Explore the inventive work being created by Virginia Tech faculty and students and join discussions with some of the nation’s leading innovators during ICAT Creativity + Innovation Day. Presented by the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology, join the online immersive experience on Monday, May 3.

With the theme “Bridging Physical Distance,” the event highlights innovative technologies and creative solutions that help connect people across distances. Since its inception, ICAT has supported work that creatively links individuals and groups from separate locations. Now the current socially distanced reality is helping propel this innovation forward.

Powered by advanced technology and networks of creative people, ICAT helps create immersive connections that make virtual shared arts experiences possible and support opportunities for teachers and students of all ages that span distances and learning environments.

Real-time streaming discussions

The day includes virtual discussions with some of the nation’s leading innovators and opportunities to submit questions live. The keynote speaker session from 10-10:50 a.m. features Domhnaill Hernon, a member of the ICAT advisory board and an award-winning technology, innovation, and creativity executive at Bell Labs. Hernon explores the ways humanity is at the center of the hybrid world. While the COVID pandemic has shown how technology has the potential to both unite and divide, Hernon will discuss how combining engineering and the sciences with the arts and humanities will bridge the distance between people.

Hernon recently founded a new initiative to fuse art and engineering/science to develop solutions that humanize technology. His work has been featured in Wired Magazine, Times Square, SXSW, Ars Electronica, TEDx, and Inspirefest. He advises innovation and cultural programs globally.

A panel discussion from 11:30 a.m.-12:20 p.m. will feature creativity and innovation thought leaders sharing their thoughts about ICAT Creativity + Innovation Day projects, as well as the intellectual, intuitive, economic, creative, and ethical forces that are shaping the future. Moderated by Phyllis Newbill, ICAT outreach and engagement coordinator, the panel includes Hernon, along with fellow ICAT Advisory Board members Patricia Bou, co-director of CannonDesign’s Education Market; Andrew Kim, manager, Steelcase Workspace Futures Group; and Ben Congleton, Silicon Valley CEO, Olark.

A second moderated panel discussion from 1-1:50 p.m. brings together creators and innovators of select exemplary ICAT Creativity + Innovation Day projects to discuss their creative processes.

Watch all the discussions and submit questions on ICAT Live.

"ICAT: Open (at the) Source" exhibition

Giving users the opportunity to explore innovative ICAT projects, “ICAT: Open (at the) Source” is available to experience both in-person at the Moss Arts Center and virtually. Also incorporating the theme “Bridging Physical Distance,” the exhibition is presented online using Virtual Sculpture Garden, an ICAT-supported virtual reality environment created to display 3D artworks by Virginia Tech and New River Valley community members. Visit Virtual Sculpture Garden to explore the following projects:  

ARCritique is a mobile augmented reality application that helps connect remote instructors and students. Collaborative critique around physical mockups is an essential activity in many disciplines, such as industrial design, and transitioning to an online process poses many challenges for this type of critique session. ARCritique allows users to scan physical mockups and share the resulting 3D models. They can then view the models simultaneously in a shared virtual environment from remote physical locations and point to and draw on the models to aid communication.

As COVID restrictions are relaxed, group activities in schools and workplaces will adapt to a new reality, and new technologies, especially extended reality (XR), could potentially transform all aspects of education and training. The team for this project is developing XR infrastructure and tools to support library activities while enhancing university connections to learning communities throughout the state, focusing specifically on educator professional development and adoption of new technologies in STEM education.

Connecting kindergarten students with women researchers, Girls Launch! is an in-school program started in 2017 by a graduate student working with Virginia Tech’s Center for Communicating Science and the Department of Psychology’s iLEAP Lab. Interrupted by the pandemic, the program was reimagined, supporting 10 graduate women’s work to create short, kindergarten-friendly videos related to their research. Having a library of videos publicly available online has helped extend the reach of the program.

In addition to the virtual exhibition, “ICAT: Open (at the) Source” projects are currently on view in the Moss Arts Center’s Francis T. Eck Exhibition Corridor on Wednesday-Friday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. through Saturday, May 15, 2021. Masks are required and social distancing guidelines should be followed in all gallery spaces. The center’s exhibitions and all related events are always free and open to the public.

Projects showcasing the university’s creativity and innovation

Through coursework and research projects, Virginia Tech students and faculty have explored their own creative ideas. Explore projects that are connecting people across distance, through human-computer interaction, sound installations, visual arts, built environments, machine learning, and reaching across space and culture.

Computer music performance

On Tuesday, May 4, at 6 p.m., join the School of Performing Arts' Creative Technologies in Music and Digital Interactive Sound and Intermedia Studio (DISIS) for a concert of experimental computer music, presented in collaboration with ICAT.

All ICAT Creativity + Innovation Day events, including the virtual discussions and “ICAT: Open (at the) Source” projects, can be accessed from a central online location.