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College of Engineering at The University of Texas at San Antonio Online Magazine

COE in the Community

SiViRT Shows its Stuff at SXSW

Dr. Yusheng Feng and a group of students from The University of Texas at San Antonio’s College of Engineering had a chance to show what the college’s Center for Simulation, Visualization, and Real Time Prediction (SiViRT) has to offer when they participated in The University of Texas System’s Sixth Street Showcase at South by Southwest (SXSW) on March 8, 2014, in Austin, Texas. The showcase was organized by The University of Texas System’s Office of Technology Commercialization, and included groups from The University of Texas Austin, The University of Texas at San Antonio, The University of Texas Health Science Center-San Antonio, The University of Texas Health Science Center-Tyler, Texas State University, Texas Tech University and Texas A&M University.

Dr. Yusheng Feng, SiViRT director and professor with the Department of Mechanical Engineering, was a featured presenter at the event, and spoke about interactive technology and virtual realty.

“We are living in a digital age in which our real world is mixed with virtual reality,” he said. “The applications of combining omniscient sensing, powerful computing and immersive visualization can only be limited by our own imagination.”

UTSA students Ehren Biglari, Michael Lasch, Jacob Kantor, Brittany Schier, Aaron Stout, and Daniel Portillo had the chance to demonstrate some of the technology featured in the SiViRT lab.

“The showcase was amazing,” said Lasch, a SiViRT undergraduate research assistant. “I really enjoyed the opportunity to show off the technology that SiViRT has been working on. My favorite part of the event was interacting with all of the other students and professors from other UT campuses. It opened up the door for future collaborative work.”

G.E.A.R. 2014

Getting Excited About Robotics (G.E.A.R.) took place April 5, 2014, at The University of Texas Convocation Center on Main Campus. The competition, which was sponsored by the Halliburton Foundation, provides elementary and middle school students with an opportunity to explore science and engineering through a robotics competition using team-supplied LEGO® Mindstorms ™ kits. This year, 200 students on 40 teams participated in the event, which has been run by the College of Engineering’s Interactive Technology Experience Center (iTEC) since 2009. The game mats this year were provided by Cold Fire. “We feel that this year’s event went very well,” said Roberta Bauer, iTEC program coordinator. “The overall pace of the competition was upbeat with very little downtime once we got the competition started. The students were excited and ready to go with the challenges.”

Teams spend six weeks at their home schools designing the best robot they can to meet G.E.A.R.– themed challenges. At the end of the competition, two champion teams with the highest scores are named - one from an elementary school and one from a middle school. Awards also were handed out in other various categories, such as Best Dressed Robotics Team, Most Elegant and Best Programming. “I personally like the creativity of the teams that come out in their different costumes,” said Earl Bullock, iTEC educational specialist. “They were unique and helped them work together as a team throughout the competition.”


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