Mechanical engineering professor Paul Wright says that new information technologies such as wearable computers—earrings that monitor body condition, for example—present a host of design problems along with engineering challenges. He is one of several University of California at Berkeley professors behind the University's Center for Information Technology in the Interest of Society (CITRIS). "I'm interested in working with artists to study the human environment in an ethnographic way and to bring that information into the design process," Wright says. CITRIS research will initially focus on the areas of energy efficiency, transportation, seismic safety, education, health care, and environmental monitoring. For more information, go to www.citris.berkeley.edu.
The Beam Store from Suitable Technologies is managed by remote workers from places as diverse as New York and Sydney, Australia. Employees attend to store visitors through Beam Smart Presence Systems (SPSs) from the company. The systems combine mobility and video conferencing and allow people to communicate directly from a remote location via a screen as well as move around as if they are actually in the room.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.