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University of Iowa News Release

April 5, 2005

Engineering Symposium On Virtual Reality Set For April 7

"Virtual Reality in the Real World" is the subject of the 2005 Paul D. Scholz Symposium on Technology and its Role in Society to be held from 4-6 p.m. Thursday, April 7, at the Englert Theater, 221 E. Washington St., Iowa City.

The symposium will examine some of the ways in which virtual reality is increasingly affecting our lives. Speakers will include:

--Rob Vail, senior research and development engineer at Caterpillar, Inc. His work involves multi-body dynamic machine system simulation capabilities, simulation data visualization techniques and advancement of human-in-the-simulation-loop technology for industrial applications. Vail, who earned his master's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Iowa College of Engineering in 1998, will speak on "Industrial Strength VR; A Caterpillar Perspective."

--Dr. Matthew A. Howard III, professor and head of the Department of Neurosurgery in the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine. Howard, who holds a joint appointment in the Department of Neurology, specializes in epilepsy surgery and has research interests including hearing impairment, clinical research in epilepsy treatments, clinical models of Alzheimer's disease, magnetic stereotaxis for the treatment of focal neurological disorders and investigations of the mechanical properties of brain tissue. The principal investigator of a National Institutes of Health-funded study of the functional organization of the human auditory cortex, he will speak on how virtual reality has improved neurosurgery and magnetic surgery.

-- Tim Etherington, principal systems engineer and technical director of the Advanced Technology Center at Rockwell Collins Inc. in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He has worked at Rockwell Collins for over 15 years in flight deck research and product development and some 10 years on perspective flight displays for both airborne and surface operations. An active pilot, he will discuss "Synthetic Vision -- Past Research and the Future of Aviation."

The purpose of the annual symposium is to provide a forum to discuss aspects of technology that will affect society both today and in the future. The annual technology symposium was renamed in 1993 in honor of Paul D. Scholz, who received numerous awards for his teaching and served as advisor to Tau Beta Pi for 20 years and as associate dean of the UI College of Engineering from 1979 until his death in 1992.

The symposium, which is free and open to the public, is co-sponsored by the UI College of Engineering chapter of Tau Beta Pi, a national engineering honor society; Tau Beta Pi alumni; the UI Student Government; and the UI College of Engineering.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact the UI College of Engineering at 319-335-5764.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009,