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Venture Technology Center – Open for Business!

Venture Technology Center – Open for Business!

A state of the art tech lab would be thrilling enough but a lab at a graduate school campus, it just doesn’t get any better than that or at least that’s apparently what Lori, a long-time Venture program participant, thinks. “I love it,” she said and her’s is but one voice in a chorus of Camp Venture people to offer an unqualified thumbs up for this new and exciting opportunity.

On Monday, August 12th Camp Venture’s Creative Arts and Recreation Department debuted Their newest addition to innovative programming. The new Technology Center, located at Long Island University graduate campus which adjoins the Venture Center, is home to some of the most current technology available on today’s market. Thanks to donations from TD Bank and The William T. Morris Foundation we are now able to help our clients interact with technology they may not have previously had access to using. This room consists of four specific experience centers including an Ipad bar, Windows 8.1 Desktop station, Xbox Kinect gaming center, and a giant Multi-Touch Windows 8 Tablet station.

The tech. room space was designed to be a fun, comfortable, and safe environment to explore today’s technology. Even the lighting is interactive! That’s the part Merlin said he liked the best as he made the soft room lighting shift from green to a warm red. Phillips Hue bulbs were installed in all fixtures, with built in Bluetooth in each individual bulb the lighting can be controlled via an app on any Ipad in the room. This small but thoughtful addition to the room’s design enables the users to create a variety of environments, from stimulating to relaxing colors schemes, the lighting can create ambiance for each individual or small group. Paired with deep relaxing colors, custom window treatments, and versatile furniture options the room is a one-of-a-kind Technology Center seen nowhere else.

The Ipad bar consists of ten Ipad 4’s encased in LifeProof cases. For ease of programming they are easily connected to an Apple Configurator and a Mac Book in order to charge and sync all devices simultaneously. All Ipad’s are prepared with “apps” that can be used for education, entertainment, gaming, and communication. Additionally, adaptive equipment is available to make these devices user-friendly regardless of one’s physical limitations. Available are mounting arms and cradles with multiple pivot points, ensuring proper positioning for any client’s individual needs; as well as switch click technology for one touch use if swiping is an issue.

The Desktop station is comprised of two HP Envy 23” touch screen monitors, loaded with Windows 8.1 these computers are desktop and application friendly. Again, these devices are prepared with apps for a wide range of goals and activities. Including living stories, two-player games, musical interfaces, and much more! These devices are also equipped with assistive technology; one of the desktops is enabled to use a Tracker Pro camera, allowing the participant to control the use of the computer with head movements rather than hands. Both computers are switch enabled as well, making one touch computer use fun and easy.

The Xbox Kinect gaming center is run on a 55” Smart HD television. An Xbox 360 with a Kinect sensor allows our participants to play mainstream games without holding a controller. Rather, their bodies are all they need to control the game itself. Want to bowl, just swing your arm like your bowling! Want to play ball? Swing the bat and watch your avatar swing it on the big screen! Other games include dancing, singing, light and sounds, sports, adventure, carnival games… Regardless of what game is being played this station builds team work, promotes communication with peers, ensures physical activity, and creates a fun and goal-oriented environment for all our participants.

The final experience center is the multi-touch tablet; this is essentially a 55” multi-touch monitor with a built-in computer loaded with IOS Windows 8. This center is designed for small group use, where 4-5 participants can lounge on Yogibo bean bags while being immersed in a multitude of activities. Whether the activity of the day is an interactive living story or a group created art piece, the monitor is large enough for everyone and wall-mounted at wheelchair height for easy access. Can you imagine a 55” tablet! We did, and we have it!

“It’s very interesting learning how to use the large screen monitor,” explained Robert as he took control using the touch screen.

“It’s peaceful and quiet… I get to focus. I like the matching game and tic tac toe!” Brian added.

For Frankie though, it was all just too cool. A long-time Venture Center program participant, he’s the older guy who’s learning some pretty cool new tricks. And, though words are not his main avenue of communication, a broad smile and his whole new attitude say it all.

This wonderful opportunity could not have come together without the help of many Venture staff. Krista Bilodeau, Creative Arts Director, designed the room and researched the technology. Ron Piscitelli and Jesse Wright, maintenance staff at Venture Center, who did all renovations to put the room together. Jen Kahn, Venture IT guru, who provided technical assistance and advice throughout the whole process. And Laury Estriplet, our new Technology Instructor, who will be creating the structured activities that help our clients use and interact with the Technology Center.

The Venture Foundation underwrites exciting new computer center that’s opening up the world of technology.

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