August 25, 2009 By Wayne Hanson
University of Washington Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering Babak Parviz heads a group of researchers working on electronic systems for contact lenses, like the "heads up" visual display in the Terminator movies, in which information is displayed in a robotic eye. A University of Washington News item describes possible applications such as aiding the visually impaired, holographic driving controls and accessing the Internet. According to Parviz, the display won't impede the user's vision.
Students at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) may interact with students and teachers on campus, as well as online in Second Life. The university has an entire virtual campus in Second Life. The online presence started with the idea of building a virtual hotel environment for the use of the School of Hotel and Tourism Management. "Second Life enables students and educators to create innovative environments for distance learning, computer-supported cooperative work, simulations and teaching," said project leader Paul Penfold. "This use of simulation in a safe environment will greatly enhance experiential learning." Students can access a wide variety of library materials and information about the library via the platform and links on the library's intranet.
On August 17, a sleeve gastrectomy --- removal of part of the stomach as a weight-loss measure -- was twittered live by Sinai Hospital of Baltimore. The procedure, performed by Alex Gandsas, M.D., was a success according to the hospital, and the Twitter account included photos of the operation.
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.