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Virtual Surgery and Digital Plant Access Highlight CAC Awards

This news item expired June 3, 2013. It may contain out-of-date information.

It's difficult to recreate a beagle using CT and MRI images (plus cross-sectional images from frozen specimens). That's why a group from Vet Med, Mechanical Engineering and the Virtual Reality Application Center teamed up to request funding for equipment that will help perform interactive virtual surgery.

This grant was one of many approved recently by the Computation Advisory Committee (CAC). More than $300,000 of FY14 student technology fee funds was awarded by CAC to support the projects listed below. The committee selected these projects after carefully reviewing submissions in response to a campus call for proposals.

Interactive virtual surgery "allows (students) to perform various surgical procedures in the virtual world before opening an actual patient," the grant sponsors state. "This will decrease operation time and potential errors, as well as post-operative complications." CAC is funding year one for this project with a $67,239 award.

CAC also has granted $60,520 to Reiman Gardens to allow campus-wide digital access to the living collections there. This access will enhance computer-based instruction by supporting remote and on-site access to the Reiman Gardens inventory. The technology will offer a "comprehensive plant-collections database with mapping capabilities, providing the opportunity to make Reiman Gardens an ideal outdoor teaching library," according to the applicants. Equipment purchased with the grant will include a hand-held GPS device that will provide "extreme accuracy" in recording the locations of the plants.

CAC Overview

The Computation Advisory Committee sponsors innovative uses of technology to enhance students' experiences. CAC is especially interested in supporting efforts that impact the broadest possible community of students, and those initiatives that are sustainable after the funding ends.

Proposals were evaluated by the full Computation Advisory Committee, which consists of 20 voting members (10 students and 10 faculty/staff). CAC members rated and ranked proposals based on four criteria: 1) Purpose (20%), 2) Impact on Student Experience (40%), 3) Cost Efficiency (20%), and 4) Integration and Sustainability (20%).

Overview of Awards

A complete list of proposals, both proposed and awarded, can be found on the CAC website under "Annual CAC Initiatives".