Monday, June 23, 2008

Cooltown? COOL!

The trip reminded me of the "Classroom of the Future (COF)" @ NIE that I visited 2 years ago. (Well, heard there's some revamp... so that it looks more future??? er... or so as to remain futuristic)

Really, for such places - it's really the packaging that counts... and of course, the getting the right 'salesperson' to do the job matters!

Well, according to an article "HP's Cooltown shows how technology works for humans ", Singapore Cooltown is the only cooltown remains worldwide... Wow! Lucky we to have one just at our doorstep, isn't it?

Several observations @ HP Cooltown Innovation Center - a mixture of newer technologies as well as existing technologies...

1. Virtual Tour

  • The tablet screen shows what the user would see as he moves around in the round... it's like: When one wonders in the room (in total darkness), with the device/program, you will not knock onto any objects - it's as good as what you see when the room is lighted up. Hm... equivalent to putting on those glasses/goggles for virtual reality experience.
  • Well, so the concept is not something new... except the fact that it's the first time hearing it uses a digital compass (if I remember the term correctly) instead of tapping on GPS. Oh yes, the user can find his location in the virtual map at one corner of the screen.
  • Of course, the software also allows one to have his imagination runs wild when designing a place... making it so visual and realistic! Hey, it would be nice if we could have something like that to help us designing our learning spaces of the new school campus!
  • One potential is to provide 'experiential learning': At a touch of a button, students can 'shrink' themselves (or their avatar) and be absorbed into a solid ... where they could explore the carbon isotopes - graphite and diamond... where they see & experience how the different structures result in different properties of the various forms.
  • Similarly, they can be shrunk and transported around the human body - to take a good close look at the organs... and to experience how blood flows (pumped in/out of the heart), etc...
  • Another potential for learning - Art/Design-related learning activities! For instance, involving students to design a maze...
  • Hm... both are tapping on the "Honey! I shrink my kids" concept.
  • Alternatively, we can also 'showcase' our future learning spaces during the open house!
2. HP TouchSmart ( and that table!

  • The first impression: Microsoft surface - equivalent, isn't it?
  • Why? Well, microsoft has made a big wave out of it! HP said the technology was developed before microsoft got it out... so... I guess it's due to the differences in the marketing strategies/emphasis of the 2 giants?
  • Well, I was still very excited, got the chance to sit in front of that table... hahaha... it's this novelty thingy in play... if it's going to be more common and accessible... then will be 见怪不怪liao!
  • Of course, the table is just an enlarged version of the PC monitor version...
  • Hm... other peripherals are... wireless mouse, keyboard, printer, etc... ok, ok... these are not new.
  • Potential in T&L? Hm... need to explore further... Perhaps something to do with collaborative tasks? (saw this in one of the advertisements where several children playing jigsaw puzzle... Er... it's a good to have isn't it? "High class Jigsaw Puzzle"?)

3. 2D-turned-3D visual magic!

  • A image printed on a piece of paper, when placed under a camera - the image will be captured and displayed in the computer... however, another dimension is displayed too! The animated visual (which could be a video/animation tagged to certain text) or just a 3rd dimension image 'popping' out!
  • Potential in T&L? Probably our kind of interactive textbook? Perhaps something we can envisage our pupils building up. However, it has to go with a camera, special programme to 'embed' the information (eg. images, videoclips) "onto" the piece of paper!

4. RFID Cafe

  • The first demo was that of the fridge - whereby RFID is used to track the stock of goods. Hey, isn't this something we saw in London last year? (when we put up in the Hilton hotel? or while we were in one of the hotels in Japan 2 years ago?). Yes, was so amazed by the use of technology in these household applicances then! So, no novelty here.
  • Of course, other demonstrations using (passive and active) RFID were pretty interesting :D - that includes the tracking of resources/equipment.
  • And yes, packaging is useful here.... it's well-illustrated with the cafe concept.
  • Potential for T&L? Er...
  • Potential for admin and logistics? Yes, definitely... as mentioned by HP, RFID was developed for logistics management largely. Am amazed! The tiny piece of device can do wonders!
  • Another interesting fact shared was the "injection" of RFID chip into the body - it seems to work wonders! With that chip of the size of a rice gain, it allows one to be 'scanned' for admission to outlets, make payment, etc... Hey, just a wild imagination - what if the burgler 'chop' off one's arm? hahaha... too much movies!

5. Zapcode

  • Another "IN" thing now... zap here, zap there... first heard about it in the learning trail at Sungei Buloh, then they appear more on newspapers, followed by Learn@ this year... and yes, today see a live demo...
  • WOW! There's potential! As seen in the learning trail recently. Yes, the push and pull technology... there's definitely potential for T&L... hm... emerging??? Have to think harder... (innovative use of the tool?)

6. Digital Pen

7. The Halo

  • Really, think this is the highlight, when Iba insisted showing us... hm... the state of art... yes, the first time heard about this in the talk "Tracking the Internet into the 21st Century" by Vinton G Cerf (see HERE).
  • Yeap, it's just video conferencing! But over a private network. And yes, it has overcome the 'lags' and other issues encounter in a typical videoconferencing environment. I think, its selling point is really - "so easy to use" (even by layman).
  • See previous post on this.

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