St. Paul’s Visit to Project54

On May 20th St. Paul’s Artificial Intelligence group arrived to the lab for their bi annual visit and P54 demonstration.  Terry Wardrop teaches an Artificial Intelligence class as part of an Advanced Studies Program (ASP) at St. Paul’s and has been visiting twice a year bringing his students and then his summer camp students to the lab for many years now.   He is very well versed on the project and has been a witness to the growth and development of P54 over the years.

Ross Lenharth, who manages the coordination and deployment of P54 throughout the state, did a great job demonstrating the P54 system to the students.  It was a small but very engaging group of 9 students, who were not shy about asking questions or participating hands-on with the system.

Project54 system demonstration

Zeljko Medenica, a research graduate student, had set the driving simulator up for a distracted driving experiment that he developed and will soon be running. The experiment consisted of an iPod mounted to the dash of simulator.  While driving the simulator Zeljko asked the student to locate and select a specific song on the iPod. The experiment was for demonstration purposes only, no data was being collected but it gave the students an example of the types of experiments we can run and also the type of data we can gather from our experiments. The other students were quickly able to see the drop in driving performance that distraction caused when their classmate shifted focus from the road to the task of locating the song.  The purpose of having the students engage in a mock experiment was two fold.

First, the students were able to experience first hand what it is like to be a participant in a research experiment.  Second, and more importantly they could witness the distraction caused from engaging in the use of a device while operating a vehicle. Hopefully seeing the effects caused by distraction will lead them to making a choice not to use devices while driving or making safer choices such as setting their iPod to shuffle before driving.

As always we enjoyed hosting Terry’s group and look forward to their next visit by the summer group!

~Erika

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