By Terri M. Bernhardt

Once again, Team Orlando participated in the Orlando Science Center’s Otronicon event. Otronicon is a four-day technology experience and is one of the largest events of the year for the Orlando Science Center. Team Orlando’s participation demonstrates their ongoing collaborative outreach efforts in the Greater Orlando area.

Dr. Peter Smith, University of Central Florida and Serious Games Showcase & Challenge IPT Committee, shows students how to play and learn at the same time. (Photo credit:  Gelderland Productions)

Dr. Peter Smith, University of Central Florida and Serious Games Showcase & Challenge IPT Committee, shows students how to play and learn at the same time. (Photo by Gelderland Productions)

Team Orlando showcased an array of finalist games from the 2013 Serious Games Showcase & Challenge. By visiting Team Orlando’s SGS&C exhibit, game designers, students, educators and/or technology professionals had the opportunity to relate to how video game technology can enhance training or teaching.

On the main floor of the Science Center, the RDECOM-ARL and UCF booth displayed past and current research efforts in Human Robot Interaction (HRI). This exhibit had a large 46-inch monitor display demonstrating HRI interfaces for gesture recognition with a wireless glove to control the Big Dog platform developed by Boston Dynamics. In addition to the main exhibit, smaller monitors displayed videos of ARL-funded STEM activities such as the UCF Robotics Club which demonstrated integration with teams of Soldiers. Lastly, the JRM Bot was displayed, which is a small mobile robot to show tracking depth and skeletal movement capabilities. The LIDAR sensor data was also visually displayed to showcase how a robot uses several sensors to perceive the environment it is operating in.

PM TRASYS sharing simulation with immersed, young learners.  (Photo credit:  Roberto Gonzalez)

PM TRASYS sharing simulation with immersed, young learners. (Photo by Roberto Gonzalez)

Also on the main floor, PM TRASYS showed their latest program called Defend the Forward Operating Base (FOB) which features two Marine Fire Team elements conducting fixed-site security. At the rear of the booth, two 40-inch, high definition televisions displayed a continuously looped PM TRASYS video showing actual simulation training, as well as PM TRASYS program descriptions and more detailed information.

Overall, Team Orlando’s participation in Otronicon was highly beneficial. They were able to demonstrate their excellence in learning-through-gaming to a different captive audience, and show why Team Orlando is referred to as the Modeling & Simulation Capital of the World.