If you touch the surface of a pool of water, ripples emanate outward from the disturbance. The same thing happens when you hold up your hand in front of the screen of interactive equipment developed at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Ohio-based Science Kinetics has recently licensed the software on the technology from the UWM Research Foundation, which manages the university’s intellectual property.
The equipment’s creator, Tom Hansen, is an information processing consultant and doctoral candidate in UWM’s School of Freshwater Sciences. He developed the system, which debuted at the Milwaukee Maker Faire last year, as a tool to educate the public about complex fluid interactions.
“Computer models of flows are already commonly used in multiple fields like oceanography, engineering, biology and medicine,” Hansen says. “But these are very complex systems and users usually have to undergo extensive training and have intimate knowledge of the mathematics and physics to understand it.”
Hansen’s fluid dynamics exhibit makes user interaction dramatically easier. It consists of a projector, webcam and customized software, equipment teachers can easily use to teach about both fluid and air flow in various disciplines.
Science Kinetics, an interactive exhibit company, will offer Hansen’s technology for use in classrooms, museums and other public settings.
“We are pleased to add this exciting new technology to our offerings,” says Jeff Shapiro at Science Kinetics.
The UWM Research Foundation, a nonprofit corporation that supports UWM research, innovation and entrepreneurship, has been helping Hansen throughout the commercialization process.