Emerging Technologies Conference shows off latest in human computer interaction

AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University's annual Emerging Technologies Conference is your chance to see how virtual reality, social networks and other innovations are building relationships between people and their computers.

The conference will feature speakers, demonstrations, technical presentations, networking and some IT fun and games. It will be Thursday, April 2, and Friday, April 3, at Iowa State's Howe Hall, with an evening "IgniteIT" event at the Iowa State University Research Park. The event is free for Iowa State students, faculty and staff. Registration fees are required for others.

"The Emerging Technologies Conference is great for our students," said James Oliver, a professor of mechanical engineering and director of Iowa State's CyberInnovation Institute. "They get to show off their work and their creativity. And they get to hear from leaders in human computer interaction. This conference is a great chance to learn how emerging technologies are expanding human abilities."

Here are a few conference highlights:

  • Gregory D. Abowd, a distinguished professor in the College of Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, will deliver the keynote address from noon to 1 p.m., April 2 in Howe Hall's Alliant Energy-Lee Liu Auditorium. He'll encourage listeners to "Make IT Matter: We Can Be Clever and Make a Difference."
  • An "IgniteIT" event will feature networking for information technology students and professionals, ScratchJam (a group design competition), short technology talks and PowerPoint Karaoke. "Our mission is to spark imaginations, connect people, create new technology opportunities in Iowa and have a lot of fun in the process," said Stephen Gilbert, a lecturer in Iowa State's psychology department and an event organizer. The event is 5:30 to 11 p.m. at the Iowa State Research Park's Rotunda at 2321 North Loop Drive in Ames. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.
  • Christian Renaud, the chief executive officer of the Technology Intelligence Group which produces a blog devoted to emerging technologies, will deliver a plenary address 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. April 3 in Howe Hall's Alliant Energy-Lee Liu Auditorium. He'll look ahead and discuss "Emerging Technology: The Next Ten Years."
  • Graduate students in Iowa State's human computer interaction program will demonstrate their research projects from 10 a.m. to noon on April 2 and 3 at Iowa State's Virtual Reality Applications Center in Room 1620 of Howe Hall.
  • Researchers from Iowa State, the University of Michigan, Des Moines University and Siemens PLM Software will present technical papers about engineering systems, user-centered design and innovative technologies from 2 to 5 p.m. April 2 and 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. April 3.

The conference is sponsored by Iowa State's Virtual Reality Applications Center, the university's graduate program in human computer interaction and Mechdyne Corp., a Marshalltown-based company that develops virtual reality and other visualization technologies.