Indiana University Participation in STEAM Innovation Fair at Conner Prairie, September, 2012
Project Staff: Kurt Seiffert, Kristy Kallback-Rose, Therese Miller, Mike Boyles, Chauncey Freund, Helen Yezerets, Joe Rinkovsky, Dave Hancock, Research Technologies, Indiana University.
Indiana University was invited to participate in the STEAM Innovation Fair at Conner Prairie in Indianapolis, Indiana in September 2012. This is the second year for this two-day event that showcases university and business innovations across the state. The mission of this event is to focus not only on the historic innovators of the past, but also on current innovators and how their sense of discovery is important to the future advancement of our society. Approximately 4,260 attended the festival.
The Indiana University booth had four main components for engaging the public: mineral finding robots; password cracking on a home grown computer cluster; bending light using laser light refraction; and 3D science videos produced by our Advanced Visualization group with funding from the TeraGrid grant. These hands-on demonstrations allowed the lay audience to engage with technology to see how it benefits society, from bending light as an example of how data travel over fiber optic cable at the speed of light, to programming robots to find minerals on Mars. These examples show the importance of how technology has allowed scientific innovation and discovery to happen at an accelerated pace.
Education, outreach, and training are important to the mission of the Pervasive Technology Institute. Staff working in the Institute are always looking for ways to reach out to the public and in particular K-12 students. This engagement has a positive impact in not only demonstrating the important contribution of the university to the state, but also in encouraging young students to pursue science and technology tracks in their education.