Location-Based Augmented-Reality & IDEASS Community Projects

Doors open at 6 p.m. and the first presentation begins at 6:30 pm.

Topic: Palimpsest Virtual Reality Platform
Presenter: Phoenix Toews, CTO Augmented Mountain Ltd.

Topic: IDEASS Community Projects/Local Energy Microgrids (+5)
Presenter Organizer: Tamara Ball, PhD. Post Doc, UCSC Researcher

First presenter: Phoenix Toews
The audience will engage in a discussion of the potential of location-aware augmented-reality to transform the cultural understanding of a place, which goes beyond simple navigation and landscape. This includes the utilization of histories, storytelling, games, and reactive installations using a custom Augmented Reality platform called Palimpsest.

The presenter, Phoenix Toews, is a graduate of the Digital Arts and New Media program (MFA) @UCSC and CTO at Augmented Mountain Ltd. Please note his Linkedin profile at http://www.linkedin.com/pub/phoenix-toews/3/7b0/871.

Second Presenter: Tamara Ball, PhD.
Post-Doctoral Researcher
ISEE Institute for Scientist and Engineer Educators
SEED Sustainable Engineering and Ecological Design
University of California, Santa Cruz

Six Topics & Presenters:
*Clean Oceans Project – Waste Plastic-to-Diesel Pyrolysis
*Green Building Design and Energy Efficiency: Online Gaming
*Renewable Energy Microgrids – Energy Monitoring and Display
*Natural Bridges Green Career School – Solar Tube Installation and Bike Generator
*Santa Cruz Green Wharf Project – Solid Waste & Grease Processing for Fuel Stock
*Campus Energy Dashboard and Behavior Change


Clean Oceans Project – Waste Plastic-to-Diesel Pyrolysis
The mission of the Clean Oceans Project, based in Moss Landing is to find, capture, remove and recycle the millions of pounds of plastic in the "debris patches" found within the world's 5 major subtropical gyres. As part of this mission, Clean Oceans Project is testing a technology to reuse/recycle waste plastic. Evolucient Systems is a newly developed hybrid pyrolysis process that creates high quality, mixed light crude oil (gasoline, diesel, kerosene, and heavy oil) from waste plastic. A system that will convert waste will go online January 1, 2013. IDEASS students have two objectives on this project. The first is to refine the light crude oil to a useable fuel, which is a chemistry task. This second is to explore economic feasibility of replicating this model at other sites, using different waste plastic materials, or different refined oil products.

Green Building Design and Energy Efficiency Computer Game
Game designers recognize that in today’s world digital media is a prevalent part of everyday life. Connecting with youth through video games is potentially a powerful means of informing and educating them about human impacts on the ecosystems we depend on. This project involves designing and building a computer game to teach principles of green building, renewable energy, and energy efficiency to youth. The premise of the game positions players as safeguards/heroes responsible for resolving environmental problems across the globe. Players are assigned a set of tools and the final solution to different problems and prompted to proceed with the restoration. Players win higher scores by making prudent decisions but also learn about the tradeoffs resulting from the choices they make. The idea is to provide an interactive and fun way to learn about sustainability in buildings. Students in the Game Design major are working with Thomas Rettenwender of EcoLogicDesign and Mike Parisi of independent game design entrepreneur. The team is using a Corona/Lua platform for mobile app developers to mount the game.

Natural Bridges Green Career School – Solar Tube Installation and Bike Generator
The Natural Bridges Green Career School is an alternative high school located on Swift Street in Santa Cruz. IDEASS students began working with the school in 2010 to develop on-site sustainability projects and related educational components.

For 2012/2013 the focus is on educating youth about energy consumption through consumerism while creating a curriculum that allows students to feel empowered through practical hands on experiences that will enhance their future. Specifically, the IDEASS undergraduates will work with teams of youth to build two human powered bike generators and document their process using digital media. By building bike generators, their aim is to reduce some of the uncertainty concerning power consumption and inform students how much energy it takes to power things. The curriculum will include the following components: 1) hardware installation instruction, 2) circuitry lessons, 3) mechanical engineering skills, 4) collaborative action, and 5) digital media and computer skills. A secondary objective is to integrate digital media products completed before the end of the year for display on a newly installed kiosk /energy dashboard at the school with a look at potentially naming the school as a stop on the Santa Cruz EcoTour.

Santa Cruz Green Wharf Project – Solid Waste & Grease Processing
The Green Wharf project on Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf aims to research and promote renewable energy and sustainable practices on the wharf with the ultimate aim of demonstrating how new technologies and informed business practice could result in a NetZero energy system. Collaborators are also focused on educating the public about these efforts as they proceed. The IDEASS collaboration with the GreenWharf project is now in its fourth year.

IDEASS students have worked on several projects on the Green Wharf Project in the past, including: helping install and analyze data from a renewable energy test bed (wind and solar sensors, a vertical axis wind turbine, and a solar panel); promote Ecology Action’s RightLights program and the Monterey Green Business program to wharf businesses; created an EcoTour of the wharf including interpretive signs with QR code-supported information to accompany docent-led and self-guided tours in collaboration with Long Marine Lab; installing an electric vehicle charging station.

In 2012/2013 Students will work on waste reduction and recycling with a particular emphasis on waste grease processing. Currently, the wharf sells “yellow grease” from restaurants to Salinas Tallow for processing into a viable bio-diesel fuel source. The wharf supervisor, Jon Bombaci, would like to re-examine protocols for hauling this by-product off the wharf including: (1) solicit competitive bids from other companies to attain a higher price, (2) working with collection process to make it cleaner and easier to haul, (3) exploring and testing a bio-reactor to process and reuse the grease on the wharf to produce energy. The wharf supervisor, Jon Bombaci, is also interested in exploring solutions to other solid waste management issues and is currently pursuing energy conservation projects on the wharf, including exterior lighting retrofits. The primary mentor for this project will be Ori Kedar, a recent graduate from UPenn with a background in environmental economics. Others key stakeholders in the Green Wharf project include Professor John Vesecky (Electrical Engineering), Professor Brent Haddad (Environmental Studies), Tiffany Wise-West (ENVS graduate student), Zachary Graham (EE graduate student) and Ross Clark (SC City Climate Change Action Coordinator).

