Students did a double take when they passed by a glossy white machine with wandering eyes, unaware that they had just passed InMoov 3, a 3D printed interactive robot.
Crowded around the Friendship Walk outside the University Student Union, students learned about technology from campus organizations, as well as outside companies for TechDay 2018 Wednesday.
The annual event consisted of about 40 vendors, a fun zone, a game truck and a free pizza lunch to the first 600 participants who visited at least ten vendors from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Bryon Jackson, director of telecommunications at Long Beach State, said this third annual TechDay took months of planning and discussions in order to ensure that it was the best possible experience for attendees.
“TechDay is essentially a forum for our campus and its surrounding community to see the technology available here,” Jackson said. “We want our students and faculty to get to know the technology people on campus and see the range of technology that Cal State Long Beach offers.”
He also said the event invites different technology services across campus, as well as industry professionals. Some of the campus organizations present were Associated Students Inc, Beachsync, CSULB Build and Imagine Beach 2030.
“We’re here trying to get students, staff and the community members to RSVP for our online event next week, on November 14 and 15, where students can express their vision and hopes for Long Beach State in the future,” said Myra Pimental, Imagine Beach 2030 volunteer and senior psychology major. “We’re also just informing them on exactly what Imagine Beach 2030 is, as well as giving out lots of fun swag.”
A few of the vendors held live technology demonstrations. The Physical Planning and Facilities Management booth drew many passersby with two interactive robots, which many stopped to take pictures and videos of.
“This is an open source, 3D printed robot named InMoov 3 that I built. Anyone could download the files online for free and do the same,” said Alan Timms, physical planning and facilities management systems analyst. “This robot is a product of thousands of hours of printing and assembly, but it’s a great way to learn more about robotics, automation as well as human to machine interaction.”
Moving into the future, Timms said that the tech industry would aim to focus on making the movements of artificial intelligence more human-like and natural, rather than “stiff and robotic.”
“We want our robots to be able to have meaningful interactions with people,” Timms said. “In the future, we’d like to use robots to get feedback from students on what facilities could be doing better. I think that would be a lot more interesting than responding to an email.”
Companies, such as HP, Skullcandy and Dell used the event to show off their most current gadgets available on the market.
“I really like the atmosphere here and there’s a lot of cool things going on,” said Eduardo Hernandez, a sophomore civil engineering major. “They have Apple and Microsoft booths, and I’m able to get information about the tech world and how it’s advancing at the moment.”
Academic Technology Services, which manages BeachBoard and active learning classrooms, raffled off an Amazon Echo.
“We’re here to tell students about the software tools that we have, which students have access to for free on campus,” said Laura Emery, Academic Technology Services communications specialist. “We’re also here to answer questions about Beachboard and help students out with any confusion they may have about our technology.”
Apart from technology education, TechDay’s fun zone also had a DJ from 22 West Media playing music, as well as raffles throughout the event.
“I’m not super interested in technology, but TechDay was actually pretty fun because of the free food and games and music,” said Amanda Lawson, a junior sociology major. “My friend and I went into the video game truck, which was a great break from studying and classes.”