BCNM Around the Web May 2020

14 May, 2020

BCNM Around the Web May 2020

Here's the recap of what our amazing BCNM community has been up to from the web this past month!

BCNM Professor Bjoern Hartmann was interviewed by UC Berkeley's student newspaper for his insights on a local Kaiser Permanente carpentry shop's face shield production efforts.

From The Daily Californian article:

Those who want to help make face shields should observe the National Institutes of Health’s reviewed and recommended designs, according to UC Berkeley electrical engineering and computer sciences associate professor Björn Hartmann.

“Local fabrication efforts such as the ones by Kaiser and by UC Berkeley are a valuable way to help address shortages in PPE until mass production of these items can catch up to the demand,” Hartmann said in an email. “While manual fabrication and printing of PPE can’t match the scale of industrial manufacturing, we’ve seen that local makers can quickly have meaningful impact when traditional supply chains are not working.”

Read the entirety of the piece here.

Amidst coronavirus concerns, people are seeking BCNM Professor Ken Goldberg's expertise to figure out how robots can can assist humans during this global pandemic. RoboHub highlights a few of his works, projects and commentary.

In an article about COVID-19 robotics resources:

Science Robotics has a useful commentary highlighting ways in which roboticists can help, written by some of the top brass in the field (Guang-Zhong Yang, Bradley J. Nelson, Robin R. Murphy, Howie Choset, Henrik Christensen, Steven H. Collins, Paolo Dario, Ken Goldberg, Koji Ikuta, Neil Jacobstein, Danica Kragic, Russell H. Taylor, Marcia McNutt). The four areas highlighted are clinical care (telemedicine and decontamination), logistics (delivery and handling of contaminated waste), reconnaissance (monitoring compliance with voluntary quarantines), and continuity of work and maintenance of socioeconomic functions (manufacturing).

To view the entire list of resources, click here.

In an article about food robotics:

Ken explained the reasoning behind one of his latest projects, AlphaGarden. [...] "This is an ongoing project but the end goal is to be able to learn a policy for successful gardening because polyculture is much more labor intensive than monoculture. The reason that I call it an art project is because it’s extremely difficult for AI and robotics. It’s a big challenge. I’m not at all convinced we’re actually going to succeed. We’re really putting AI to the test."

Learn more about other food service tech here.

Alum Jane McGonigal appeared in numerous articles and lectures that centered on her game design scholarship. Not only was she a keynote speaker in IBM's Think Digital Experience (registration required to view), she also offered her knowledge on video games to various outlets.

McGonigal was interviewed by The Philadelphia Inquirer — a local paper from her hometown — to discuss how gamers are using 'The Sims' as an escape from the COVID-19 pandemic:

Gaming, she said, “is an incredible act of self-care right now.”

That’s because they give players a sense of agency at a time when most people don’t have any, said McGonigal, who grew up in Moorestown. “And we’re looking for a way to, I guess, keep that part of our brain, and that part of our soul active, where we can make decisions, we can take actions, and we can see the outcome of our choices in the world around us. In this case, in a virtual world.”

Check out 'The Sims' feature here.

The Daily Maverick focuses on how video games can change lives for the better, drawing on her 2010 TED Talk. Take a glance at the rest of the commentary here.

Santa Cruz Sentinel's opinion columnist, Rachel Kippen, recounts her experience at McGonigal's lecture in San Francisco a few years ago. It radically shifted her view on technology, seeing the Internet as a portal to free resources and community knowledge.

From the column:

This memory feels revelatory today for a few reasons: Firstly, I miss the fact that I used to be able to play Thumb War so recklessly without an arsenal of latex gloves and hand sanitizer. Secondly, McGonigal illustrated our ability as humans to form bonds and “gamify” a shared experience, both instantaneously and amongst complete strangers. McGonigal describes gamers as possessing the common personality trait of seeking solutions to problems and achieving “epic wins."

Get the main takeaways from McGonigal's talk here.

Furthermore, Forbes recommended SuperBetter Labs — which McGonigal is CCO of — as a way to set self-care goals for yourself throughout the day. Read the rest of the Forbes mental wellness article here.

Various art magazines recognized works and exhibitions including alum Trevor Paglen.

New City Art selected DePaul Art Museum's "The World to Come: Art in the Age of the Anthropocene," which features Paglen's work, as one of its top five art shows for the month. The Art Newspaper also noted Paglen's "Sites Unseen" at the Smithsonian was the fourth most visited contemporary art exhibition in 2019. Additionally, ArtNet's editors recommended Paglen and collaborator Kate Crawford's Instagram Live conversation as a must-watch.

ArtNet and The National underscored the Sharjah Art Foundation's "Art in the Age of Anxiety" exhibition, despite being closed to the public. Paglen's surveillance-based aerial photographs were curated for this March Show.

From The National:

Like many of the artists in the exhibition, Paglen is fond of bait-and-switch: showing what appears to be an innocuous image – of clouds, landscape, water – but that is, in fact, the site of past violence or hidden political dealings.

Read the features from ArtNet and The National.

Alum Bo Ruberg's book, Video Games Have Always Been Queer, was spotlighted in Daily Dot's call to play more games during the pandemic.

From the piece:

Ruberg argues in Video Games Have Always Been Queer that the act of play and the deeply intimate relationship players build with games is fundamentally queer in nature. Because play is an opportunity for us to learn more about ourselves and experiment with behavior deemed otherwise unacceptable, it lets us safely explore feelings, desires, and needs we wouldn’t be able to in the real world. There’s a long legacy of this in queer spaces, be it through role-playing, drag, kink, or creative subcultures like the furry community, and Ruberg extends this history to gaming in its entirety. To play is to queer.

View the rest of the article here.