Thursday, March 12, 2015
Improving the Human Experience
Carnegie Mellon University understands that strides in technological advancements alone are not enough. The real opportunities lie in designing smart, seamless technologies that meet pressing societal challenges.
This dedication to the interconnection of people, technology and machines to benefit mankind is something the university not only teaches but also puts into practice. Examples of these innovations in integrated intelligence will be on display at the 22nd annual SXSW Festival.
"Much of the innovation we are showcasing at SXSW grows out of integrated work across disciplines," said Thanassis Rikakis, Vice Provost for Design, Arts and Technology. He will participate in the panel "Shaping Technology for Improved Future Human Life." Jeremiah Owyang, founder of Crowd Companies and notable industry analyst and speaker will moderate.
Building on burgeoning cross-campus links, Rikakis coordinated the launch of the Integrative Design, Arts and Technology Network (IDeATe). This "innovative tech-arts fusion" furthers CMU educational and research opportunities that merge technology and the arts.
Rikakis will participate in the panel with Manuela Veloso (CS'89,'92) and Ken Goldberg (CS'88,'90). Veloso, CMU's Herbert A. Simon University Professor of Computer Science, is a leader in artificial intelligence and multi-robot systems and the developer of CoBot, a companion robot. Goldberg is a professor at the University of California at Berkeley recognized for his research on automation and networked telerobotics.
The three will discuss the integration of technological advances with both humans and nature, and how this merging will better our world.
According to Heinz College Dean, Ramayya Krishnan, Heinz has been pioneering CMU's engagement at SXSW for many years.
For the fifth year, Heinz College Master of Entertainment Industry Management (MEIM) students will be on hand to attend workshops, presentations and alumni discussions.
"As CMU students continue to marry the creative arts with technology, attendance at a festival like SXSW offers a unique, first-hand opportunity to experience the very best of interactive, music and film together in one amazing week," said Dan Green (A'94) MEIM director.
CMU will be one of the core presenters in the SXSW education start up village because of its innovative record in the new creative industries; from physical computing and robotics to additive manufacturing, learning media, technical animation and games. CMU presenters include AirViz, dedicated to empowering citizens to improve personal air quality and YinzCam, the app deployed in sports venues worldwide to bring fans closer to the game.
And still others from CMU are pioneering solutions to major societal issues through product development and entrepreneurship. Accel Diagnostics, a startup founded by Alberto Gandini (TPR'09), is making preventative health care affordable and accessible. The company's mobile blood diagnostic tests allow for the monitoring and diagnosis of life-threatening medical conditions — anywhere.
Accel is one of only 48 finalists selected to pitch in SXSW's Accelerator competition, one of seven in the Digital Health category. Gandini appreciates the university and its culture of commitment to entrepreneurship.
"CMU has offered me so much from a multitude of perspectives and the success we currently enjoy is to be shared with the entire CMU community and its interdisciplinary, innovational spirit," said Gandini.
"The idea for Accel was born when I was a Tepper MBA student," he continued. "We won the McGinnis business competition for our first funding. I then joined CMU's Biomedical Engineering Department and further developed the technology with my colleague, Professor James Antaki. The school's talent and engineering capability was key to our success."
CMU's display of impactful ideas, brought to reality through science and technology, will be featured in a variety of other presentations on topics ranging from entertainment technology to the subconscious appeal of images. SXSW keynote speaker, Astro Teller (CS'98), CMU Ph.D. recipient in artificial intelligence, is a scientist, inventor and entrepreneur. He is the current lead visionary for Google X, Google's department responsible for the self-driving car, Google Glass and most recently, approaches to Internet in the sky. Teller will deliver his speech titled, "Moonshots and Reality."
'Moonshots' is Teller's way of describing the crazy ideas that surface within his department. Who knows what world-changing 'moonshot' the CMU alumnus will introduce next?
SXSW 2015 will be held March 13-22 in Austin, Texas.