Allegheny College Students Learn in the Sand

The school's augmented reality sand box creates three-dimensional topographical maps based on the way students physically shape the sand.

photo by Allegheny College

Allegheny College’s newest piece of technology offers students a chance to roll up their sleeves and act like a kid again — a combination of sands and smarts. This augmented reality sandbox, located in the basement of Alden Hall, arrived in late January and creates three-dimensional topographical maps based on the way students physically shape the sand. When the sand is dug out, mounded, spread or altered in any way, a Microsoft Kinect 3-D camera and a projector detect the movement and create a colored elevation map in real time, which is displayed over the sandbox. The departments of geology, environmental science, computer science and biology use the technology in labs and for independent research projects. It seems fitting that so many departments will find a use for the sandbox because the process to bring it to Allegheny required a collaborative effort. The college received materials to build the sandbox through a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, local carpenters and welders put it together and a systems administrator set up the operating system and software.

Lynn George is no stranger to local academia. Named the inaugural dean of the College of Health and Wellness at Carlow University, Dr. George served as Associate Dean of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences at Robert Morris since 2006 and a faculty member there since 2003. Dr. Suzanne Mellon, Carlow president, said in a statement that Dr. George will contribute to Carlow’s vision of making its nursing programs thrive and extending its reach into the workforce. “Dr. George is an exceptional leader and educator who has a firm understanding of the landscape of health care and health-care education needed to address this critical area in our region,” she added. Dr. George’s understanding of the region goes back even further, as she earned a Ph.D. in Nursing from Duquesne University, Master of Science from the University of Pittsburgh and a Bachelor of Science from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She will begin her new role July 1.

La Roche College is paying attention to the demands of the workforce by developing a Master of Science in Information Systems. The 30-credit program will begin in the fall and will enable students to complete a master’s degree within one year. Citing the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand is expected to rise for jobs in computer information systems managers and computer systems analysts in the next 10 years. The program primarily will focus on big data, social media, cyber security and project management. Vice President for Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer Howard Ishiyama said in a statement that the program will allow students to receive a strong foundation across several career paths and industries. “La Roche College is excited to have developed a competitive curriculum that is consistent with today’s workforce and an increased demand in the local, regional and international marketplace,” he said.

Categories: Great Minds