Scholarship & Facilities
Scholarship and Research
New Media creative activity and research is organized around several laboratories. Some labs are led by one or more professors while others are generally supported and open to all. The labs allow students working on assignments or group projects to interact closely with each other and with their advisors as well as have access to equipment, software, and mentors. Details on each lab are listed below under Facilities.
Sample Past and Current New Media Creative and Scholarly Projects
UMaine-Produced New Media Tutorials
Opportunities for Interdisciplinary Work: New Media faculty and students also often work with faculty in other units on campus and researchers at other institutions. Among past collaborative and interdisciplinary projects have included those working with …… <list names of organizations with which students and faculty have previously worked in the past three years>. Students may become involved in additional creative activity and scholarship based on their project interests and those of their faculty advisors and peers.
Facilities, Labs, and Equipment
• New media specialized labs. Research and creative labs to work with undergraduate students from New Media and other disciplines are supported by several New Media faculty members. Professors with specialized New Media labs include:
Sofian Audry, Art + Artificial Agents Lab [A3] (Room 221, East Annex) – This lab focuses on interdisciplinary research and creation at the crossroad between Artificial Intelligence (AI), Artificial Life (ALife) and New Media art. It supports the development of new artistic practices using artificial agents; to design innovative technological tools for new media creators; and to critically engage with the material, theoretical, and historical dimensions of AI and ALife technologies. Facilities include an electronics development station as well as high-performance computer stations for deep learning research.
Mike Scott, ASAP Media Services (Fourth Floor, Chadbourne Hall) – ASAP Media Services is a student-operated New Media research and development organization at the University of Maine in Orono, Maine. Its funding comes from implementing projects for both on and off campus clients. Students are responsible for all aspects of the development process: writing proposals, design, implementation, testing, and deployment. The key to ASAP’s process is providing the environment and incentive for students to grow. Students at ASAP work on projects including: Dynamic web development, Video production, Graphic design, 3D animation, and Application design.
The Innovative Media Research and Commercialization Center (IMRC), (Steward Hall) contains state-of-the-art audio and video studios and other media equipment to which New Media students have access through their classes. The IMRC Center has a number of prototyping and production facilities dedicated to a full range of both digital and analog production technologies. These include the Fabrication Studio, the Prototyping Studio, the Electronics Lab, and the CNC (computer numerical controlled) Milling lab. The facilities provide a full range of tools and work spaces needed for a range of work in prototyping, physical production, electronics production, interactive technologies, wearables, digital product design, textiles and fabric design, and digital printing.Among the equipment in the fabrication facilities include 3-D and 2-D printers, laser cutters/engravers, a CNC Mill, and vacuum former. Scheduled training of the equipment is available and user fees are charged.
• SCIS common use labs. The labs in Room 138, Rooms 127/129, and Room 137 in Boardman Hall are used for both research and educational purposes. They are not typically scheduled for classes. Rather, these are labs where all New Media and Computer Science students may come with their laptop computers to work on individual and group class projects, obtain tutoring help, check out equipment, do informal exam reviews with others, use labs as study halls, and similar activities. Students may use the labs anytime they have access to them, including evenings and weekends.
Lab Room 138 (The General Computing Lab) has (a) five group-work tables with two iMacs and a large external monitor in each bank of tables; and (b) one group of three Windows 10 computers. It also has whiteboards and an overhead projector for group work. It is staffed 20 hours per week by selected undergraduate senior computer science students (i.e., lab monitors/learning assistants) who help with general training on equipment as well as tutor on computing and math problems when course teaching assistants (TAs) are unavail- able. Several computer science TAs have office hours next door in Room 138A.
Lab Rooms 127 (Focus Ring Lab) and 129 (Still Water Lab) are adjoining rooms that have (a) ten iMac stations for photo, audio, and video editing/production; and (b) one or more virtual reality (VR) production workstations. The rooms are staffed 20 hours per week by selected under- graduate senior New Media students (i.e., lab monitors/learning assistants) who help with general training on equipment and software and who check-out and check-in equipment to students enrolled in NMD classes. Two adjunct professors are located in Room 131 next door who also help and check out equipment.
