Monday, June 6, 2016

Event 3 - LASER 4/26

Note to Symrin: I was involved in a car accident recently so I did not get a chance to go to an event. Instead, I viewed an archived video of the LASER event happened on 4/26. This post is about that video.

Although I couldn't go to the LASER event on 4/26 physically, I was still able to watch the inspiring talks, thanks to the live stream and video archive of the Computing Technologies Research Lab at UCLA. LASER was a platform for scientists and artists to exchange their researches and ideas. At LASER, artists were informed by cutting-edge technology and could start from there to propose creative projects.
Figure 1: Profess Erkki illustrating "Hand"

The first speaker was Professor Erkki Huhtamo from UCLA. Describing himself as a Topos Archeologist, he introduced various concepts of Topos Archeology, a subject about cultural patterns in different contexts. As an example, he showed us the pattern of hand and its connotation of "control" ; where it originated from, how it appeared in different artwork and literature. He showed how the original appearance of the pattern was adopted in subsequent work. From his introduction, I also thought of some "Hands" standing for "Control", such as the Hearthstone card "Mind Control" showed in Figure 2.
Figure 2: "Mind Control" from a card game. Notice the hand behind the victim's head.
Next, Taylor Aubry from Schwartz Group of UCLA talked about plastic solar cells. She told us the major obstacle in front of massive usage of solar energy was the cost of manufacturing silicon solar cells. Therefore, the researchers at Schwartz Group were looking for cheap alternatives of silicon. Plastic was found a good candidate. She explained how to make plastic semiconductor by borrowing electrons from other materials with free electrons. She also showed many applications if the cheap solar cells were in place. The most interesting one to me was the self-powered WiFi routers, which could make full wireless network coverage of cities possible.
Figure 3: Marco Pinter showing object choreography
The other speaker whose topic interested me was Marco Pinter from UC Santa Barbara. He introduced the concept of computer aided design of choreography of objects. Unlike human dancers, sometimes objects could serve as a better tool to demonstrate certain concepts because their structures were more simple. Also, their shapes were more flexible. What's showed in Figure 3 was a video Pinter made using the software and technology developed by his group.