Virginia Tech’s Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT) hosts the Virginia Science Festival each year, featuring work from ICAT-affiliated faculty, staff, and students. Tech on the Trail had three projects featured this year:
- The Gardenator: How Well Do You Know Your Garden highlights our award-winning garden discovery app made together with the Science Museum of Western Virginia. Grad student Lindah Kotut took the lead on presenting this work, which was implemented by a team of computer science undergrads.
- Adventure Meets Research: Citizen Science and Technology on the Trail demoed a challenge (pictured at the right) for participants to “beat the computer” at identifying common plants on the trail. This work featured an app that we have been developing to differentiate between plants found on typical regional hikes. Grad students Derek Haqq and Tim Stelter presented this work, building on the efforts of many others.
- Responsive Interior Surfaces: Barklight (pictured at the bottom of this post) is an ongoing effort to create an interactive surface using the bark of a tree and a series of LEDs. A 96″ x 42″ bark panel features a 24 x 48 grid of LEDs connected to Arduinos that are programmed to reflect information and interactions. This represents joint work with faculty Matt Wagner (architecture) and Scott McCrickard (computer science), and students Tianyu Ge, Connor Smedley, Sidney Holman, Shuo Niu, Tom Phan, and many others. This project is funded by an ICAT SEAD grant.
Big thanks to everyone who came out to the festival. It’s been growing every year, and we’re happy to be part of this showcase event for ICAT and the region.