[ECAR Summer 2008] Bob Franza


Seattle Science Foundation – to nurture networks of experts. They have an 18k sq. ft. facility in Seattle, but if they buid more bricks in the future they will have failed. Working in virtual environments (second life) – not games.

Using the virtual environment to solve real problems of distributed teams, not just as a neat technology.

CareCyte – why should workflow and health care be foreign concepts to each other? If you were going to redesign a health service facility, what would you build? Rethought the design – ultra-fast design, manufacture, assembly, near-laminar airflows, all internal walls are furniture that can be reconfigured easily, etc. Rendered the facility in about 2.5 days in second life, and can show people the ideas and design in an engaging way that can’t be accomplished with drawing and static images. Have to not use the technology in ways that replicate existing activities (e.g. giving lectures).

“Recruiters will look at somebody with a World of Warcraft score of 70 or above as CEO material.”

Doesn’t like the term “virtual” – has negative semantics around it, including accountability. Prefers the term “immersive”.

Bob talks about the ability to become things you aren’t in the environment, whether that’s a molecule to better understand how physics work or seeing what it’s like to be in a wheelchair or changing gender.

He’s asked what the implications of immersive environments are for university enterprises.

They’re looking at the undergraduate health sciences curriculum – can’t find anatomy profs anymore. Can’t supply cadavers for education – why do you need them? The curriculum is the same worldwide – you’ve got buildings on campuses with students coming in and getting bored. What does it cost to heat, cool, and illuminate those buildings? We have brought no imagination to these challenges. We have to look at the cost of operations. What is the cost of distributing rolls of toilet paper into thousands of classroom buildings?

All of the retired faculty could be participating in these immersive environments to bring education to many more people.

Macro nodes – very large data centers sitting next to hydroelectic generating stations. Biological scientists haven’t figured this out to the extent that astro and physicists have with things like the Hubble – collaborate to create resource.

Have to stop thinkign about physical space as the basis of anything except for those things that absolutely require it.

We have no technology excuses – the fundamental issue is will. Oil prices will drive that will.

We have to stop asking students to do pattern recognition. The way we’ve been evaluating students doesn’t have anything to do with the challenges they will face. But if they have to get along with a group of others to actually accomplish something, that will translate.

Bob invites people to contact him and work with them in Second Life.

One thought on “[ECAR Summer 2008] Bob Franza”

  1. I’ve worked with some anatomy professors here at UW. Let me know when there are high-quality 3d human anatomy models that are correct at the vascular level and then it might be worth pursuing. I don’t want doctors learning anatomy on some artist’s idea of how the heart looks no matter how beautiful it looks in Second Life–I want them to learn about real human hearts via bodies donated to science.

    For simple 2d slices… we’ve been doing this for 20 years:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s