Technology

Smart homes, phones and drones

A man utilising a Virtual Reality headset at a computer

Dr Robert Gittins – Guildford U3A – talks about the ELECTRA Programme: exploring Life Enhancing Technologies for the Third Age.

ELECTRA is a research initiative to investigate the effects of emerging, life changing, technologies – good or bad, exploring the advantages for U3A members.

The ELECTRA Programme which is being developed by Guildford U3A researchers, is deliberately termed as a programme, to allow satellite Projects of research to emerge from group members who can develop specific directions as new technologies emerge and gain prominence.

As a retired academic and project development manager, I am personally interested in all aspects of emerging technologies, but particularly in the area of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) – where it applies to visual interaction; Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs), user experience and usability evaluation.

The Electra Programme has no envisaged constraints to technology-topics at this time. So if its anything from smart phones to smart homes, micro cameras or quad copters (Drones), projects can be tendered by individuals or self-forming teams to the ELECTRA Programme, and launched for unspecified periods of research. Projects can last from as little as one week to a number of months.
The purpose is that the research enthusiasts will eventually provide interim reports – perhaps written or via presentations or publications, but essentially giving feedback from their findings for the benefit of their local U3A and wider audiences.

For more information, or to join the ELECTRA Programme, please contact Dr Robert Gittins by email at rgittins@gmail.com

Avatars and Virtual Worlds.

Rob Gittins explains the ARGOS Project

The ARGOS project explores the areas of virtual reality, 3D virtual worlds, photorealism, tactile force feedback devices and immersive headsets. It is investigating Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and beyond to wherever the next technical advances take us.

The ARGOS Project has developed following previously funded European Projects at Surrey University – now completed. Surrey University has provided ARGOS with a 3D virtual environment platforms so that U3A members can conduct their own research to design and develop their own dedicated virtual scenarios to experience the world of avatars and 3D immersive space.

This virtual space can consist of a simple virtual room or to something much larger, perhaps virtual exhibition centre or library, complete with video walls and other mixed-media amenities.

U3A researchers are devising scenarios from virtual medical consultation rooms to storytelling set in seated garden areas or auditoriums for attending virtual music recitals. Many of these scenarios are ready to play-out today in the U3A ARGOS virtual project areas.

Click here to download a poster with more information about the ARGOS programme