A talking man is being projected onto a hanging segment of cellophane. FIT faculty are taking turns experimenting with virtual reality. And a miniature David Bowie is being printed on a 3D printer. These are just a few of the things going on in the new Faculty Research and Innovation Space, which opened November 9.
Faculty gathered to experience the space—located in Room D524 of the Pomerantz Center—and all it has to offer. The holographic projection on cellophane was of particular interest to C.J. Yeh, Communication Design, as he is looking at new technologies to incorporate into the next Future of Fashion runway show. “This is the simplest way to create the illusion of a hologram,” he said. Faculty members also tried programming and experimentation with Arduino—an open-source electronic prototyping platform enabling users to create interactive electronic objects and micro controller boards that help teach coding.
“This is a place for you,” FIT President Joyce F. Brown told the faculty. “It is a place to experience, test, try things, and fail. I think we learn with each experiment, and each frontier that we try and cross. And we have never had a space for you to be able to do that.”
The facility is a interdisciplinary space intended to foster work across schools, and support a commitment to technology, innovation, and exploration, along with research and development. Faculty can explore on their own or collaborate, and can even bring their classes. James Pearce, technical manager in Information Technology, is heading up the space. For now, faculty members can stop by whenever they wish, but appointments may be necessary as the space becomes busier.
“This has been a truly collaborative effort from day one,” said Dr. Giacomo (Jack) Oliva, vice president for Academic Affairs. “The real spirit here is that collectively we have immense power in terms of what we want to do for innovation. And to see it happen is so exciting.”