and capture real-time data really got me interested in data science. Now that I know that Splunk Fundamentals is free for UConn students, I will definitely check it out. Here was the right place for me, tonight!” Other students, such as Syed Hussain (’19 Communications), had a similar first-time experience with virtual reality, specifically with Google Cardboard. “Overall, I found the [Google Cardboard] experience super interesting coming from a gaming perspective,” Hussain said. “I always had an idea of how I would experience it, but I wasn’t expecting the images to be as crisp as they were.”
For the students running the Innovate Room, the hustle and bustle was worth every minute of getting to see interest emerge in another student’s face. Hannah Bonitz (’19 Management Information Systems), for example, felt accomplished knowing that she was helping bridge the gap between Innovate and the rest of the UConn student body. “I’m happy about the turnout,” Bonitz said, “and its very exciting to see that people are willing to come out on a Friday night to learn more about technology.”
Thank you to everyone who visited the Innovate Room on Friday! We hope to attend more events like the Totally Teched Out Late Night Event in the future!