72 Hours of Virtual Reality Fun

Colorado State University

Kenny Gruchalla, Computational Science Center Lead at NREL speaks at the Virtual Reality Symposium, Oct. 21.

Last week, Colorado State University teamed with virtual reality enthusiasts as the Office of the Vice President of Research kicked off a weekend devoted to exploring Virtual and Augmented Reality. On Friday morning, thought leaders from industry, academia and government came together to discuss the scientific, technologic and sociologic opportunities for augmented and virtual reality. Speakers included William Warren, Vice President and Head of Innovation Programs & Networks at Sanofi Pasteur; Kenny Gruchalla , Computational Science Center Lead at NREL; Winifred Newman, Head of Department of Architecture at the University of Arkansan; Paul Martin, Distinguished Technologist for Hewlett-Packard and Adam Russell, Program Manager at DARPA. The diverse audience of 14 to 75 year olds and 25 Poudre School District science and technology teachers enjoyed a panel discussion on key issues and the unveiling of the new CSU Immersive Experience narrated by Tony Frank.

The events rolled on into Friday evening when the Virtual Reality Hackathon was launched with 40 participants and more than 20 volunteers, mentors, and faculty. The event was sponsored by HP, NVIDIA, Mechdyne and the Office of the Vice President for Research. Eight diverse teams of computer scientists, biologists, psychologists, artists, design, engineers and hobbyists competed for cash prizes for best immersive experiences. An art competition ran alongside the teams using a Virtual Art program TiltBrush. Participants were given the latest equipment including HTC-VIVE, Occulus, Hololens and access to a Mechdyne cave. The competition was judged by the symposium speakers with the addition of Sharif Razzaque, Chief Engineer of Imaging at Medtronic; Alan Rudolph, Vice President for Research at Colorado State University and Cyane Tornatzy, Professor of Electronic Art Colorado State University.

hackathon-humanly-first-place

Team Human.ly awarded 1st place at the CSU Virtual Reality Hackathon.

Forty eight hours later, after many doughnuts and a lot of coffee, the judges awarded $1000 first prize went to Team Human.ly which produced a mixed reality dynamic anatomical model superimposed over a moving person. Second place went to Team Savage that created a therapeutic immersive experience that helped people overcome crowd phobias by asking them to move through a crowd based on principles in cognitive therapy. Third place went to Team No Name (no joke) that placed you in an immersive dynamic neuronal circuit of the brain. Rachel Stern won the virtual art competition for her work entitled “The Tree”. A complete list of the winners on each team and other pictures and videos can be found on CSU Source.

The weekend highlighted the transformative power of the perceptive revolution that virtual and augmented reality could bring to our society and all aspects of the CSU land grant mission. We had visitors and participants from the VR community, industry representatives, high and middle schoolers, alumni groups, and graduate fellowship programs. Many of the participants had no experience in VR and yet were able to learn about it and in some cases they created powerful experiences with impact across a wide sector space including health, education, art, science, design, and engineering. The hackathon will help propel the next phases of the VR campus activities with the creation of portals around campus made available for further explorations in the virtual and real worlds.

 

New vice president for research administration to join CSU

The Office of the Vice President for Research has selected Christa Johnson as its new associate vice president for research administration.  Her appointment begins May 1.

In her new role, Dr. Johnson will serve as a key member of the OVChrista JohnsonPR’s leadership team as well as an advocate and an advisor to the vice president for research and operational activities.
She will interface with central administration, colleges and other agencies on behalf of the OVPR and also will lead the implementation of programs and the deployment of resources to strengthen CSU’s research administrative support, especially in the areas of sponsored programs and research services.
We are fortunate to welcome Dr. Johnson to the Office of the Vice President for Research as her qualifications and endeavors align with not only the mission of the OVPR, but of CSU’s land-grant mission.
During her tenure at Washington University in St. Louis, Dr. Johnson led several process and quality-improvement initiatives for research administration, including consolidating and streamlining contracting and grants processes in the Office of Sponsored Research Services.
A graduate of Stanford University, Dr. Johnson earned a joint-Ph.D. in humanities and German Studies. Prior to joining Washington University, she served as associate dean for research at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, where her areas of responsibility included pre-award grants and contracts operations, all areas of legal and ethical compliance, including the Institutional Review Board, the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, Responsible Conduct of Research, Conflict of Interest and export controls and assisting with graduate program review.
An active member of the Federal Demonstration Partnership, Dr. Johnson has worked with the Council on Government Relations, and the National Council of University Research Administrators. She is a recipient of several awards and has presented at more than 50 national and regional meetings and workshops.
Dr. Johnson has served on numerous National Council of University Research Administrators and Federal Demonstration Partnership committees, co-chaired, among others, the NCURA Pre-Award Research Administration Conference national meeting and was recently elected to the NCURA Nominations and Leadership Development Committee.
Dr. Johnson also has taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses in historical studies and comparative literature at both Southern Illinois and Washington University.

