On May 1, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., students, employees, and community members are invited to stop by the Moss Arts Center to learn more about how Virginia Tech researchers are re-imagining the future of the university’s iconic Drillfield at the center of campus.

By re-envisioning the means of crossing the field as illuminated pathways of communication, the smART Field extends the role of the pedestrian paths on the Drillfield as a vital campus link. The new paving infrastructure responds to the activities of people on campus, harvests energy from foot traffic, and re-conceives the walking surface as a lighting and sensing instrument. At night the Drillfield will transmit campus happenings through subtle variations of light.

The paving system will withstand Blacksburg’s harsh weather conditions, be accessible to individuals of all abilities, including those in wheelchairs, and use technology to improve the user experience. The technology includes the integration of lighting, sensors, and energy harvesting to translate human activities and weather patterns.  

The goal of the project is to amplify the Drillfield’s traditional function as an immersive, responsive, and reflective heart of the campus.

The smART Field showcase is one of many that will be available to the public during the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology’s annual ICAT Creativity and Innovation Day on May 1.

The display will be located in the foyer and lobby of the Moss Arts Center and will include a 45’ long mock-up of the Drillfield with light-emitting diode (LEDs) and passive infrared (PIR) sensors. As people walk along the pathway, illumination will track their trajectory, giving them the opportunity experience the interactive aspect of the lighting and energy harvesting.

Participants can also view animations and renderings and full-scale models and prototypes of the proposed paving materials, electromagnetic energy, harvesters, and light fixtures.

The smART Field team includes faculty members and students from the Center for Energy and Harvesting Materials and Systems in the College of Engineering and the School of Architecture + Design in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, many of whom will be available to talk with attendees and answer questions.

The team came together in July 2016 as part of the Drillfield Paths initiative, which is part of a larger effort supported by the Board of Visitors and includes the development of a new master plan for the Drillfield.

They have received $75,000 from the Division of Administrative Services; the Office of the Vice President for Research; the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science; and the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology to fund the research.

The Moss Arts Center is located at 190 Alumni Mall. Parking is available in the North End Parking Garage on Turner Street. Virginia Tech employees with a valid university parking permit can enter and exit the garage free of charge. Limited street parking is also available. 

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Kacy McAllister at 540-231-5300 or kmcallis@vt.edu during regular business hours at least 10 business days prior to the event.

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