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The Junos are coming! And they're bringing opportunity with them

14 Project designer talks about the controversial pumphouse plans March 2014 SMART TAB The door to opportunity in Manitoba By Brenlee Coates

Technology Complex at the University of Manitoba. Desks are arranged with openness toward the room,


inviting interruptions or collaboration from other stu- dents. Tere is a shared work table, a cozy couch, and a projector they use for staging presentations – always seeking feedback and suggestions from their peers. But much of the time, they are coding. Tere are three labs that comprise the HCI Lab at the

U of M: two Human-Computer Interaction Labs, and one Human-Robot Interaction Lab, each supervised by a professor of the Department of Computer Science. Research projects are instigated by the students,

and vary greatly from developing software and more user-friendly computer interfaces, robotic innova- tions, and conducting studies on the perceptions of these technologies. One such project is a study on robots in a position

of authority. Te human subjects were asked to com- plete a menial and unappealing task, then prompted to move on to another, equally exasperating task. Te subjects were either instructed by a human in a lab coat, or the Nao robot, to proceed. Te study found that twelve out of fourteen people

completed the work for the human in charge, while approximately half saw the tasks through for the robot. While the study points to more reluctance to obey a

robot, the Nao robot in the study is a pretty unintimi- dating and small robot, with a youthful voice. Results could vary depending on the appearance or perceived dominance of the robot. Te students chose to test humans’ performance for

a robot because they can conceive of a future where robots may replace humans in certain jobs, as they are already being used in the military, hospitals, and elsewhere. Another project that was particularly impressive was

a project that recalled Spike Jonze’s recent futuristic film Her – or not-so-futuristic, as a little time in the HCI Lab conveyed. A fourth-year PhD student, Barrett Ens, has come up with a multi-screen, 3-D interface that functions as a touch screen projected in front of you. It can be shrunken down to a smaller, globe shape when on the move, or transformed to a fixed view on a wall  "Technology is so close to humans" page 12

tepping into the Human-Robot Interaction Lab is a bit like seeing a miniature Facebook office op- erating inside the Engineering and Information

Students create technology for the future at HCI Lab

Photo by Brenlee Coates Students in the HCI Lab used this autonomous humanoid robot, Nao, to test people's obedience with robots. City planning on the rise

Urban planning positions continue to increase and grow in importance By Tania Moffat


rban planners are crucial to the healthy development of our cit- ies and communities. With more

concentrated efforts on sustainability and the environmental effects of land use and population growth, their roles are becoming increasingly diversified and important. In Winnipeg, over the

last 40 years, we’ve consumed land at almost two-and-a-half times our rate of population growth – meaning that as a city, we are consuming valuable resources at our own expense. One way planners are working to

combat this problem is by collaborat- ing with teams of other professionals and developers to breathe new life into our downtown. Investment in our core has skyrocketed over the last several

years, and new developments are help- ing to increase our population density. Planners contribute to this process in numerous ways. Tey may be part of the planning process: writing or studying proposals, researching cause and effect, mediating, working with the commu- nity, and creating new bylaws or poli- cies for future development. Planners also address issues of sustainability, economics, housing, transportation,

infrastructure, and social and heritage concerns. Training and certification

The oldest planning program in

Canada remains active and is located right here in Winnipeg at the University of Manitoba. For over fifty years, the university has been educating students to work in urban planning by offering both planning theory and practice in the only accredited master’s program in the province. Entry to the planning profession

typically starts with the completion of a bachelor’s or master’s degree from an accredited planning program. Many planners who obtain their master’s de- gree in planning often hold undergrad-

 "Experience is key" page 6

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