Investing in Research Partnerships

Seven teams of researchers across Colorado State University will be working together on some of the  most pressing global problems, thanks to innovative investments from the Office of the Vice President of Research.

The ability to use scientific discoveries to drive technological solutions to our global problems will require the integration of multiple disciplines and the formation of innovative partnerships across sectors.

Teams will be seeded with a critical mass of funding up to $200,000 for two years and provided infrastructural support to seek partners and resources to create and deliver novel solutions for some of our most important problems. These relationships will nurture the creation and delivery of solutions in energy, health, and the environment.

We are excited about this new program and the tremendous response we have received across campus. The Catalyst for Innovative Partnerships investments were created to encourage research teams to collaborate with new partners and find innovative ways to solve complicated, global problems in line with our rich land-grant heritage.

Congratulations to the following teams:

Project
Team Members
Description
Colleges

Developing Advanced Polymeric Materials for Grand Challenges
Sue James, Ellen Fisher and Matt Kipper, Eugene Chen, David Dandy, Arun Kota, Melissa Reynolds, Chris Snow, Travis Bailey, Ketul Popat, Christie Peebles, Tom Chen, Christian Puttlitz, Vivian Li, Jeni Cross, Stu Tobet This group will develop and exploit new synergies to solve two grand challenges associated with modern polymers and plastics:   development of renewable/ sustainable feed stocks for polymers and designing biocompatible polymers for use in applications such as tissue engineering, vascular grafts and implantable medical devices. COE, CNS, CVMBS, CHHS, CLA
Rural Village Microgrid
Daniel Zimmerle, Amy Young, Meghan Suter, Eric Aoki, Kathleen Galvin, Peter Means, Paul Hudnut, Dale Manning, Keith Paustian and Doo-ho Park The overall goal of this initiative is to establish a trans-disciplinary and cross-cultural team to design, test, and validate energy-based solutions for rural African villages utilizing microgrid technology built on clean energy and hopes to use this effort as a catalyst for comprehensive rural development. CLA, COB, CAS, CHHS, COE, Energy Institute
Innovation Center for Sustainable Agriculture
Matthew Wallenstein, Richard Conant, Gregory Graff, Courtney Jahn, Andrew Jones, Ken Reardon, Meagan Schipanski Through this initiative, the team will advance innovations to feed more people with reduced environmental impacts globally by harnessing the power of soil microbial communities and plant-soil-microbe interactions. WCNR, CAS, COE
Partnership for Air Quality, Climate, and Health
A. R. Ravishankara, Sonia Kreidenweis, Jennifer Peel, John Volckens, Marilee Long This team will implement a structure and support facility to comprehensively integrate CSU-wide capabilities in air quality, climate, and health, while focusing on communicating scientific findings to stakeholders in innovative ways so as to inform and direct individuals as well as climate policy. CNS, CVMBS, COE, CLA
Fort Collins Urban Resiliency: EcoDistricts and Triple-Helix Community Development
Jeni Cross, Brian Dunbar, and Choi As the earth’s population becomes increasingly urban, cities are facing complex economic, social, and environmental challenges that are best met through the collaborative effort of municipalities, private business, and researchers – the triple-helix approach proposed by this team. CLA, CHHS, CAS
Institute for Genome Architecture and Function
Karolin Luger, Jennifer DeLuca, Randy Bartels, Ashok Prasad, Travis Bailey, Cristiana Argueso Establishing an institute for Genome Architecture and Function will allow this team of researchers to explore the organization of genetic material in the cell which affects the development and progression of a wide range of diseases including cancer. CNS, COE, CVMBS
Coalition for Development and Implementation of Sensor Systems
David Dandy, Tom Chen, Chuck Henry, Anura Jayasumana, Rick Lyons, Jennifer Mueller, Sangmi Pallickara, Lori Peek, Ken Reardon, Melissa Reynolds, John Volckens The mission of this team is to unite researchers focused on designing and developing integrated chemical and biological sensors and sensor networks that address critical needs in prevention, monitoring, and treatment applications including infectious diseases, cancer, water, food safety and energy. COE, CNS, CLA, CVMBS, IDRC
The Muse: Indian Summer

