Archive for April, 2009

Thanks for reading all semester, everyone!

On behalf of all of the ISU Tech staff, we wanted to thank you for reading our blog all semester! We hope found our content interesting enough to continue reading in the future. I hope everyone has a great summer!



April 24, 2009 at 9:16 am Leave a comment

4/20/09: Fashionable Technology

Hi Everyone,

Over the past year we have blogged about many different careers that incorporate technology. This video is about merging technology and fashion in a very interesting way. Some of the techno fashion is practical and some is kind of weird. One thing is for sure, science and technology transcend all fields. The sky is the limit for people who graduate with technology related degrees.




Please don’t forget to post your comments and take the blackboard assessment at:

April 19, 2009 at 6:48 pm Leave a comment

4/16/09 Promethean Boards



My mother is an elementary school teacher.  Recently, I visited my Mom’s fifth grade class and she demanded that I test out her new “toy”. Initially i was skeptical, but my Mom insisted that I stay after her students left so I could experiment with her new piece of technology.

Her new gadget was a Promethean interactive whiteboard.  These boards are a new piece of instructional technology which combines inferred technology (similar to a wii-mote),  a projector system, and a desktop computer.  At its most basic the system performs the same role as a whiteboard, only all writing is done with a stylus.  Sensors transfers the location of the stylus back to the computer and projector, which projects an image onto the touched area.

Interactive whiteboards, like the promethean, are part of a trend in education to better engage students using technology.  Not only do these boards give you mundane option of writing, they also come packed with software which makes them truly versatile.  Instructors can project images on the boards, rotate them, enlarge them, compare two pictures at the same time, and much more.  History teachers can display primary documents next to each other.  Art teachers can put famous works on the board, highlight important features, or magnify them.  The boards even come with interactive color wheels which can displayed many ways and illustrate color theory.

The boards come with a huge amount of content specific features. The geometry section offers tools that range from a simple drag and drop protractor to interactive visuals which demonstrate complicated mathematics I don’t understand.  My mom used the protractor to show her class how to use them and measure angles.

A bunch of math i dont understand... Interactive whiteboards can help me with my mathmatical illiteracy

A bunch of math i don't understand... but interactive whiteboards can help me with my mathematical illiteracy

Interactive whiteboards offer an incredibly large amount of options for teachers, or any public speaker, to better reach their audience and get their message across.  The system comes with remote inputs for voting, similar to the “clickers” here at ISU only more enjoyable. I experimented with the board for almost an hour and barely skimmed the surface of what it had to offer.  The companies which produce the boards also release downloadable content, lesson plans, and genuinely entertaining activities.  Features like virtual magnifying glasses and lenses which show hidden information or answers when they are dragged over them make simple and mundane tasks very interesting.  It’s safe to say if my school had  these while I was attending it, I wouldn’t  have spent half of my high school career in a boredom induced coma.

This new type of interactive technology offers an example of how technology plays an important role in education, other fields, and society in general.  It also offers an example of how personal knowledge of technology can be useful.  One of these professionally manufactured boards costs around $5,000, or you could make your own with a wii-mote, TV, and some good basic know how.

Here are some demo videos, first a commercial whiteboard

and finally a home made one (this one is a little long so feel free to skip ahead)

Thanks for reading, remember to take the quiz on blackboard


April 16, 2009 at 1:03 am 1 comment

04/13/09 RoboCup

Contemporary fiction movies often show robots constantly interaction with  main characters. In movies like IRobot, robots are even shown in a struggle against humans to control the world. But how far  are we to actually seeing robots taking important roles in our society? Maybe we are not that far, projects such as RoboCup are bringing us closer to a new era of robotic technology.

RoboCup is an international robot competition, that aims to develop autonomus soccer robots  in an inittiative to promote artificial intelligence.  Their dream goal is to create a robots team that by 2050 should be able to compete and win against the soccer world cup champion of that time.

Creating Artificialy Intelligent RoboCup robots is a very interesting project and it entitles the joint of many technologies:

– Design of Autonomous agents which means that the robots have systems that sense the environment therefore they are not being controlled by either controlled by humans or computers but act independently.

– Multiagent collaboration that allows the robots to work as a team.

– Strategy acquisition to be more effective at playing the game.

– Real time reasoning that allows them to act accordingly to the game situation.

– Sensor function allows the robots to percieve where the ball, team mates, goals are located.

Manuela veloso plays a very important role in the development of this project. Ms Veloso is the president-elect of the International RoboCup Federation and a fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence. She is also a professor at Carnegie Mellon Universityand focus her studies how robots can learn, plan and work together to accomplish tasks.

Here is a video of Ms. Veloso showing some soccer robots in action.



April 12, 2009 at 8:53 pm Leave a comment

Another Google Labs feature to protect you from yourself!

So, I’m sure all of you remember that I wrote about Google implementing a preventative feature into Gmail that forces users to answer a few math problems prior to sending emails after a certain time on the weekends. Well, Google has expanded on this with a new feature that allows users to “unsend” emails! Here’s a quote from the official Gmail blog:

“An email to the wrong Larry pushed me over the edge. I could undo just about any other action in Gmail — why couldn’t I undo send? Many people agreed, including Yuzo Fujishima, an engineer in the Tokyo office. My theory (which others shared) was that even just five seconds would be enough time to catch most of those regrettable emails.”

Now, Gmail has exactly that: a five second window in which you can choose to unsend an email. Sent an embarassing email to an ex? What about one to a manager to tell him or her what you REALLY think? Chances are you’ve regretted sending an email immediately after sending it. While the window is pretty short, five seconds is generally enough time to realize that one has made a mistake, although in my opinion, they should allow the user to change the duration of the “undo” feature. Now, technically, Gmail doesn’t really have the ability to “unsend” emails at all. With this new feature, the outbox simply waits five seconds before attempting to send the email, so after the five second window has passed, there’s no going back.

Do you guys think that five seconds is a good ammount of time, or should users have the option to make the window longer?



April 10, 2009 at 9:25 am 1 comment

4/2/09: ISU Alum

Hi Everyone,

Some of you have been wondering what types of careers ISU alums with technology backgrounds go into. Below is one of our fellow Red Birds that took Tec 151 when he was your age. Now look what he does. He runs his own company! Let us know what you think about this by posting your comments and please take the blackboard assessment at:




Kirk O. Nash, a 1987 Department of Technology Graphic Communication graduate, has been named an Outstanding ISU Alum. He started Creative Digital Images, Inc. (CDI), a full service 3D computer animation studio located in the Chicago western suburbs. CDI provides broadcast graphics, product/process visualization for marketing and training, speaker support, courtroom animation and interactive multimedia. In recent years CDI has also been making children’s entertainment oriented animation.


Here is his website Check it out:


Here is an example of the types of commercials and marketing products his company makes:

April 1, 2009 at 9:11 pm Leave a comment

April 2009
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