Tech Festival

Students wander the Student Union Ballroom gazing at the more than 50 displays at the second annual LSU TechPawLooza event Wednesday. (Credit: Rowan Kavner)
Students wander the Student Union Ballroom gazing at the more than 50 displays at the second annual LSU TechPawLooza event Wednesday. (Credit: Rowan Kavner)

By Rowan Kavner | LSU Student

Robots, giant displays and a plethora of exhibits beckoned for attention at the LSU Student Union Royal Cotillion Ballroom Wednesday's in the second annual TechPawLooza.

LSU students and faculty viewed and displayed more than 50 exhibits during the event dedicated to technological advances and sponsored by LSU's Information Technology Services with a theme to educate, connect and discover.

"We're celebrating the pervasive use of technology at Louisiana State University," said Karen Sirman, ITS manager. "There are faculty booths here that show how the faculty is using technology for teaching or discovery."

One of those faculty booths featured robots produced by LSU Computer Science students and faculty. Computer Science major Robert Kelly said he expects LSU's robot laboratory to expand as more students find out about it. He said beginners can join a Computer Science class in the fall that will allow them to work their way up to building robots, and another advanced class will be offered for algorithms.

But the fun really begins, he said, when students take on research projects between classes.

"We want to do a competition called RoboCup, which is autonomous soccer-playing robots," Kelly said. "They play soccer and don't have any communication with humans at all. They work as a team, have a goalie that dives and everything like that."

Hard to miss was a 70-inch touch-screen interactive display. Duke Thompson, regional sales manager at Sharp, said the display is used for communicating, collaborating and disseminating information. Doctors can use it to write notes on X-rays, while businesses can zoom in on charts and Excel sheets to write notes more clearly and visibly.

"Anything I put up on this monitor, I can draw over, annotate, put notes on, and save as a file," he said. "Then we could put it on your network, we can annotate notes on a full PowerPoint slide presentation and save it and give it to a sales team."

Students entering the Cotillion Ballroom were automatically entered to win various prizes throughout the day, which included Dell Tablet, a web cam, a digital camera, a Barnes and Noble Nook, Kinect games gift cards and signed LSU sports memorabilia.

Vendor booths included Adobe, AT&T, Barnes and Noble, HP, Intel, Microsoft, Dell, Apple, Symantec, EA Sports, among others.

While some companies were presenting their newest innovations, others were looking to hire. Apple sought students to work at home and EA Sports was looking for video game testers for their operations on LSU's South Campus.

"They're showing their new tablets, their new mobile devices, the new ways to connect with social media," Sirman said. "We have the vendors here well represented. It's just a plethora of technology, how LSU is connected to the world."

Sirman said the participation was much greater this year than last, and she hopes to continue raising awareness about the new exciting technology in LSU and around the country.

"We're just celebrating technology today, because a lot of people are unaware of how much technology is being utilized at LSU for teaching, for connecting us to the world and to connecting us to other universities."