UW hosts conference on the future of learning

July 14, 2002

“Exploring the Future of Learning” will bring hundreds of students, researchers, and policy makers to the UW Seattle campus on July 20-21 to experience hands-on activities, demonstrations, and workshops designed to stimulate a dialogue about the transforming role of technology in learning.

The UW will show off some of its most pioneering research and demonstration projects, including technologies that turn paper books into interactive three-dimensional worlds, elaborate computer models of the ocean floor off Washington’s coast, and a laboratory information system that allows remote students to participate in research. About a third of all the demonstrations at the conference are UW projects.

“Our partnership with ThinkQuest Live has given us another opportunity to showcase the remarkable work of UW faculty and computing professionals and their uses of next generation Internet technologies to support student learning — both at the University and in K12,” said Louis Fox, Vice Provost, Office of Educational Partnerships & Learning Technologies.

Some of the UW projects to be featured in ThinkQuest Live include:

The Magic Book

Here is the ultimate pop-up book, a storybook that integrates paper with computer graphics. Readers flip the pages of a real book and, with the help of a hand-held visor and a computer, see three-dimensional, interactive models of the story bursting out of the page. Readers can even fly into scenes and meet the characters up close, or see graphical representations of other readers who are also viewing the scene. This project explores new interfaces with computers, focusing on the concept known as Augmented Reality (AR), in which computer users see the real world with computer graphics and controls superimposed on it.

Contact: Mark Billinghurst, 206 616-4607, grof@hitl.washington.edu

Web page: www.hitl.washington.edu/magicbook/

Project NEPTUNE and SEE (a System for Environmental Exploration)

Project NEPTUNE plans to install a network of underwater sensors and robots that will encompass the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate off the coasts of British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon. Instruments will be linked to the Internet by 3,000 kilometers of fiber optic/power cable, providing researchers worldwide with real-time information about natural processes such as earthquakes, water currents, and marine mammal migration. The system is scheduledto go online by 2006.

Project researchers will show off some of the mapping data already collected from the NEPTUNE study area using high-resolution sonars. By converting the data to three-dimensional models and with the use of new display technologies developed at the University of Washington, viewers will be able to see and navigate the seafloor of the Juan de Fuca plate. Users will pilot virtual submersibles along the Main Endeavor Vent Field located 200 miles off the Northwest coast, and over a mile and a half deep.

Contact: Nancy Penrose, 206-221-5781, penrose@ocean.washington.edu

Web page: www.neptune.washington.edu

Interactive Sound Tent

Walk into this tent and your every move will generate sounds, sometimes musical, sometimes not. The tent is equipped with sensors and computer and sound systems that translate motion into sound. The computers independently choose the sounds from a large electronic library. This project demonstrates the potential for performance and composition that comes from the marriage of music, math, and science.

Contact: Chad Kirby, 206 685-9426, ckirby@u.washington.edu

Information on computer music at the UW: www.washington.edu/dxarts

Intelligent Robots

Visit this exhibit and play against the UW RoboCup Huskies, the Aibo soccer team that competes in RoboCup, the World Cup of robotic soccer. These canine robots are programmed to make their own strategic decisions during play, based on information they collect with their sensors.

Contact: Dieter Fox 206 685-2517, fox@cs.washington.edu

Web page: www.cs.washington.edu/ai/Mobile_Robotics/Aibo/home.html


Labscape is a project to revolutionize how researchers gather information and communicate in the biology laboratory. This project uses flat-panel, touch screen computers and sensory technology, so that data follows the researcher from one lab station to another automatically. The Labscape system uses a flow-chart representation of an experiment to facilitate preparation, execution, and documentation. A pilot version of the system, complete with integrated videos, animations, and information resources, was tested by juniors at Ballard High School.

Contact: Lisa Jenschke 206 732-6108, lisaj1@u.washington.edu

Web page: http://labscape.cs.washington.edu/

More Info About Exploring the Future of Learning Conference

Web Site: www.thinkquestlive.org

Contact Info: Kerry Wilke, Director, Advanced Applications, Office of Educational Partnerships & Learning Technologies, 206 543-8188, kcwilke@u.washington.edu