In 2014, Ideum designed and built a custom 38″ ultra-wide screen multitouch display with an LG stretch monitor. These reading rail displays were originally developed for the Field Museum in Chicago, which has 80 displays in various places throughout the museum. We’ve also used these unique touch displays for creative projects with Mystic Seaport, Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, Milwaukee Public Museum, Lowell Observatory, and others. Now that the 38″ LG monitor we used in our reading rail system has reached end of life, we’ve created a new 34″ model with improved 3440 x 1440 resolution. On a 34″ display, this near 4K UHD resolution is phenomenal and provides a retina-like visual quality.
Ideum’s new 34″ successor to the original wide-screen display has a bevel-less design, an all-aluminum case, and supports up to 40 touch points. We are using the 34″ model for a project with the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery that will debut this fall. Its unique widescreen format and small footprint is a great fit for the exhibition. For this interactive exhibit, we are collaborating with the National Portrait Gallery on software development and the design of custom kiosks that integrate the new 34″ display.
In the meantime, Ideum will be offering these 34″ ultra-wide displays for purchase. Please contact our Sales group for more information. We will be sharing more details about our exciting project with the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery closer to the opening of the exhibit.
Looking down the page, it seems I haven’t posted here on the ol’ blog in nearly three years. Not coincidentally, that’s about when I started work on the initiative I’m pleased to announce today. It was in the fall of 2014 that I first engaged in conversations with my UConn colleagues (especially Clarissa Ceglio, Greg Colati, and Sara Sikes, but lots of other brilliant folks as well) and program officers at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation about the notion of a “scholarly communications design studio” that would bring humanist scholars into full, equal, and meaningful collaboration with artists, technologists, and librarians. Drawing on past experiences at RRCHNM, especially One Week | One Tool, this new style digital humanities center would put collaboration at the center of its work by moving collaboration upstream in the research and publication workflow. It would bring designers, developers, archivists, editors, students, and others together with humanist faculty members and at the very outset of a project, not simply to implement a work but to imagine it. In doing so, it would challenge and level persistent hierarchies in academic labor, challenge notions of authorship, decenter the faculty member as the source of intellectual work, and bring a divergence of thought and action to the design of scholarly communication.
A planning grant from Mellon in 2015 allowed us to explore these ideas in greater depth. We explored models of collaboration and project design in fields as disparate as industrial design, engineering, theater, and (of course) libraries and digital humanities. We solicited “mental models” of good project design from diverse categories of academic labor including students, faculty members, archivists, artists, designers, developers, and editors. We visited colleagues around the country both inside and outside the university to learn what made for successful and not-so-successful collaboration.
The result of this work was a second proposal to Mellon and, ultimately, the launch this week of Greenhouse Studios | Scholarly Communications Design at the University of Connecticut. Starting this year with our first cohort of projects, we will be pioneering a new, inquiry-driven, collaboration-first model of scholarly production that puts team members and questions at the center of research and publication rather than the interests of a particular faculty member or other individual. Teams will be brought together to develop answers to prompts generated and issued internally by Greenhouse Studios. Through a facilitated design process, whole teams will decide the audience, content, and form of Greenhouse Studios projects, not based on any external expectations or demands, but according to their available skills and resources, bounded by the constraints they identify, and in keeping with team member interests and career goals.
Stay tuned to see what these teams produce. In the meantime, after three long years of getting up and running, I plan to be posting more frequently in this space, from my new academic home base, Greenhouse Studios.
Hardware solutions are rarely one size fits all. The benefit of having an industrial design studio is that we are able to generate custom solutions for all types of hardware configurations to fit our clients’ needs. One of the things that makes Ideum unique is our capacity to customize both hardware and software to meet almost any demand.
The Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) approached us late last year for custom stands and secure enclosures to house iPads and 3M 32” touch screens. Of primary concern to AIC was that the profile was thin and that the design for the stands avoided protruding, visible hardware. Baseplates needed to be small, for ADA compliance. Magnetic cover plates were also required, to hide the securement bolts that hold the stands in place. The result is a fully encapsulated iPad enclosure, and extruded metal casing for the 32” display. The prototypes were first machined in aluminum and extruded metal, respectively, and test-fitted in house before being approved. The final models went through the same stages, but were then powder coated.
