In an effort to celebrate the latest strides in technology, the second annual MakerX tech festival was held Saturday at the Ohio Expo Center, featuring more than 80 exhibits from across the region — including many from Ohio State.
Supported entirely by volunteers, the event covered everything from drone races and inventive cosplay to digital art and robotics, giving participants a chance to discover this year’s latest inventions.
As one of many Ohio State exhibitions present, the Department of Dance showcased its project called LabanLens, an augmented reality dance application.
“One of the exciting things about this technology is that you’re in a whole world when you’re in here, and you’re also in the [real] world,“ Hannah Kosstrin, professor of dance and co-creator of LabanLens, said. “We are excited for people to know a little bit more what we’re doing with LabanLens and the way that we and the department are connecting art and technology.”
Chris Summers, media manager for the Department of Dance and College of Arts & Sciences Technology Services as well as LabanLens co-creator, called the project an “untethered experience.”
“Instead of looking down at your phone or looking at a computer screen, you’re actually able to integrate the tech and the interface with the real world,” Summers said. “You can live in the flesh and interact with tech in the flesh.”
Kosstrin said she can see how the device could have a focus in health and medical sciences, and said she hopes the expo can help encourage collaboration and development for LabanLens.
The expo featured exhibits ranging from COSI to numerous entrepreneurship programs, as well as a robot competition and free swordplay lessons for younger visitors.
One inventor, Robert Schorr, spoke about his own contributions to local schools through SyVu, a universal smartphone adapter that will help improve classroom interaction and save valuable resources.
“I created a device that attaches smartphones universally to all microscopes, telescopes and binoculars, but for Ohio schools, that’s a huge impact,” Schorr said. “It’s a great tool for all teachers that I was happy to supply all over the U.S. and globally.”
Many displays promoted a hands-on experience, and student-led projects from Ohio State were no exception.
In the realm of robotics, Benji Justice, president of the underwater robotics team and fourth-year in electrical and computer engineering, said his goal for the event and his team was to show the Columbus area what Ohio State’s engineers are capable of.
After joining the club as a freshman, Justice said gaining the skills that led him to present at MakerX should be invaluable to all undergraduate students.
“The majority of what I’ve learned in school has come out of this club, and it’s a great application of what I’ve learned in the classroom,” Justice said. “I encourage other students to get involved with something that’s a great application of your skills, and you make a lot of great friends in the process.”