AGI(S) – EEO Seminars Update

February 2017 witnessed the first Festival of Creative Learning at the University of Edinburgh.  To mark this, Friday 24th saw a pairing of the first and second seminars in a special ‘Future Techniques’ trilogy held as part of this year’s EEO-AGI(S) Seminar Series.

Dr. Paul Chapman of Glasgow School of Art’s School of Simulation and Visualization (SimViz) first asked: “Virtual Reality. Temporary distraction or real opportunity?”

For those of us old enough to remember some of the mixed efforts of the early 1990s (cumbersome games console add-ons and some questionable movies! – all discussed) this was an interesting update and a reminder of how the Computer Games industry has developed at enormous pace over the last few decades.  For those new to VR this was a comprehensive coverage of hardware and software platforms (such as Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR and the HTC Vive offering – tipped as one VR system to watch) as well as a brief historical review of some older VR technology – some from long before the 1990s!

While not forgetting some valid critiques and criticisms of us blindly adopting such technology, the conclusion is that VR – this time – is a real force to be reckoned with, and a potential game changer.

Later that afternoon, via our friends at Hutton Club, Dr. Rebecca Hodge of Durham University gave a talk on: “CT scanning and 3D printing: New tools for quantifying fluvial sediment dynamics”.  It was interesting to see a particularly Earthy (or should that be sandy?) application of such technologies, and to see 3D printing being used in a GeoScience domain.

Friday 3rd March saw the final seminar in the Techniques mini-series, again hosted jointly with The Hutton Club, and featured Edinburgh GeoSciences’ own Dr. Andrew Cunliffe speaking about: “Terrestrial carbon in degrading drylands: A study of soils, sediments and plants from drones”.  Once again it was interesting to see an application of ‘spatial’ technology and techniques, this time UAVs and Structure From Motion Photogrammetry, to see not only the topographic features on the Earth’s surface but also to gather information, literally, about the Earth itself.

Owen Macdonald
Organiser, EEO-AGI(S) Seminars

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