• WisBusiness

Monday, June 18, 2012

 12:51 PM 

State pavilion features advanced 'tele-presence' technology

By Mike Flaherty

BOSTON -- Wisconsin's presence at the world BIO International this year will have a "tele-presence" that could ultimately bring up to 48 people from around the world at one time to visit Wisconsin's small pavilion on the crowded floor of the world gathering of biotechnology leaders.

The "presence" is new teleconferencing technology on loan from Cisco Systems that provides the pavilion with a conferencing kiosk where potential partners and researchers can meet with companies and researchers in Wisconsin without leaving the state.

The Cisco "TelePresence" System will bring full-sized images of people into a conferencing booth at the pavilion.

"It's such high quality that it gives you the illusion that you're sitting across from that person," said Zack Robbins, the associate director of development for the Morgridge Institute for Research, who worked with Cisco to lend the equipment and the support needed to make it work.

The Cisco "TelePresence" system will be linked to a second unit outside the booth so that companies in Wisconsin can make near-real-life presentations on the floor of the pavilion without the expense of having to travel to Boston, he said. The technology is so advanced that it can link 48 units simultaneously with the cameras automatically switching to the person who is speaking.

"We already have one at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery and one in the new education building on campus. Eventually we'll be also be linking up the state's technical colleges as well. This will enable companies around the state -- especially small start ups -- to offer presentations of their products and ideas around the world in real time, life-size images," Robbins said.

The Wisconsin pavilion on the huge Boston trade center floor will also be "paperless."

It will feature two iPads that visitors will use to sign in and ask questions. To help attract visitors, the pavilion features two video games developed by researchers at the Morgridge Institute.

One is a game called Virulent, a game in which players pose as viruses attacking a cell, attempting to overcome the cell's natural defenses, said Robbins, noting that the game teaches players how viruses spread and infect people.

The other is called "Progenitor X," a role-playing game which requires the players to develop stem cell therapies to stem the threat of a disease plaguing the Earth, he said, noting that the game teaches how stem cells function. "They're very cool," Robbins said.

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