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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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A&M brings chemistry road show, virtual reality to SXSW

At+last+years+SXSW%2C+Texas+A%26amp%3BM+Invents+for+an+Intelligent+Future+allowed+attendees+to+operate+robots+through+a+course+with+a+video+feed+to+their+goggles.
Photo by Via Texas A&M

At last year’s SXSW, Texas A&M Invents for an Intelligent Future allowed attendees to operate robots through a course with a video feed to their goggles.

Among the dozens of displays, interactive events and panels available to participants of South by Southwest last week, the Aggies stole the show with seven activations highlighting work from across the university.
South by Southwest is a globally recognized festival which draws together interactive, film and music industries, attracting tens of thousands each year. This year Texas A&M took over the Hotel Van Zandt, filling it with displays such as a chemistry road show, a virtual reality display combining art with technology and an Aggies Invent competition.
Amy B. Smith, senior vice president and chief marketing and communications officer at Texas A&M, said she felt A&M’s mission at South By Southwest was successful.
“A definite yes on building awareness and enhancing reputation by showcasing student and faculty work in a very futuristic manner,” Smith said. “Time will tell on our third goal: To grow the number of Fortune 500 companies hiring our students. There were many companies present who saw our exhibits and feedback was tremendous.”
Marco Palma, associate professor and extension economist with the Human Behavior Laboratory, and Steven Woltering, assistant professor and Director of the Neurobiological Lab for Learning and Development, were two of the members of a four-member group called “The human lab: Revealing the emotional brain,” which demonstrated how they connect brainwaves and track eye movement and facial expressions to determine a person’s choices.
Woltering said each of the members of the panel emphasized the possible application of biometrics in different fields.
“My presentation aimed to show how biometrics can revolutionize the field of education in the future,” Woltering said. “I wanted the audience to know about a new initiative at the College of Education called the Neurobiological lab for Learning and Development (NLD) which aims to bridge recent advances in neurobiology and apply them in an educational context.”
Palma said he was excited to see the variety of events A&M at South by Southwest and enjoyed the experience of participating.
“It was great to have the opportunity to share our vision for the Human Behavior Laboratory,” Palma said. “We hope to be able to engage with faculty and students interested in using this technology in their research and outreach efforts.”
Smith said she hopes to eventually bring A&M back to South by Southwest.
“It makes sense to go back,” Smith said. “The event is global but based nearby. It is attended by corporations who hire our students, media who can spread the word about what we do, venture capital investors and government agencies who provide grants.”
Smith said A&M’s participation in South by Southwest is part of a bigger picture.
“This is about telling the story of the amazing things that Texas A&M students and faculty do,” Smith said. “SXSW participation was just a small step. There is more to come — born in the minds of scholars who may be reading this now and who will be featured next year.”

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