Elected Officials, Business Leaders Get Calit2@UCI Close-Up

By Anna Lynn Spitzer

Assemblyman Jose Solorio acknowledges the crowd after his introduction.

Irvine, Calif., 01.30.07 -- Calit2@UCI showed itself off last week, making an impression on some rather influential people.

Nearly 30 of Orange County ’s local, state and nationally elected officials, and more than 55 local business leaders attended a reception Jan. 25 in the Calit2 Building hosted by UCI Chancellor Michael Drake. During the event, four Calit2 labs opened their doors, demonstrating their research projects to the lawmakers and other guests.  

Attendees watched as sophisticated scanning electron microscopes in the Zeiss Center of Excellence examined minute cross-sections of nanoscale-sized material.

They met two roving robots equipped with a variety of sensors, and learned how those and other emergency response technologies developed by ResCUE/ResponSphere researchers can help save lives during crises by quickly getting the right information to the right people.

In the Visualization Lab, visitors saw huge datasets transformed into striking images on the HIPerWall. They also used a joystick to navigate through a pig’s blood vessel, and viewed a seamless, multi-projector display that produces a 3,000 x 2,000-pixel aligned and color-corrected image.

Guests (from left) viewed Evac-Bot, a roving sensor robot; played the EcoRaft game
to repopulate a barren landscape; and saw a multi-projector display that can produce images that are as sharp and colorful as a single projector. 

They repopulated a barren tropical island with tablet computers in the Interactive Animation Lab’s EcoRaft game, reconstructed dinosaur skeletons on the Web with DinoQuest Online, and watched embodied mobile agents migrate from computer to computer.

Guests appeared engrossed by the presentations and several expressed interest in returning to learn more about the institute.

The Walt Disney Co.’s Fred Salazar praised the demonstrations. “It was really worth taking the time to view everything,” he said.

Among the elected officials attending were State Senators Dick Ackerman (33rd district) and Lou Correa (34th district), State Assemblymen Jim Silva (67th district), Van Tran (68th district), Jose Solorio (69th district) and Mike Duvall (72nd district), Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach, and nearly 20 local mayors and city council members.

Jian-Guo Zheng demonstrates the Ultra 55 scanning electron microscope.

UCI was an event sponsor, as were five other Orange County companies and institutions.

Lucy Dunn, president of the Orange County Business Council, and Chancellor Drake addressed the crowed. Both extolled the importance of the university’s partnership with elected officials and the local business community. “Together we will create new frontiers of innovation and discovery, create jobs, build industries and secure a foundation of excellence for Orange County's future,” said Drake.