The Muse: Indian Summer

As we head into the new academic year there is much to Muse from this summer’s activities. One piece of personal good news is that I am slowly shedding the 10 pounds gained in my freshman year at CSU and found a commuting cycling route that includes a shower.

CSU signed an MOU with Amity University in India.

CSU signed an MOU with Amity University in India.

One focus of this summer has been to diversify our partnerships in the international arena. A small group traveled to India in early August, just at the end of their monsoon season to sign a memorandum of understanding with Amity University and to rekindle a relationship with national research professor C.N.R. Rao at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research. Amity is one of the largest private universities in India and is a remarkable story. It was founded as one of the first private business schools in India. They have six campuses in India and six around the world (UK, Singapore, China, Africa and two in the US) with 120,000 students all constructed in just eight years! The campus we visited in Delhi is quite new with approximately 24,000 students. The academic programs and degrees align remarkably well with CSU given Amity’s strengths in natural resources, water, agriculture and engineering. They are currently building a 400 bed hospital and medical school. The agreement we signed was broad and intended to open academic and research partnerships with CSU. Continue reading

CSU Research News Update: 5 things you should know about #Coloradostate

 

Google car

1. For the past year, Google Street View cars roaming Indianapolis, Boston and New York’s Staten Island have captured more than just images. With the help of a CSU team led by Professor Joe von Fischer, the vehicles also measured where and how much methane is leaking from underground pipelines that deliver natural gas to those cities.

 

Private, state and federal organizations will work together to stimulate the development of wood-energy projects in Colorado. Photo by Dan Bihn.

2. The USDA has announced Colorado as the recipient of a $250,000 grant to promote the development of innovative wood-to-energy projects in the state. Photo by Dan Bihn.

 

3. Nine policymakers and farmers recently traveled from Pakistan to Fort Collins to take part in a 12-day tour of Colorado focused on water management techniques for farms. The group visited areas of Colorado with similar topographical and climatic conditions to certain areas in Pakistan.

3. Nine policymakers and farmers recently traveled from Pakistan to Fort Collins to take part in a 12-day tour of Colorado focused on water management techniques for farms. The group visited areas of Colorado with similar topographical and climatic conditions to certain areas in Pakistan.

 

4. Robin Reid of CSU was 1 of 3 to receive the 2014 Michael P. Malone International Leadership Award for her career of in advancing international education at public and land-grant institutions. For the past 27 years, Reid has led education, research and outreach projects in the drylands of Africa, Asia and North America. Her current work focuses on how to transform international higher education to be more inclusive of under-represented groups and more useful for local problem solving.

4. Robin Reid of CSU was 1 of 3 to receive the 2014 Michael P. Malone International Leadership Award for her career of in advancing international education at public and land-grant institutions. For the past 27 years, Reid has led education, research and outreach projects in the dry lands of Africa, Asia and North America. Her current work focuses on how to transform international higher education to be more inclusive of under-represented groups and more useful for local problem solving.

 

4. Bikram yoga, a type of “hot yoga,” has beneficial effects on fitness, according to researchers at CSU.

5. Bikram yoga, a type of “hot yoga,” has beneficial effects on fitness, according to researchers at CSU.

 

 

Science and Spectacle: A Reflection of the Walk Again Project on the World Cup Stage

Dr. Alan Rudolph at the World Cup in Brazil.

Dr. Alan Rudolph at the World Cup in Brazil before the Walk Again demonstration at the Opening Ceremony.

I had to decompress for a few days before reflecting and writing about my most recent experiences in South America at the Copa De Moda – or World Cup. For the last 18 months I have been managing an international consortium of 125 people in 25 countries who were designing, building and testing a new prosthetics – or exoskeleton – that people with severe spinal cord injuries could control with their brains.

Continue reading