Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Swinburne University

Today we explored Swinburne University. Here we saw a dancing robot and even got to try out a Formula One race car simulator.
Our site visit for today was Swinburne University. We were first given a tour of the campus and saw many of the new buildings.

The Advanced Technologies Centre is one of the more recent buildings and was constructed in 2011. This building was actually built to resemble the streets of Melbourne and is renowned for its innovative design.

In addition, the Advanced Manufacturing Design Centre is currently finishing construction. Both of these buildings were designed with the environment in mind and have technology such as rain water capture systems to reduce the ecological foot print.

Pictured below is the ceiling to the Advanced Manufacturing Design Centre, which is designed to gather as much daylight as possible.

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After the tour of campus, we were shown a robot named Clarence that the university has been programming.

The robot was amazingly humanoid and has the ability to recognize faces as well as display emotion using the color of its eyes. Clarence also has a wide range of life-like mobility and is able to balance on one foot using sensors.

To display Clarence's talents, the robot even danced to "Gangnam Style"! Below is a picture of the students playing a game with the robot.

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Clarence would act out a sport and we would guess what sport he was playing. Clarence responded whether we got the sport correct or not. Clarence is very good at charades because we were able to guess each sport correctly!

Next we visited a lab where technologies for different vehicles were being developed. An example of one of these is the Solar Car Project, which the University of Minnesota participates in as well.

Because of Australia's environment, it is one of the best places in the world for solar technology. In addition, the lab works on Formula SAE and improving power trains.

We got to try our hands at Formula One racing with a simulator in the lab. The simulator was very realistic and difficult to drive. Although, unlike the rest of Australia, we didn't have to worry about what side of the road we were driving on!

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