Our prototyping process always begins with the client. Understanding the space and the needs of the visitor impacts design. A critical component of our process is our collaboration with each organization to arrive at the best solution for their site and their patrons. Below are photos of the prototyping stages and the finished products:
On Tuesday, February 21, 2017, Ideum was recognized at both an international trade conference and the Sandoval Economic Alliance (SEA) quarterly luncheon.
New Mexico Senator Tom Udall sponsored Growing New Mexico’s Economy—Exporting to Global Markets, an international trade conference. Ideum CEO and Founder Jim Spadaccini was included as a panel speaker on the discussion of successful exporters. He also accepted, on Ideum’s behalf, an Export Achievement Award presented by the United States Department of Commerce. Ideum has sold to 38 countries – covering all continents except Antarctica. Our products are sold directly to international customers from our studios in Corrales, New Mexico without exclusive distributor or partner relationships. Recently, we’ve updated our international pricing, please contact our sales group for a current price list.
Ideum Producer Cyndi Wood accepted an award at a luncheon hosted by the Sandoval Economic Alliance. Ideum was recognized as the “2016 Business of the Year” in Sandoval County. We definitely had a busy and productive 2016! Check out our Year in Review video which showed at the SEA event.
Last week I had the unenviable task of culling the life of my mother-in-law, aged 81. In some ways I was the perfect person for this task, because in my sister-in-law’s garage there were 32 banker’s boxes of files that needed to be sorted through in just under 72 hours, because we were relocating her from Colorado to Virginia on short notice. Who better than a historian to do the work of pulling the significant items out and saving them?
Because she was the keeper of the family history, several of those boxes were filled with scrapbooks, photographs dating back to at least 1870, documents from a relative’s Civil War service in the Army of Northern Virginia, hundreds of more recent snapshots, an edited set of letters sent home from the American campaign in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy in 1943-44, a series of photographs from my mother-in-laws years as a student at Sweet Briar College in the mid-1950s, and love letters exchanged with her second husband (to whom she was married for more than 30 years).
Plenty of the documents were easy to identity, but almost all of those easily identified were texts. The photos, not so much. Some had scrawled notes on the back, but most did not. I would ask my mother-in-law, but she has dementia and has a difficult enough time remembering me, much less who is who in a photograph that is more than 100 years old.
My wife was at least a little help. She could identify her grandfather in this photograph from his undergraduate years at the University of Virginia. I happen to know a little bit about his life, but almost all of it in the last two decades before he died. I do know he attended UVa and went on to the Harvard Medical School. After that he returned to his native Lynchburg, Virginia, where he practiced medicine until he retired. And I can pick him out in this photograph, because he looks so much like my brother-in-law. But beyond identifying him and knowing that this was an undergraduate fraternity of some sort, I don’t have a clue about anything else in the image.
And so I’m left to cull her life down to one banker’s box of texts and images, most of them identified, but many not. The rest, well, they’ve entered the dustbin of history. In the end I’m left wondering if it is easier or more difficult to cull the record of someone’s life when you are a historian.
Today, anyway, it feels a lot more difficult.
Our Tangible Engine software package allows for the recognition of 3D printed conductive objects on the surface of our multitouch tables. Tangible Engine is compatible with our touch table models that are integrated with 43″, 49″, 55″ and 65″ 4K Ultra HD displays. What makes our object recognition system unique is that it works with the 3M projected capacitive touch technology featured in our products. Therefore, unlike other touch systems, it is non-optical which means that it doesn’t require the use cameras or other optical sensors.
And now, Tangible Engine supports object recognition on multiple displays! We’ve been testing Tangible Engine on a four 55″ Platform multitouch table configuration as seen in the video below.
Tangible Engine is a proprietary software system that works with Ideum touch tables and displays. It is available for purchase with our products or can be acquired for free, at the time of sale, with a multiple table unit purchase. Contact our sales group for more information or visit the Tangible Engine website to learn more.
We’ve recently expanded by adding a dedicated Industrial Design space as our company increasingly focuses more on custom design while continuing to improve our line of multitouch tables and touch walls. With so much design activity going on, our new Industrial Design Atelier, at 1,200 square feet, is a modest but welcome addition to our 20,000 square foot of studio space. Final design work on our next generation of Colossus 86″ mutltiouch tables and our new Console Touch Desk are our first order of business. Concurrently, we have custom design work underway for a number of clients (some custom work still occurs in our more spacious Usability and Prototyping Lab). Ideum’s Creative Services group is unique in that we can design both custom software and custom hardware for our clients.