Room 137 (the student break room) has free coffee, water, hot chocolate, a microwave, a refrigerator, etc. It serves also as a group work room. It has whiteboards as well as a large external monitor for mirroring laptops as needed. This room also has lockers containing Arduino kits, mini-drones, robots, and similar items that may be checked out from the Room 138 Lab Monitors. Occasional instructor-led and student- led help or review sessions are scheduled in this room over the other available rooms if possible. For larger groups, Room 138 may be similarly scheduled.
Detailed descriptions of services, equipment, and software available through the common use labs and how to use the equipment is found in the SCIS Common Use Labs in Boardman Hall Lab Manual.
• Additional School of Computing and Information Science (SCIS) specialized labs: Other professors in the School support labs used by both computer science undergraduate students and students from multiple disciplines. Among these professors with specialized computing labs include Silvia Nittel (Geosensor Lab, Rm 321 Boardman), Torsten Hahmann (Spatial Knowledge and Artificial Intelligence Lab, Rm 236A Boardman), , and Nimesha Ranasinghe (Multisensory Interactive Media Lab, Rm 237 Boardman). Further, a wide range of undergraduate students including New Media students work in the Virtual Environment and Multimodal Interaction Lab (VEMI), which is located in Carnegie Hall and is supported by SCIS professor Nicholas Giudice. Typically, equipment in specialized research labs is initially supplied through start-up funds and then maintained through external research grants. Additional computer science specialized labs are maintained in East Annex to work with both undergraduate and graduate students, depending on project needs, by several computer science professors: Roy Turner (Maine Software Agents & Artificial Intelligence Lab [MaineSAIL]), Philip Dickens (High Performance Computing Lab), James Fastook (Ice Sheet Modeling Lab), Chawathe (Databases Lab), and Sepideh Ghanavati (Cyber Security Lab). In addition, the student Cyber Security Club with student members from numerous disciplines is provided with a room in the East Annex to support their needs.
Other School-related labs. Computer science students are highly encouraged to purchase a laptop prior to their second semester in the program that meets minimum specifications outlined by the faculty (see Appendix A of the SCIS Common Use Labs in Boardman Hall Lab Manual.) Consequently, SCIS general-purpose computing labs tend to support the sharing of laptop screens on large lab monitors rather than supplying large numbers of computers in the labs. However, both the School and the University supply computer labs to meet specialized software needs and for those students not required by their programs to obtain laptops. CS faculty teach service courses to meet the needs of other programs on campus in Room 106 Neville Hall, which contains 24 Windows machines.
Campus-wide computing labs. There are two primary public clusters maintained by the the University of Maine IT department. One is located in the Memorial Student Union (about 25 computers), and one is located in Fogler Library (about 50 machines). Any software used by any course may, upon request, be made available in these clusters, including compilers, office suites, and database software. Both Windows machines and Macintoshes are available. A Collaborative Media Lab (12 Macs) is also located in the library and available to anyone. It provides access to a wide variety of New Media technologies.
Hackerspace, a work space/lab geared toward computing and electronic “makers”, is located in the student union and available for anyone to use. There are two other maker spaces on campus available for use, often for a nominal fee.
Further computing research facilities: Computer science researchers have access to substantial additional computing facilities, including a 648 processor green supercomputer, a 72 processor green supercomputer, five mobile robots, and a teaching/research cybersecurity lab. Also available is access to the University’s computing resources as well as to various supercomputer centers. Access is also available to the Gulf of Maine Observing System which includes an autonomous underwater vehicle and several autonomous boats. The University is an Internet 2 site and has significant high-speed Internet access. Buildings are wired for high-speed Ethernet, and wireless access is available over much of the campus.