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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Inventor to speak via teleport at Centennial tonight

    Inventor Ray Kurzweil gives a lecture by teleportation in December. Appearing three-dimensionally as if in person, Kurzweil will be brought into Centennial Hall tonight at 7 as he delivers a lecture from Wellesley, Mass. about improving information technology as the final part of the Edges of Life lecture series.
    Inventor Ray Kurzweil gives a lecture by teleportation in December. Appearing three-dimensionally as if in person, Kurzweil will be brought into Centennial Hall tonight at 7 as he delivers a lecture from Wellesley, Mass. about improving information technology as the final part of the Edges of Life lecture series.

    Inventor Ray Kurzweil will give a lecture via teleportation tonight at 7 in Centennial Hall.

    As Kurzweil speaks from his office in Wellesley, Mass., his image will appear standing in three dimensions behind a wooden podium, with a standard Centennial Hall background behind him.

    “”It’s much more effective than standard video conferencing – it doesn’t look like he’s beaming in from another conference room,”” said Nanda Barker-Hook, communications manager for Kurzweil Technologies, Inc.

    Kurzweil’s talk represents the last installment of the Edges of Life lecture series put on by the UA College of Science. He will talk about how improving information technology will affect the future of humanity.

    His image will be projected onto a beam-splitter screen attached to the podium. As he moves his arms forward and backward in his office, they’ll get bigger and smaller as they would be viewed in person, Barker-Hook said.

    From the speaker’s perspective, the image of the audience is projected on a piece of glass, like a huge teleprompter, that Kurzweil will look into.

    “”Mr. Kurzweil is able to see the entire audience and hear the audience throughout his entire speech and during the Q-and-A,”” Barker-Hook said. “”He’ll be able to answer questions coming at him just as if he was there live.””

    Lene Andersen, a technician with Teleportec, the company that provides the system Kurzweil will use in his office, flew out from Dallas to set up the teleporter with the help of the Centennial Hall staff and University Information Technology Services.

    She said the setup was not hard at all.

    “”It comes in pieces – you put the pieces together, and you put it up on stage. That’s it,”” Andersen said.

    Kurzweil has used the technology to present around the world for the last five years, Barker-Hook said. He is the only lecturer in the world to use it.

    Kurzweil received the National Medal of Technology from President Bill Clinton in 1999 and was inducted into the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame in 2002.

    His recent inventions include the first pocket-sized print-to-speech reading machine for the blind.

    He is also the founder, chairman and CEO of Kurzweil Cyber Art Technologies, which creates software that makes art.

    The Edges of Life series has averaged about 1,200 attendees for five lectures, and more are expected tonight in light of the unique format, said Bo Baylor, assistant to the dean for the College of Science.

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