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Blueprints are no longer tucked away in tubes for a meeting next week. In today’s hyper-connected world, plans are shared and updated on the go.
“Everyone’s constantly communicating — architects, engineers, contractors,” says Gene Aquilini, glazier instructor with SAIT’s School of Construction.
“When we run into difficulties or need changes made, tradespeople can’t say: ‘Leave a message on my cellphone and I’ll get back to you in three days.’ WE’RE TALKING REAL-TIME REVISIONS, ON THE FLY.”
As part of a collaboration between the School’s glazier program and its IT department, and with guidance from Aquilini and fellow glazier instructor Brian Risbey, a giant touchscreen tablet has been created by applying Telematics Canada’s DISPLAX Skin Ultra technology to a 50-inch 4K television.
This interactive, multi-touchpoint Glazier apprentice student Mike Hynek (left) and glazier instructors Brian Risbey (centre) and Gene Aquilini at the front of the classroom where high-tech smart glass is changing the way students learn to read blueprints.piece of vision display glass — funded through SAIT’s ’88 Legacy Fund — has become a focal point in the classroom. Students use it to read and interpret blueprints, and they can also catch a peek at a product they’ll need to be familiar with once they enter the workforce.
“With smart glass, this TV is really no different than an iPad or a tablet. It’s an app-activated touchscreen. We’ll bring up blueprints and spin, expand, flip the page,” says Hynek, a fourth-year SAIT glazier apprentice student. “By using this flatscreen, it allows all of us to get on the same page a little easier.”
On the Canadian post-secondary campus scene, “SAIT and BCIT (British Columbia Institute of Technology) are the only schools I know of using this advanced technology,” says Aquilini.
In addition to collaborative learning scenarios on campus, this interactive display wall technology also has massive potential commercial and retail applications.
In Calgary, smart glass technology has already arrived — with illuminated interactive glass display walls coming alive at car dealerships, movie cinemas, and residential development offices.
“Imagine Times Square in New York, with its digital advertising billboards,” says Hynek. “Now, picture the entire side of a glass building with interfaced advertising. That’s what’s coming — probably within 20 years.”
And that goes for the educational stratosphere, too, notes Aquilini. “We could sheet our students’ desks with glass, with a vision wall that could be operated back and forth between students and their instructor,” he says. “It could also be interactive between two classrooms. The sky’s the limit, really.”
Text by Todd Kimberley | Photo by Trudie Lee