TechBytes: Gaming, Security & Technology

University of Wisconsin-Platteville held its first ever Techbytes on Wednesday, April 11. Students were able to see some senior mechanical engineering major projects showcased, experience high quality technology such as a virtual reality simulator and get a glimpse into what they may be unaware of within the ever-growing area of technology security. Information Technology Service previously headed a similar event that wasn’t well attended, but after working with the Student Technology Allocation Committee on what could be done, a technology day named Techbytes was formed.

“[The event] exceeded my expectations, compared to last time where we had a very low attendance. This has had a very steady traffic and I’m glad I wore my tennis shoes. People [were] very engaged and enjoy[ed] themselves,” ITS communications and training coordinator Deb Meyer said.

The chair of the committee, Russell Hill, coordinated those invited to come and showcase their talents and technology. The initial focus was on study tools, but Hill decided to expand the focus to encompass various aspects of what the campus can offer. Verizon BeMobile had a booth where they discussed new technology that can be used in cars called Hum. Hum is like an On-star diagnostic service through Verizon that connects to your phone. ITS had an interactive booth to go over internet safety and what to watch out for on your email. STAC had an information booth where the VR could be tested out and Mario Kart could be played on Nintendo Switch.

Senior industrial technology management major Doug Steinberg showcased a 3-D printer, which he had examples of various materials used to create designs from the 3-D printer. The 3-D printer has become a passion of his and he has even won a business model competition with the idea to use 3-D printing to design and manufacture cost effective glass frames.

“Not many people are able to see and touch a 3-D printer, so I think that this event is a great way to let people interact, see and feel what a 3-D printer is capable of. Russell Hill had reached out to me to showcase the 3-D printer at this event and I said I would love to do it,” Steinberg said.

Many other mechanical engineering students had various projects being shown at TechBytes. All of them had a sponsor from an established company to improve or create a device that the sponsor asked them to. From oscillating blenders and acoustic cameras to cold metal processing and weight pressure sensors for rehabilitation footwear, there was a variety of projects to interest participants and expand their knowledge on what mechanical engineering can entail.

“We wanted to have state-of-the-art technology here, which is why we have the VR. Everyone has a phone, so we also wanted to have some sort of representative for mobile technology, as well. And then the senior projects for mechanical engineering and electrical engineering [were] amazing,” Hill said.

He expressed how only the seniors working on the projects get to see each other’s projects, so this event definitely needed to showcase them too.

“We also wanted to throw some fun into it, so we threw in some Mario Kart, which [was] being played on the latest version of the Nintendo [the Nintendo Switch] so it’s state-of-the-art. We’re trying to keep it technologically fresh,” Hill said.