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U-Michigan at SXSW: Solar car, makerspaces and future of spam

  • Contact Heather Newman, (734) 355-0888 or (734) 764-7717, newmanh@umich.edu

ANN ARBOR—A new solar car design, a program that creates makerspaces in schools and new studies on spam e-mail are just some of the announcements University of Michigan faculty and students will make this week at the South by Southwest Interactive festival in Austin, Texas.

U-M faculty, students and alumni from four schools and colleges will present new research in SXSWi panels, external sessions and a series of presentations at the university's trade show exhibit (Booth 530 in the SXSW Exhibit Hall). Demonstrations and videos also will be available at the booth, including a walk-through of Adobe's new prototype Pixeltone voice-controlled photo editing app—designed by a U-M School of Information faculty member and graduate student in collaboration with the company.

Highlights include:

THE NEXT SOLAR CAR: Students from the national champion U-M Solar Car Team will announce the name and discuss design changes for the new solar car that will compete in the 2013 World Solar Challenge in Australia. Since the car, which is under construction, is required to have four wheels, it will be one step closer to resembling a real-world vehicle. The team will also give tours of the 2011 model that finished first in the North American Solar Challenge. The name of the next solar car will be announced at a media availability at noon Monday, March 11, CST at U-M SXSW Booth 530.

MICHIGAN MAKERS: The U-M School of Information announces a new series of books about makerspace-related topics written by U-M faculty and students, with galleys on-hand, a new website devoted to bringing makers and public spaces together, and talks about a new project that helps create those hands-on spaces in schools and libraries. Kristin Fontichiaro, clinical assistant professor at the School of Information will discuss the project at 1:30 p.m. CST Tuesday, March 12, at the U-M SXSW Booth 530. Fontichiaro also will discuss what organizations can learn from makerspace culture at Booth 530 at 3 p.m. CST Monday, March 11. Contact us for more information, photos, video b-roll or to set up an interview.

THE FUTURE OF SPAM: Finn Brunton, assistant professor at the U-M School of Information and author of the new book "Spam: A Shadow History of the Internet," will present on the future of spam (what'll be bugging you five years from now) at noon CST Tuesday, March 12, and on what spammers can teach us about (legitimately) engaging people online at 1:30 p.m. CST Monday, March 11, at the U-M SXSW Booth 530. The book will be published in April by MIT Press; a galley will be on hand. Contact us for more information, photos, video or interviews.

The University of Michigan will make 22 presentations of new research and projects in panels and sessions in the school's exhibit hall booth, most for the first time. For a complete list and details, see http://umsi.info/sxswlist. Topics include:

  • Cage Match: The Massive Open Online Course Debate (SXSWedu panel)
  • Creativity & Mayhem: Anonymous Communities at Work (SXSWi panel)
  • Seeing the Future of Wireless (Exhibit Hall presentation, Booth 530)
  • What's Next for Massive Open Online Courses (Exhibit Hall presentation)
  • Using Physical + Digital to Make Connections (Exhibit Hall presentation)
  • How One Large Group of Volunteers Can Solve Massive Data Problems in One Weekend (Exhibit Hall presentation)
  • Can You Hear Me Now? Telling Users How Their Network Will Affect Your App (Exhibit Hall presentation)
  • Reminiscence: A Tool for Helping People with Dementia Communicate (Exhibit Hall presentation)
  • How to Get Your Users to Help Improve Your Website (Exhibit Hall presentation)
  • Note to Self: How Mobile Makes Life Easier, from the Fetchnotes team (Exhibit Hall presentation)
  • 10 Lessons Learned From Digital Badging Pioneers (Exhibit Hall presentation
  • In Defense of Mashups: Bootstrapping or Stealing? (SXSWi panel)
  • Around the World in 85 days (Exhibit Hall presentation)