Rooms will make technology handier

Lawrence,KS (04-12-2000)

From University Daily Kansan
By Kondwa Kankondo

The University of Kansas Information and Telecommunication Technology Center has begun construction on four smart rooms that will allow students and teachers easier access to information, and there are plans for more.

The project received $1.29 million March 24 from the National Science Foundation, most of which will go to equipment to construct the rooms.

Daniel DePardo, electronic engineer with ITTC, said he had installed an overhead projector in one of the four rooms in Nichols Hall designated to become the smart rooms.

The rooms that will be transformed are Gemini room, which seats about 10, a reading room that seats between 12 to 15 and Apollo room, which has a capacity of 100. The fourth room might be a faculty office.

A fifth smart room is planned for Learned Hall, and a sixth room smart room will be added in Snow Hall.

Judith Galas, ITTC public relations and marketing manager, estimated that some of the rooms would be ready by spring 2001.

This is probably the only visible part of the whole setup, DePardo said, pointing at the projector that was hanging from the ceiling of the first room being renovated.

Gary Minden, ITTCs chief technologist and the projects lead investigator, said that when completed, the smart rooms would be similar to a computer network. The rooms will have a series of screens and control pads, and users will be able to access a broad array of information.

This technology could eventually change the way people use computer resources, he said.

DePardo said the room he was working in would use technological screens.

When completed, people could walk to the screen and bring up information with a simple touch.

People carry a lot of stuff just to move their information from one place to another, DePardo said. He said they had cell phones, laptops and many other such devices that they carried with them.

The human being has been turned into a data-transport device, DePardo said. We are trying not to do that. We want it so that where you go your data is there, readily accessible.

For example, he said it would be possible for a person in one of these smart rooms to meet with people somewhere else.

The technology is available, DePardo said.

The smart rooms project has pooled personnel from a cross-section of the disciplines on campus, including psycholinguistics, human information retrieval and learning systems.

For more information, contact ITTC.

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Partner with ITTC

The Information and Telecommunication Technology Center at the University of Kansas has developed several assistance policies that enhance interactions between the Center and local, Kansas, or national companies. 

ITTC assistance includes initial free consulting (normally one to five hours). If additional support is needed, ITTC will offer one of the following approaches: 

Sponsored Research Agreement

Individuals and organizations can enter into agreements with KUCR/ITTC and provide funds for sponsored research to be performed at ITTC with the assistance of faculty, staff and students.

Licensing and Royalty/Equity Agreement

An ITTC goal is the development of investment-grade technologies for transfer to, and marketing by, local, Kansas, and national businesses. To enhance this process, the Center has developed flexible policies that allow for licensing, royalty, and equity arrangements to meet both the needs of ITTC and the company.

Commercialization Development

Companies with a technology need that can be satisfied with ITTC's resources can look to us for assistance. We can develop a relationship with interested partners that will provide for the development of a technology suited for commercialization.

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ITTC resources, including computers and software systems, may be made available to Kansas companies in accordance with the Center's mission and applicable Regents and University policies.

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