Below are photos of the new Industrial Design Atelier:
(i) The holist might say: if I have degree of belief k in AA, then I will have degree of belief k in each conjunct. Problem: that violates the axioms of the probability calculus (unless k=1).
(ii) Alternatively, if the holist wants to obey the axioms of the probability calculus, then the rational degree of belief she will need to have in each conjunct must be VERY high. For example, if the degree of belief in AA is over 0.5, and each conjunct is assigned the same value (per (2)), and there are 100 individual conjuncts, then one’s degree of belief in each conjunct must be over 0.993. And that seems really high to me.
(iii) One alternative to that would be to say that each conjunct of a large conjunction has to be over 0.5. But then you would have to say that the big 100-conjunct conjunction is justified when your rational degree of belief in it is anything above 7.9x10-31. And that doesn’t sound like a justified sentence.
“Our students come first.”
That’s what it says on page five of George Mason University’s Strategic Plan. As one of the authors of that document back in 2014, I’m always happy when this simple sentence is deployed to explain a new policy or rule. And I’m equally unhappy when we, too often in my view, make rules and policies that are grounded in the revenue needs of our various academic units rather than what’s good for our students.
Because the internal contest for revenue that drives so much of our decision making makes me crazy, it’s useful to be reminded, by students, that they come first. They are under such pressure and face so many problems–excessive debt, an unpredictable job market, political disunity at home, a looming climate disaster everywhere. We owe them more than just an excellent course. What we do as educators transcends the syllabus.
And it’s good to be reminded, by students, that it’s not all about me.
Those who know me know that I’m a person of very strong political opinions and that I’m very passionate, and sometimes even a little intolerant (if I’m honest), on certain issues relating to individual rights, climate change, and the twinned issues of equity in access, not just in higher education, but in our society generally.
My students will tell you, I hope, that I also keep all of those opinions to myself in the classroom. This is an issue with lots of strong feelings on both sides — professors shouldn’t be afraid to express their political and social views in class/professors should keep those views to themselves. I get why some of my colleagues bring their views into the classroom and I don’t condemn them for that. I just don’t teach that way. That’s just me.
But I still have those strong opinions and the events of the past 12 months have just made me even more committed to what I believe.
When one of my former students came to see me back in late November to ask for letters of recommendation for graduate school, I asked the obvious question: “What have you been doing since you graduated two years ago?” As it turns out, he had been very engaged in the recent election, working for a congressional candidate who I had really, really hoped would lose (she didn’t). A part of me wanted to scream, “How could you possibly work for someone like her?”
Fortunately, I remembered, it’s not all about me.
So, I wrote him glowing letters — he was, after all, an excellent student and a nice person — and I’m happy to say he was admitted to several excellent graduate programs.
Just today I received a phone call from the executive director of a local NGO seeking a reference on a former student — one of my favorite students of the past several years. She began the call by explaining the mission of her organization and it was clear immediately that their goals and beliefs are antithetical to mine. Really antithetical. A part of me wanted to call my student right away and scream, “How could you possibly work for such an organization?”
Fortunately, I remembered, it’s not all about me.
So, I gave her the excellent recommendation she deserved — she is, after all, a wonderful person and was one of the best students I’ve taught in the past several years. I suspect, given the tenor of the call, that she’s their first choice and I hope she gets the job.
These two students have done exactly what we hope our students will do. Get a good education, and then apply what they’ve learned to launch themselves onto career paths that they’ve chosen for themselves. In short, the system worked. I’m proud of them both, even if I might wish they had political or social views aligned with mine.
As we head into tomorrow’s change of presidential administrations, I’m going to try hard to remember the lessons I’ve learned from these students, namely, that just because I disagree with your position on issues I care passionately about, the odds are really good that you are a fine person, doing the right thing according to your own lights. We just don’t agree.
If we can all remember that it’s about all of us, then maybe, just maybe, it won’t be quite as I fear it will be. And so, on his last day in office, I’ll let President Obama have the last word:
“Sometimes I get mad and frustrated like everybody else does, but at my core, I think we’re going to be OK.”