Renewable Energy Microgrids – Energy Monitoring, Modeling and Display
IDEASS will be part of initiating a 5-year effort to establish and research renewable energy microgrids in the region. A microgrid is a small-scale generating system designed to meet part or all of the electricity demands of a particular community. A well-functioning microgrid needs to match energy demand (from people using buildings and vehicles) with energy generation (from renewable energy sources), and use energy storage devices (such as batteries) to resolve the variation in timing between energy generation and energy demand. For example, solar energy is available during the middle of the day, but building energy use is greatest in the afternoon and early evening. Understanding energy usage and generation patterns, enhancing energy efficiency, and creating ‘sustainability districts’ are the overall goals of the project. Faculty and graduate students in electrical engineering and computer science at UCSC have been working with The Center for Sustainable Energy and Power Systems, the City of Santa Cruz, Hartnell College and NASA-AMES to develop several renewable energy demonstration sites that involve micro-grid power systems. Wind turbines, solar photovoltaic panels and sensors that collect data on windspeed/direction, solar irradiance, weather etc have been installed at the SC Municipal Wharf and at NASA-AMES. Hartnell College is on schedule to install similar equipment in 2013 at their new Alisal Campus which has become the home of Hartnell's new state-of-the-art facility, The Center for Advanced Technology. IDEASS teams working on this project have the support of lower division students in a 2-unit College 8 tutorial that also focuses on microgrid development. There are several sub-projects that IDEASS students can be involved in and in 2013 IDEASS students are working with College 8 to accomplish the following

Microgrid Data Management and Display. This project involves programming software, creatively displaying, and aggregating and comparing energy data from multiple sites. This involves both technical and non-technical skills. Computer engineering/science students can work with IDEASS to help create and program a central database to collect, house and display energy data from all three sites. Non-engineering IDEASS teammembers can work to define applications of this data, create data visualizations, and design user interfaces. This could include designing displays for the Wharf EcoTour, designing educational activities that make use of microgrid data, or identifying and serving interests of other stakeholders (such as residents, solar installers, the SC City Planning Commission).

Campus Energy Dashboard and Behavior Change In the coming years, UCSC will be investing in expanding renewable energy generation capacity. UCSC leadership is interested in both assessing the economic and practical realities of different options. There are several opportunities for IDEASS students to get involved. The campus is currently installing a solar photovoltaic system on the roof of the new McHenry Library, and there is a need to scope future solar installations. Last year’s IDEASS team completed an analysis of solar energy potential at UCSC’s building at 2100 Delaware Ave. This year, Rhonda Tramble, UCSC Senior Engineer is interested in completing a similar feasibility site for a “solar carport” at the West Remote Parking Lot. IDEASS students will work with Rhonda to detail the solar irradiance available, evaluate different materials and designs, determine costs including payback and ultimately compare sites. Second, there is interest in analyzing wind energy potential on main campus as well as at the Long Marine Lab and comparing these profiles to data collected from local sites that are already producing wind power including NASA-AMES and the SC Municipal Wharf. This involves building a portable anemometer tower to assess windspeed in the area. This portion of the project could also develop into creating a regional wind and solar potential map using data from multiple locations in the region. Kevin Bell, a College 8 Fellow, will help mentor this component of the project.

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  • Carlos L.

    Contrary to some of the other comments, I thought the Meetup was informative. I had an opportunity to learn that there are possibilities for partnership with the University. I think that Phoenix's presentation was informative. My company is a mobile/cloud development company and we are currently brainstorming an Augmented Reality application. Great to be made aware of development platforms and resources. == Carlos Lozano. ACEL DESIGN INC.

    April 10, 2013

  • Steve B.

    I thought some of the student presentations were great. Some, though, were at the science fair level. In the future, maybe pre-screen them and schedule the better baked ones for a full 15 minutes, not necessarily all in the same meeting?

    FWIW, I don't mind hearing pitches, kickstarter or otherwise. But make it a real pitch with user and business case information.

    April 4, 2013

  • Jim W.

    I felt the Augmented Reality presentation was too canned and could have been much more. However the students from IDEASS were engaging and showing real work toward dealing with real current world issues.
    I would like to see an expansion on innovation from simply green or high tech.

    April 4, 2013

  • Van

    Im going to be honest. This meetup was a waste of time.

    Firstly, nothing but remedial knowledge was presented. 5 minutes on any web page would tell me the same. A "What is Augmented Reality?" FAQ would serve the same purpose.

    Secondly, the projects presented seemed to boil down to funding pitches for Kickstarter projects. Why am I paying $5 for the "privilege" of being asked for more? Pay the venue rental yourself then. Social graces are more than saying please and thank you.

    Thirdly, the projects presented were decided uninspired. Palimpsest looks like vague AR middleware. The IDEASS presenter was even worse, another academic long on talk without substance. Typical UCSC. She wasted valuable time her students needed to pitch their individual projects.

    SC New Tech Meetup, please don't let this become a trend.

    April 3, 2013

  • Jonathan G.

    It would be great for Phoenix to return to a future Meetup and do a follow up demonstration of all the fun augmented reality applications live over on the projector. This would really bring the subject to life.

    April 3, 2013

  • Brad S.

    Conflicting meetup, too bad.

    March 21, 2013

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